Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Quick: Bombs and Bikes on DVD

Safety first, kids.  Remember, you never know what some psychopath could sneak into your helmet, so you are better off not wearing one, regardless how recklessly you might race through the city’s streets.  One biker turned messenger learns this the hard way in Jo Bum-gu’s Quick (trailer here), which releases today on DVD and BluRay from Shout Factory.

In 2004, Han Ki-su broke up rather spectacularly with his girlfriend, Choon-sim.  It is a heck of a pile-up.  Seven years later, she has reinvented herself as Ah-rom, the lead singer of an up-and-coming girl group, while he has de-invented himself as motorbike deliveryman.  Still fearless on a bike, Han delivers a bomb for a mysterious client unaware of its contents.  There will be more where that came from.  Unfortunately, his ex Ah-rom will become a part of the madness when she books Han to whisk her off to a gig.  Putting on his helmet, she sees a rather ominous countdown clock where there shouldn’t be one.  As the voice on Han’s cell phone explains, he has thirty minutes to make a series of deliveries of the helmet goes boom.

While Quick owes an obvious debt of inspiration to Speed, it could also be considered the motorized forerunner to Premium Rush, but with a more talented cast.  There will be plenty of breakneck weaving through traffic and unlikely Evel Knievel jumps.  There is also a yakuza backstory to the mad bomber’s crime spree so convoluted, even the cops can’t keep it straight.  For stunt driving though, Quick is hard to beat.  The hospitalized stuntmen seen visited by cast members during the closing credits can attest to that.

Granted, Kang Ye-won is considerably less annoying than Sandra Bullock, but her character’s initial diva act is a bit cringy for a while.  If nothing else, having a bomb attached to your head ought to inspire clarity of thought.  Still, she looks good in vinyl as her character eventually settles in and gets serious.

Frankly, the humor in Quick is rather broad and does not travel well.  Fortunately, Lee Min-ki never goes for laughs as Han, mostly brooding like a rebel without a cause, except when he is raging against their tormentor.  As biker movie protagonists go, he is pretty good really.  However, since the identity of the evil mastermind is kept secret until well into the third act, Quick does not have a lot of moustache-twisting villainy.

To recap, Quick has a whole lot of explosions and chase scenes.  It is also nice to see their shout out to the stunt personnel, given the rate the Korean film industry chews them up and spits them out (at least according to stuntman-filmmaker Jung Byung-gil’s documentary Action Boys, which screened at NYAFF four years ago).  Never lacking adrenaline, Quick is easily recommended for action fans.  It is now available at most online retailers from Shout Factory.