'City of Violence' - Movie Review

The movie is driven by the murder of ex-gangster Wang-jae, who owned a bar and was stabbed to death after chasing some trouble-makers into an alley. This re-unites his childhood friends: Pilho, who's taken over as the main gangster in town, Taesoo, a cop come home from Seoul, Seokhwan, who works as a debt collector for Pilho, and Donghwan, the struggling math teacher older brother of Seokhwan. The short-tempered Seokhwan (played by the director, Ryoo Seung-wan) and the results-are-more-important-than-rules cop both go looking for answers about the death, and end up teaming up.

It's ... violent. And eventually very bloody. And, as the Chinese proverb says, "he who seeks revenge should dig two graves." Jung Doo-hong (who plays Taesoo) has got a spectacular spin that he uses for kicks and various other manoeuvres, but the editing is choppy - this is no Jackie Chan movie where we see the action and the hits. We see spin and thrash, but not delivery. And there's not a single likeable character in the whole thing: you end up cheering for the hot-tempered asshole mob enforcer and the dirty cop because they're the gold standard of morality in the film.