Contemporary action comedy
2011, colour, 2.35:1, 111 mins
Directed by Jo Bum-gu (조범구)
By Derek Elley
Sat, 30 July 2011, 18:05 PM (HKT)
Slickly packaged, motorbike action movie that's fast, furious and (thankfully) funny. Genre events, plus ancillary.
Seoul, 2004. A group of bikers is joy-racing through the night streets and its leader, teenage legend Han Gi-su (Lee Min-gi), is tearfully berated by his high-school sweetheart Chun-shim (Gang Ye-weon) for scorning her. Fellow biker Lee Myeong-shik (Kim In-gweon), who has a crush on Chun-shim, watches dolefully. Following a traffic pile-up, Gi-su executes a perfect bike jump over the mess. Six year later Gi-su is working as a "quick" bike messenger. After delivering a package to an office, the building blows up just after he's left. Not thinking he was connected in any way, Gi-su quickly leaves the scene. Later, he's asked to urgently drive Ah-rom, the lead vocalist of girl group OK Girls, to a televised stadium concert she's late for, and only realises too late that she's actually Chun-shim, still angry at his treatment years earlier. He loans her his helmet for the ride, unaware that it's been switched for an identical one rigged with explosive. They're told by phone to deliver three packages already stowed in his bike, with a 30-minute delivery time for each package. If they exceed the time limit, or Chun-shim tries to take off the helmet, it will explode. Meanwhile, the police, led by Detective Seo (Goh Chang-seok) and NPCC team leader Kim (Ju Jin-mo), have examined the CCTV tape in the building that exploded and are looking for Gi-su as the potential bomber. Also now working as a policeman is Lee. Gi-su delivers Chun-shim to the concert just in time, and she performs in the helmet. Then the two of them start to make the deliveries, while being hunted by the police and trying to solve the mystery on the roads between Seoul and Incheon.
Played largely at fever pitch, laden with visual effects, and with most of the dialogue screamed rather than spoken, Quick 퀵 (2011) is the type of action movie that seems to want to prove that South Korea can make 'em as big, brash and brainless as any other industry (read: Hollywood). In fact, in overall tone it's closer to the many Europa Corp. action comedies produced by France's Luc BESSON, especially Hervé RENOH's bike-messenger movie Paris Express Coursier (2010), with which it even shares a similar poster. Quick wastes little energy on backgrounding and is basically a series of setpieces wrapped round a marginally quieter interlude at the hour mark between the two leads. As a slice of throwaway entertainment, it's great fun, despite being about 10 minutes too long.
The script device of giving the lead character a saddlemate, and the fact she's a girl he once ditched at high school, prevents the film from becoming just a mixture of testosterone and visual effects — as well as providing a constant stream of humour that's also mirrored in some of the other performances (notably by KIM In-gwon 김인권 | 金仁權, as a biker-turned-cop who once had the hots for the same girl, and GO Chang-seok 고창석 as his superior). The humour, especially by GANG Ye-won 강예원 (Harmony 하모니 (2010), Hello Ghost 헬로우 고스트 (2010)) as the ditzy Chun-shim, is mostly played at near-constant hysteria; but it has the salutory effect of Quick never seeming to take itself seriously and communicating a sense of popcorn-movie enjoyment. That's just as well, as the plot (apart from a neat final revelation) is only there to move the characters from one location another and doesn't bear much closer examination.
The fact that Chun-shim is locked into a helmet that will explode unless the hero delivers the villain's packages on time only generates marginal tension, as the audience knows it's not really going to happen. The thrills come more from the staging of the setpieces (all in daylight), which neatly combine humour and ooh-wow: Chun-shim transferring from a moving van to the hero's motorbike, the pair careening across rooftops into the side of a building, driving through a modelling show or — best of all — avoiding flying gas canisters on a highway. And the finale, set on a runaway train, adds some variety when the motorcycle stunts have about reached their limit of entertainment. LEE Min-gi 이민기 (Oishii Man 오이시맨 (2008), A Million １０ 억 (2009)) makes a reasonably charismatic hero, whose braggadocio is regularly punctured by Chun-shim, and YUN Je-mun 윤제문 is okay as the mad bomber.
Learning a thing or two from classic Hong Kong action cinema, the movie makes copious use of slow-motion and repeated shots during the major stunts, as well as being at pains to show the actors themselves doing some of the action. New to South Korean cinema, but 30-year old hat to Jackie CHAN 成龍 fans, is an end-title montage of stuntmen being injured during filming — though nothing really serious. One of the producers, YUN Je-gyun 윤제균 | 尹薺均, directed tsunami spectacular Haeundae 해운대 (2009) (in which both Lee and Gang appeared), while director JO Bum-gu 조범구 is less known for the low-budget drama Bad Utterances 양아치 어조 (2004) and crime comedy Three Fellas 뚝방전설 (2006).
ContactSales: CJ E&M, Seoul (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Theatrical release: South Korea, 20 Jul 2011.
Presented by CJ E&M Pictures (SK). Produced by JK Film (SK), in association with CJ E&M Pictures. Executive producer: Katharine Kim. Producers: Lee Sang-yong, Yun Je-gyun.
Script: Park Su-jin. Adaptation: Yun Je-gyun, Jo Beom-gu. Photography: Kim Yeong-ho. Editing: Shin Min-gyeong. Music: Dalparan. Art direction: Jeong Hyeon-cheol. Sound: Lee Eun-ju, Lee Seung-yeob. Action: Oh Se-yeong, Choi Dong-heon. Special effects: Han Yeong-woo, Kim Jun-hyeong, Hong Jang-pyo.
Cast: Lee Min-gi (Han Gi-su), Gang Ye-weon (Chun-shim, aka Ah-rom), Kim In-gweon (Lee Myeong-shik), Goh Chang-seok (Detective Seo, Myeong-shik's boss), Ju Jin-mo (Kim, National Police Control Center team leader), Kim Byeong-cheol (Detective Park), Kim Eun-ok (Miss Lee), Yun Je-mun (Jeong In-hyeok, the villain), Yu Seung-mok (Lee Do-hyeong), Don Lee (Kim Ju-cheol), Song Jae-ho (Gwak Han-su), Jeon Guk-hwan (Aikawa Masaaki), Kim Tae-woo (Watanabe Junichi), Oh Jeong-se (Park Dal-yong), Choi Jae-seob (chief manager), Kim So-jin (team manager), Han Geun-seob (road manager), Gweon Bang-hyeon (Cody), Park Jin-woo (director), Gong Sang-ah (assistant director), Jo Gyeong-hyeon (gang member), Lee Su-jeong (sexy girl), Park Geon.