Korean actioner Fabricated City features hero in need of saving

Ji Chang Wook shows off his fighting skills as the hero in Fabricated City.
Ji Chang Wook shows off his fighting skills as the hero in Fabricated City. PHOTO: SONY PICTURES RELEASING SINGAPORE

REVIEW / ACTION THRILLER

FABRICATED CITY (NC16)

126 minutes/Opens tomorrow/3/5 stars

The story: Avid gamer Kwon Yoo (Ji Chang Wook) wakes up to find himself convicted and incarcerated for a rape and murder he did not commit. He goes on a mission to escape from prison, clear his name and hunt down the criminal mastermind.

In numerous Korean dramas, actor Ji Chang Wook has distinguished himself as a leading man who can fight villains in style while romancing the damsel in distress.

But while the South Korean exhibits his fighting prowess in his first movie Fabricated City, the person most in need of saving is himself.

This premise is cleverly introduced to the audience, who first meets Kwon Yoo as a special forces commander engaged in deadly combat.

The agile actor fearlessly fires gunshots to take out the enemy, rappels down a few floors to save a teammate and ends up sacrificing his life.

All is well - the fatal battle is merely a video-game scenario.

The complex choreography sequence feels like a thrilling roller-coaster ride that takes an unexpected turn.

Kwon Yoo is, in reality, no hero. Rather, he is a disgraced former taekwondo athlete bumming around in a gaming cafe.

From this point, Fabricated City, directed by Park Kwang Hyun, who helmed the hit war comedy Welcome To Dongmakgol (2005), plays out like a typical thriller and veers into familiar territory.

There are a few creatively conceived action set pieces, but the rest of the movie, comprising mostly rapid-fire activity, inundates the senses.

Kwon Yoo, of course, has allies coming to his aid.

The bumbling rescue team is led by a reticent genius hacker (Shim Eun Kyung), an unconventional casting of an actress who is not a love interest.

Though there is no revolutionary concept, it is still entertaining to watch the movie's handsome hero in action.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2017, with the headline 'Hero in need of saving'. Print Edition | Subscribe