If you’ve been looking for a wild and bloody action movie, you’re in luck, because writer/director Kim Hong-Sun's Project Wolf Hunting is a gory thrill ride that doesn’t just go for the jugular, it rips it out with its bare hands!
Set on a cargo ship dubbed Frontier Titan, this South Korean crime thriller meets blood-soaked horror involves a handful of cops tasked with transporting over forty hardcore criminals during what is supposed to be a simple, two-day trip. But when the villainous assortment of murderers, rapists and other scumbags break out, chaos erupts in the cramped halls. As if our heroes didn’t have enough to deal with, there’s also something sleeping in the darkest chambers below. Something that knows only violence and death. And it’s just woken up.
This. Movie. Is. Off. The. F-ing. Rails!
Project Wolf Hunting starts with a literal bang and never slows down. From minute one to the pulverizing conclusion, Hong-Sun tosses the audience into an all-out brawl on the high seas. We’re talking non-stop, close quarters, brutal as hell bare-knuckled fights. Heads are smashed. Ears are bitten off. A man is beaten to death with his own arm! All of it accompanied by squishy sound effects that’ll have you grimacing in your seat. This movie is not for the squeamish. Hong-Sun's film is a hurricane of bloody carnage that leaves every single character drenched in red. Project Wolf Hunting is a pleasure cruise for gorehounds.
The Raid. Predator. Resident Evil. Project Wolf Hunting’s veins pulse with the DNA of all of them. It would’ve been right at home with the hard-R action films of the 80s. Time and again, my jaw dropped like a hundred-pound anchor to the floor, the bloodshed is just that insane. The frantic editing can leave you feeling a little seasick and the choreography is more of a blunt hammer than a smooth dance, but that’s kind of the point. These are criminals and cops. Not trained martial artists. It’s not the fighting itself that leaves you stunned, but the primal viciousness of it.
And oh, are there some nasty characters in this film. One tatted up baddie played by Seo In-Guk in particular excels at being absolutely despicable. But it’s not just the crooks. Shocking no one, some of the cops are sleaze-bags, as well. Coated in sickly yellows and greens, the lighting reflects a sort of infectious violence which rests deep within the souls of these killers just as it does the bowels of the ship. The deeper you go, the uglier it gets. At the black heart of Project Wolf Hunting is a theme of our violent natures acting as somewhat of a disease. Once unleashed, even those who had no intention of leaving their cells get in on the killing. Some might see the copious amounts of gore as excessive, but I look at it as Hong-Sun observing the ugliness of humans and the impossibility of containing that violence once its been let out.
If only we got to know the characters better so that Project Wolf Hunting punched us in the feels as hard as it does our faces. With such a large cast and a structure which delivers carnage every other scene—not an exaggeration—the script makes it difficult for anyone to stand out above a single character trait. I wouldn’t blame you if you found yourself more than a little lost trying to keep track of everyone. The film can go long periods in which relevant characters are forgotten about. Clunky pacing in which intense moments are interrupted by long flashbacks don’t help much, either. As for the twists and turns and motivations driving everyone? Well, let’s just say Hong-Sun's film is a lot to take in. So much so that it can be damn near exhausting at points, especially with a runtime of over two hours for a story that doesn’t have enough plot to justify it. But hey, at least more people means a bigger body count.
Feel free to overlook any minor flaws and toss them overboard, because Project Wolf Hunting is the action-packed gore fest you’ve been salivating for. Think Jason Takes Manhattan, but bigger, better and way bloodier. Loaded with gory images worthy of adorning the cover of Fangoria, this film packs a steel punch guaranteed to leave you in a daze. Buckle up, because Hong-Sun captains an explosive splatterfest that’ll go down as one of the bloodiest films of the year.
Project Wolf Hunting unleashes hell when it arrives on digital, Blu-ray and DVD February 14th from Well Go USA Entertainment.
By Matt Konopka