Friday, April 30, 2010

Rough Cut (2009)

This was one of the hot ticket films at the 2009 New York Asian Film Festival. It concerns a hot actor who no one will work with because he tends to beat up his co-stars in the fight scenes. While partying one night he meets a gangster who once was an actor and who roughs up him up when a request for an autograph turns insulting. Everyone goes back to their own lives until the actor once more beats up his co-star and they need to find a replacement. The actor thinks of the gangster and before you know it the pair have agreed to really go at it in the fight scenes in the name of realism. From there the film spins out as the actor tries to handle his personal life and the gangster tries to get his boss out of prison while romancing the leading lady.

Well acted, especially by Ji Seob So as the gangster, Kang-pae, who manages to say so much without really doing anything. If the film works it's because of his performance which keeps you watching when things turn, how shall I put this? curious?

I say that because this is an odd film. Despite being billed as one, this is a film that isn't really an action film. Sure the film has action, both the movie fights but also explosive violence from the gangsters doing their normal line of work, but mostly this is a rambling tale of a couple of lost souls trying to find themselves. In someways I'm not sure what I make of it. Other than the plot thread of the making of the film, this film rambles around with in the lives of its characters in a directed but not particularly charted way. Its good, but at the same time its too rambling so bits don't completely connect the way they should. Don't get me wrong I like the film, the final fight between the costars is bound to become iconic and Ji Seob So is absolutely amazing in what hopefully will become a new level of screen cool, but the film never manages to reach the great level.

Reservations aside this is a film that is really worth taking a look at. To be honest for all my heming and hawing I'm still haunted by this film a year after I saw it for the first time. There is something about the ending...

Currently out on DVD as an import.

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