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Quick


Quick! See ‘Quick’!

Rod Lott September 4th, 2012

Pop quiz, hotshot: What American movie would the South Korean filmmakers of Quick would like you to believe it emulates? The answer is not difficult, because it's written right on the box: Speed.

quick
Swapping a bus for a motorcycle, it's more than a fair comparison. Young, handsome Gi-soo (Min-ki Lee) has left behind his days as a former biker gang member, but not his sweet set of wheels, which he uses to make a meager living as a courier.

On a run early in the day, he inadvertently delivers a bomb to an office building that is subsequently exploded as soon as he steps outside. He just doesn't realize he had anything to do with it until later. Only after he picks up Ah-rom (Ye-won Kang, Tidal Wave), a pop star who happens to be the girlfriend he dumped six years ago, to rush her to a gig does he learn the truth, via a voice at the other end of a Bluetooth device.

That voice tells Gi-soo that his helmet — which Ah-rom already has slipped on — is rigged with a bomb that will detonate if removed. And that he is to deliver several more bombs within a specific amount of time, or the helmet will detonate. Each explosive is "as powerful as a nuclear bomb without the radiation."

And so begins an action-packed, semi-slapsticky, fast-paced thriller that delivers a few sequences worthy of nail-biting, a lot of crotch-rocket set pieces and a ton of fun. Like Speed, it even abandons the film's primary mode of transportation to hop aboard a train for the final act. It also tips its hat — helmet? — to another Keanu Reeves vehicle, with not one, but two separate riffs on The Matrix's bullet-time limboing. I also can't help but think that Quick's punishing (in a good way) chase on the highway, with explosive tanks bouncing about like fatal Super Balls, isn't informed at least in part by a similar scene in the otherwise lamentable The Matrix Reloaded.

While obviously inspired by American exports, Korean blockbusters — if not all of Asian cinema — don't have quite the same flavor, so newcomers may require some adjustment time to get used to the awful, tropical-sounding score and the actors' tendency to go big-eyed and gaping-mouthed for reaction shots. It's a lot less goofy if you forego the Blu-ray's English dub and stick with reading subtitles.

Quick would've been an absolute blast to see in theaters, but I'm just glad I got to see it at all. Stick through the end credits for bloopers of stunts gone wrong. It's amazing no one was killed shooting the thing. —Rod Lott



 
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