THE DIVINE FURY (2019)
Starring Park Seo-joon, Ahn Sung-ki, Woo Do-hwan, Choi Woo-shik. Directed by Joo-hwan Kim. (129 min)
ON BLU-RAY FROM WELL GO USA
Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat😸
A mixed martial artist with a grudge against God teams up with a seasoned old exorcist to vanquish demons from people who’ve become possessed.
If that brief synopsis doesn’t get you purring, you might as well stop reading.
For everyone else, The Divine Fury is an entertaining action/horror mash-up. Celebrity MMA fighter Yong-hu (Park Seo-joon) certainly has a good reason to resent the Almighty. When he was a boy, his policeman father was killed in the line of duty, despite a priest’s promise that God would hear his prayers. Now the very sight of a crucifix enrages him, exacerbated by verbal torment from the same demon that killed dad. He also develops a wound on his hand that won’t heal.
When medical science fails, Yong-hu is encouraged to visit Father Ahn (Ahn Sung-ki), a local exorcist who informs him the wound is stigmata, like those inflicted on Jesus during the crucifixion. It also turns out to be a handy weapon when fighting demons (as do Yong-hu’s fighting skills). After more-or-less saving each other, Yong-hu and Ahn form a holy hit squad and stay busy performing exorcisms all over town. But before we can assume demonic possession is simply more common in Korea than it was in Georgetown, they learn the culprit behind the outbreak is Ji-shin (Woo Do-Hwan), also known as the Dark Bishop, who moonlights as a nightclub owner while feeding souls to satanic tadpoles (!) in exchange for eternal life.
|"Talk to the hand, Father."|
Though frequently quite funny – often intentionally – The Divine Fury more-or-less plays the material straight, which works to its ultimate benefit. It’s never particularly scary, but the exorcism sequences are suitably intense, as are the numerous fight scenes (most of which occur during the final act). Everything culminates with a bonkers climax pitting Yong-hu against Ji-shin in an elaborate, effects-driven showdown.
Speaking of which, the film utilizes a lot of CGI to create a majority of the visuals. For the most part, they serve the story pretty well without becoming a distraction. The real surprise is the relationship between the two leads. Ahn develops into the father figure Yong-hu has been missing most of his life, and how they learn to depend on each other ends up being the most engaging aspect of the entire film
Though a little overlong, The Divine Fury is a fun action-horror hybrid with enough blood, fists and devilry to amuse fans of both genres. It isn’t quite as ridiculous as the premise suggests, but don’t we get enough of that stuff from The Asylum, anyway? Writer-director Joo-hwan Kim borrows a lot of familiar possession tropes, but wisely plays them straight and gives us characters we genuinely care about. He also leaves the door wide open for a sequel, which in-this-case might be welcome.
5 PROMOTIONAL FEATURETTES
PURR-R-R...LIKE A GOOD SCRATCH BEHIND THE EARS.