"Once the plot kicks in full speed, roughly an hour or so into the film, it's really enjoyable."
Jungle Juice (2002)
Director: Jo Min-Ho
Producer: Cha Seung-Jae
Writer: Jo Min-Ho
Cast: Jang Hyuk, Lee Bum-Su, Son Chang-Min, Jun Hae-Jin, Kim Young-Sun, Lee Bong-Kyu, Kim Man, Bong Tae-Kyu
Running Time: 98 min.
Plot: On a sunny afternoon, Kit and Chul-soo were eating ice cream on top of a car's hood. The girls were looking good and their best friend Crocodile had gone into marine reserves' training. Hippo visits to consult with crocodile about a new drug trade, but crocodile had already left. Hippo looks for someone to work for him where the two scumbags come into play. From then on, things head downhill. They're asked to pay the price for the lost bag of dope and later become accused of stealing the bag. Whatever... They decide to run for life with a bag of coke that can make them rich.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
EQUINOX21'S REVIEW: Don't ask me what the title is supposed to mean. Probably just another unfortunate case of some non-English speaker coming up with a name that they thought sounded really cool in English, which it almost does. Unfortunately, you might find the etymology of the title of this one more interesting than the actual film. Not that it's bad, just that the first 2/3 of it lacked much of a plot. Once the plot kicks in full speed, roughly an hour or so into the film, it's really enjoyable.
The story is about two friends in their twenties, Kit (Jang Hyuk [Volcano High]) and Chul-su (Lee Beom-soo), who are on an extremely low rung of the social ladder. Eventually, they get involved with a gang and are toted along by the second-in-command to a drug deal. When the coke sale hits the proverbial fan, the two friends are told by the boss that they have 3 days to make up the money for the lost drugs. Calling in the help of Meg Ryan (Jeon Hye-jin), a prostitute who wears a blond wig and takes on the persona of the American actress for her clients, the group does what they can to get the money back for their boss, and save their hides. The plot starts out slow and seemingly unorganized, but by the end of the movie elements from the beginning seem to get tied together with events at the end and ultimately became relevant. However, it's this seemingly disorganization that made the first half of the movie not quite as enjoyable as it could have been.
The first half tries to rely more on comedy than action, while the second half is the other way around. The comedy worked in parts, and I found myself laughing at some of the funny and absurd situations that occurred, but I found myself simply smiling more often. One thing that that stood out as being quite funny was Jang Hyuk's performance. He's simply got hilarious expressions that fit absolutely perfectly in every situation. His expressions are always a bit over-the-top, but this just makes them funnier. The action element of the movie felt almost Ritchie-esque, only not as organized or reliant on comedy, as I mentioned earlier.
Overall, it was amusing and got better as the movie went on; I only wish the first two-thirds of the movie had been as enjoyable as the last third. While it's definitely far from bad, there are certainly better movies in the comedy/action/adventure genre. This is one that would be worth a rental, if you have access to Korean films for rent.
EQUINOX21'S RATING: 7/10