Three years after the world has turned into an unfriendly wasteland, a young girl is invited to live in a utopian society where there is plenty of water and food, young people can gain knowledge, and an army maintains order. However, there is something wrong with this place. The girl's concerned friends come to her rescue!
Not once or twice in recent years have we seen stunt professionals trying to get their act out. It's a kind of lottery, because there's no guarantee that such a person will know how to get from the actors what a particular scene requires. You can always try to overcome this problem by hiring representatives with the caliber who basically know what to do to make it work. However, you can usually be sure that at least the action scenes will be properly polished, that the director will not neglect them, and that they will be presented well, as in “John Wick” for example.
We are supposed to have a similar situation in the movie “Hunters of the Ruins”. Director Heo Myung-haeng has never directed a film production before, but he has orchestrated stunt work in several well-received South Korean films. It wasn't much, but the guy clearly had a background in martial arts and seemed to know what he was doing. The problem is that Chad Stahelski also hired David Leitch to help him, and his shots were shot by a cinematographer with thirteen years of experience (and not to be unfair: a lot of his projects are music videos), whereas today's movie was shot by a cinematographer. The guy who previously shot, for example, a very mediocre CGI fest called “Hellbound” and a very visually pleasing, though mostly computer-generated, film, “Spacer Sweepers.” So there was no one who could give good advice when a novice director had a strange and unsuccessful idea. And it appears.
Hunters from the Ruins 2024 movie with subtitles [Netflix]. Text plot
The plot is basically just an excuse to justify the subsequent action scenes one way or another, often without making any sense. There has been a great earthquake in Seoul, causing the entire city to collapse and…the rain has stopped. Water became a very scarce commodity and it seemed that the earthquake was strong enough to destroy the entire world, because humanity went to hell. We went from normal life to Mad Max in three years. There are practically no young children, and even young people are exhausted. I remind you that the earthquake occurred three years ago.
In such normal circumstances, we meet our main characters: Ji-wan and Nam-san (Ma Dong-seok, known from the series “Eternals”). The former is a classic overzealous guy with few skills, but a big heart. The sequel is probably the most insanity I've seen in a movie in years. Nam San lives a quiet and peaceful life, trading in hunted crocodiles (it happens in life anyway), rather than staying on the sidelines. But when he sees violence against innocents, neither he nor his fists can remain idle. His tired eyelids rise half a millimeter, his hood sticks out…unchanged, and his killing fists move. Before the apocalypse, Nam San must have watched videos like “I shot everything in Dark Souls at once” and concluded that it was a very good idea, because there is no opponent in the entire movie who could punch him between the eyes (even if It was not very convincing) and he did not immediately lose consciousness. These two men, so different from each other, will come to the rescue of the beautiful So-ni when she falls into the hands of a mad scientist.
I swear I didn't make anything up. In theory, the film is a continuation or spin-off of the film “Concrete Utopia”, which was released last year, but the references to this film end not only with the fact that Seoul became a wasteland after that earthquake, but also – as you can see – it is not a directed picture Especially towards the plot.
Hunters from the Ruins 2024 movie with subtitles [Netflix]. Effects are one thing, but this camera work should work for a crime film
But such films are not watched for the plot – at least in theory. What matters is the innovative, crazy, testosterone-fueled action. And as there are certainly some interesting stunts here, even a couple of which are so original that they don't remind me of any other movie, and Nam San's superhuman strength repeatedly leads to truly comedic situations, it's very difficult to appreciate these moments because someone wisely came up with the idea of filming the action Entirely in close-up, hand-held, with the hand/leg/stick movement followed exactly by the camera's eye. In theory, this could improve scene dynamics and a sense of force, but this needs to be better thought out and directed. Because when everyone is shaking – including the camera – the end result is far from satisfactory. With a little good faith, it is possible to understand what is happening, but it does not have to be an effort and struggle between the person and the image.
The level of visuals may also be an issue for some viewers. If you're familiar with Korean cinematography, you probably know what to expect. The entire film is full of visual effects, from the backgrounds to explosions, particle effects, and even entire characters. Even big-budget blockbusters can have trouble combining that much computer graphics in a reliable way, but here we're dealing with a relatively modest Korean production, headed straight to Netflix. What I'm trying to say is that the CGI in the movie looks like most Korean movies at their best, and like a twenty year old production or a PS3 era game at their worst. So, if you're bothered by effects that don't meet current standards (“standards” may be a bit of an unfortunate word, but you get my point), you can turn off the movie after the scene where the crocodile introduces the main characters. Personally, I'm used to it, so I agree with this convention, but there's really nothing to praise, and sometimes the composition of effects with the image is so poor that it literally starts to bother me.
I know I'm mostly known around here as the person who's always complaining, but it's really hard for me to recommend “Hunters of the Ruins” to anyone. There's a lot of plot that might not be there at all, and the action can be impressive at times, even if it's hard to follow, but the editing regularly throws in errors and weird situations (enemies standing in front of each other), cutting to another scene, Come back and suddenly the protagonist takes the antagonist from behind, by surprise), passable CGI at best. Only the main characters and their relationship, full of comedic situations, were really cute from beginning to end, and I can actually praise it with pleasure. But this is not enough to justify a session lasting more than a hundred minutes.
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