January 30, 2023

PROJECT WOLF HUNTING and the Blood-Soaked Boat Ride

2022 / 122 min
Review by Fluffy the Fearless😺

Project Wolf Hunting is a big, brash and blood-soaked kitchen sink movie that plays like an unholy mash-up of Con Air, Universal Soldier and a Resident Evil video game, compounded by enough bloodletting and gore to make the Crazy 88s brawl in Kill Bill look like a scene from West Side Story. This film is nothing if not derivative, but what it lacks in originality is (mostly) compensated by sheer exuberance.

Initially, the plot seems pretty straightforward, with hard-nosed cop Lee Seok-woo (Park Ho-San) and his squad tasked with extraditing a few dozen hardened criminals back to Korea, transporting them with a cargo ship. However, the most vicious and psychotic of the prisoners, Park Jong-Doo (Seo In-guk) masterminds a take-over. He and the other prisoners murder most of the cops, with only conspicuously aloof inmate Lee Do-il (Jang Dong-yoon) refusing to take part in the slaughter. And I do mean slaughter…there’s enough artery-ripping, skull-breaking, blood-spraying mayhem during this siege to rival an early Peter Jackson film. And we’re just getting started.

Though the remaining cops are certainly outnumbered, Jong-doo turns out to be the least of their problems. Also onboard in the lower decks is a monstrous, genetically-enhanced supersoldier known as the Alpha (Choi Gwi-hwa) - the result of Japanese military experiments - who breaks free and indiscriminately starts killing anyone he sees, ripping off limbs, crushing heads and punching holes in chests. He even beats one victim to death with his own arm. The remaining survivors - good and bad - team up to try and stay alive, with Do-il emerging as the primary protagonist.

"Hey, I was drunk, okay?"
The narrative dishes out a few more plot turns, some surprising (like killing-off one major character way too early), most predictable. But racking up a massive body count remains the film’s primary agenda, and as such, Project Wolf Hunting is shameless, outrageous fun…for a while, anyway. After an opening act which establishes the characters and situation, nary a minute goes by without somebody getting killed. The on-screen violence eventually grows so frequent and furious that it becomes (almost) comical, and ultimately desensitizing. 

By the final act, Project Wolf Hunting is more exhausting than exhilarating, exacerbated by a somewhat bloated running time. Still, it never takes its foot off the gas, delivering enough visceral action and bloodletting for three movies, aided by sharp direction, tight editing and shitloads of audacity. Despite all the familiar story elements, thrillseekers with stamina and strong stomachs should be fitfully amused.


FEATURETTES - Behind the Scenes; Making the Alpha.



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