“Quick” is a Korean blockbuster in the Hollywood mould, which as its title suggests packs in plenty of high speed action, with a motorcycle courier getting caught up in a mad bomber’s crusade of destruction. The film was directed by Jo Beom Gu (“Three Fellas”) and produced by Yoon Je Kyun (“Haeundae”), and stars Lee Min Ki in the lead as the unfortunate man on the bike, with Kang Hye Won (with whom he co-starred with in “Haeundae”) as his love interest and support from Kim In Kwon (“Fate”), Ko Chang Seok (“The Front Line”) and Yoon Je Moon (“Battlefield Heroes”).
The film kicks off with Lee Min Ki as Ki Soo, a street motorbike champ whose latest race and spat with then girlfriend Chun Shim (Kang Hye Won) causes a huge pile up. Fast forward a few years and Ki Soo is now working as a bike courier in the city, a job he seems to enjoy until one of his deliveries blows up an office building. Soon after, he receives a phone call telling him that there is a bomb in his helmet, currently on the head of his new passenger, pop star Ah Rom – who just happens to be Chun Shim. To save their lives, Ki Soo is forced to deliver a series of explosive packages around the city at the whim of the maniac, with bitter former rival biker turned policeman Myeong Sik (Kim In Kwon) hot on his trail.
With its non-stop vehicular action, mad bomber and Chun Shim’s helmet bomb being set to go off if she and Ki Soo are more than ten metres apart, it’s pretty clear that “Quick” is basically a Korean take on the 1994 Keanu Reeves hit “Speed”. If anything, director Jo throws in even more thrills and over the top set pieces, the film rattling along with scene after scene of Ki hurtling through the city on his bike, notching up the suspense as the timer on the helmet ticks down and his tasks become increasingly difficult and dangerous. Realism and common sense are quickly thrown to the wind, and it’s clear from the opening scene, in which he leaps into through an exploding crashed oil truck, that over the top excess is very much the order of the day. Jo does a great, lively job of constantly upping the ante throughout, with some pretty insane stunts and moments of carnage, the city being treated as a playground of fireballs and mass destruction. Although none of this is even remotely believable, it’s all hugely entertaining and handled with kinetic flair, the budget stretching to some pretty decent CGI effects work.
Wisely, Jo seems very aware of the daftness of it all, and the film never takes itself seriously for even a second. There’s a great deal of comedy along the way, most of it reasonably amusing, with some good banter between Lee Min Ki and Kang Hye Won, both of whom are on charismatic and likeable form, even if they do spend a large amount of the running time screaming at the camera in needless slow motion. In this respect, the film has a similar feel to the popular Luc Besson produced “Taxi” series, with the same wacky sense of silliness, and Jo successfully manages to pull off the difficult balancing trick of combining laughs with genuine pulse racing excitement.
This having been said, the film could perhaps have done with a little trimming, especially during the third act, when the plot suddenly dives off into complex exposition in an attempt to flesh out the bomber’s background and motives. Whilst this isn’t enough to derail what is for the most part a very fast paced thriller, it does needlessly put the brakes on somewhat before thankfully getting back to business with a gloriously gonzo train set final showdown.
“Quick” really is a great deal of fun, and is a guaranteed good time for genre fans looking for an overabundance of carefree, rampaging action, especially those unconcerned with the niceties of realism or common sense. Easily and quite literally the most explosive Korean action film of the last couple of years, what it might lack in grit or hard-edged violence, it more than makes up for in gleefully destructive mischief.
Beom-gu Cho (director) / Soo-jin Park, Youn Jk, Beom-gu Cho (screenplay)
CAST: Min-ki Lee … Han Gi-soo
Ye-won Kang … Ah-rom
In-kwon Kim … Kim Myeong-sik
Chang-Seok Ko … Detective Seo
Jin-mo Ju … Team leader Kim
Byeong-cheol Kim … Detective Park