for a film that will give you sympathetic bruises and body aches? Sure, we all
are, so here it is. Poor Choi Iko will go from one massive beatdown to another.
Technically, that is his job as the top MMA contender, but he never signed up
for this so-called “game.” Gameplay definitely leaves a mark in Choi Ho’s Big Match (trailer here), which screens
today during the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal.
was briefly a promising soccer prospect, but after one notorious game and a
pile of red cards, he found his true calling in the MMA ring. His older brother
Young-ho is his coach, manager, and the closest thing to a voice of reason in
his life. Therefore, when the shadowy Ace kidnaps Young-ho and frames the
brothers for murder, Choi will reluctantly play his game.
the wagering amusement of Ace’s select clientele, Choi will have to navigate
the successive levels of the very real life game, starting with his escape from
police custody. Things quickly escalate when he is forced to attack an
underground mob casino single-handedly. Choi is undeniably a cement-head, but
he is determined to take the fight to Ace, as soon as he saves his brother. He
might also find an unlikely ally in Soo-kyung, his reluctant in-game minder.
you thought the day would never come when K-pop superstar BoA would go to work
on a pack of gangsters with a set of brass knuckles, then brace yourself for
some good news. Granted, she never really taps into the inner recesses of her
soul as Soo-kyung, “the woman of mystery,” but she is kind of awesome in her
action scenes. Likewise, Lee Jung-jae plays Choi with all kinds of fierce guts.
He almost looks to lean to be a top-ranked MMA fighter, but he turns out to be
pretty credible dishing it out and taking it.
pedestrianly titled Big Match might
sound like a workaday recycling of elements from films like 13 Sins and Man of Tai Chi, but the sheer spectacle and intensity of the fight
sequences are something else entirely. There are a few stunts that just border
on the ludicrous, but they always result in conspicuous scarring, which sort of
keeps it real. To put things in perspective, Choi is tased on multiple
occasions, but each time he just takes a beat to center his chi and then gets
back at ‘em.
This is the sort of film that converts the stiff
and staid into fanboys. Usually, kidnapping plots are not a lot of fun, but in
this case, all the mayhem and promised payback more than compensate. For action
fans, Big Match is the real deal, raw
egg-swilling goods. Highly recommended, it screens tonight (7/29), as part of
this year’s Fantasia.
Labels: BoA, Fantasia '15, Korean Cinema