Follow the rabbit, Alice .... or as in this film, follow
the Red Angel, Iko!
YES! I had a really good time watching this fun action-comedy and the
film felt like it could've been made during
the Golden film era of this millennia 2000-2005 something, except the
advancement of computer technology
and the heavy usage of CCTV surveillance cameras since then.
Everyone involved with this film seems to have fun and South Korea for
sure knows how to make a crime-drama
or a comedy, even though a great action-comedy are rarer than one of
the many romantic-comedies.
The actors were all great and i was surprised to see the ex Teenage
Wonder of K-Pop - BoA in a big role as an
underling to the films Bad Guy, the gaming director and betting syndicate
boss played by Shin Ha-kyun.
Gweon Bo-a/Kwon Boa, born 1986, from
the time when she ruled
the K-Pop scene and the charts in many asian countries
But, the main role role in this film is played by Lee
Jeong-jae. He's Great and looks super fit as the not too bright
maybe but popular and aggressive MMA fighter Ik-ho Choi, who instead
of a title fight has to chase through Seoul for
his kidnapped brother and during the way fight against hordes of police
Everything "directed" by the puppet master and betting syndicate
boss Ace (Shina Ha-kyun) as some korean Jigsaw.
Lee Jeong/Jung -jae born 1973, a popular actor with
dozens of films under his belt by now, and he looked physically
fine and was quite believable as a pro-fighter even though he was pushing
40 when making this film.
And, this was really important for this film to work as the whole film
is a long chase where Lee Jung's role figure Iko
has to overcome obstacles as fighting hordes of police and gangsters
and to climb walls and jumping from roofs,
and there's a lot of running too.
The Story (possible spoiler warning):
Choi Ik-ho - Iko (Lee Jung-jae) was
once a very promising young football/soccer player in the Korean League,
but his bad temper got him suspended for life after beating up his opponents.
Now, he's Iko alias Zombie, a popular MMA fighter known for his energetic
and aggressive style of fighting. He's
trained by his older brother Choi Yeong-ho (the great Lee Sung-min)
who's also his agent and father figure.
Iko has trained 8 months for a title fight against Andrei Anatovich
(Vlad Demin, russian actor and stuntman) but the
fight is cancelled when Andrei's exposed of taking steroids.
And if that wasn't bad enough, now Yeong-ho disappears too, a promotor
is found dead, and Iko is taken into
police custody as a suspect. But this is all just the settings for The
Game to start, a game led by the all powerful
betting syndicate boss Ace (played in a slippery way by the great
Admittedly, nothing new storywise as we've seen this plot many times
before with some rich and presumedly bored
people betting on a fighter to win or lose. But in an illegal way, betting
on 1. fighters kidnapped or 2. otherwise forced
to fight - example of the former are Raze (2013) with stuntwoman Zoe
Bell and Hong Kong trash movie Kick Ass
Girls (2013) with skinny photo models, and of the latter Coweb (2008)
with chinese MA sensation Jiang Lu Xia.
In police custody Iko receives instructions from Ace
through an earphone, the Puppet Master who arranges this
Betting Game exclusively for a group of rich players, The Seven. First
bet - will Iko get out of the police station?
Then, will Iko reach the crime boss Park's illegal casino and manage
to beat a horde of pissed-off underlings?
Iko has received one guideline to reach his brother - follow
The Red Angel.
The Red Angel is ex-boxer Kim Su-kyung (BoA) and she's hired to help
Ace with his Game.
Like Jigsaw in the Saw series Ace is all powerful, he has hacked into
all surveillance cameras everywhere, and
Choi Ik-ho's progress can be followed by Ace's customers in real time.
This was great popcorn movie FUN and a nice surprise as i hadn't heard
of this film before, and i really bought it just
because my old K-Pop favourite BoA was in it. There's constant action,
movement and pace as poor Iko meets an
array of obstacles in his way to his kidnapped brother. And yes, BoA
does some fighting too, not believable in any
way, but still. The only bad thing i saw was the maybe a bit poor CG
during the fighting in and on the football arena,
not too convincing. The charismatic Ra Mi-ran is nice too in the small
role as Yeong-ho's wife.
anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1, korean 5.1 with english subtitles. Extras
without subs: behind the scenes featurettes
26 min, a with and without green screen comparison 2 minutes and trailer.
Enclosed with sleeve is a plastic bag with some hard photo/playing cards