The City Of Violence review

Bruce Lee may have entered the dragon and fought the big boss, but he never had to tussle with BMX bikers, body-popping street dancers or hockey stick-wielding schoolgirls. Korea’s (latest) premier martial arts choreographer and actor Jung Doo-hong faces these bad guys and more in this bone-crunching thriller about a Seoul cop returning home to investigate the murder of a childhood buddy. Cannily ditching the usual Korean melodramatics – bar a few childhood flashbacks – writer-director Ryoo Seung-wan (Crying Fist, Arahan) hones this revenge tale into a trim 90 minutes of gangster martial arts chic culminating in an insane restaurant beat- ’em-up. It’s not polished or ambitious enough to be another Old Boy but there’s no doubt that it’s ready to rumble: think Get Carter meets The Warriors with bone-crunching tae kwon do and you’re nearly there. Ryoo says it’s his last action flick. We urge him to reconsider.

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