Volcano High

Volcano High


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

In rain-soaked post-apocalypse Korea the education system has gone to hell. Student gangs and teachers battle for control. Order can only be restored by a mystic codex.


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Enter superpowered Kim Kyung-soo to Volcano High. He's just been expelled for the ninth time and has decided to turn over a new leaf. So he refuses to be drawn into his fellow students' fights.

But Kim's neutrality is hard to sustain when he falls for the leader of one of the four gangs. And even more so when the vice-principal summons the five masters of death - or something - and makes a bid to take control...

In terms of both style and content, Volcano is closer to a live-action manga than anything else.

Think of a bigger-budget version of The Story of Ricky, with a school substituting for a prison - some would say same difference - and over-the-top action in place of over-the-top gore, and you've pretty much got it.

Full of wire fighting and flo-mo bullet-time sequences, the action and effects are on a par with Hollywood offerings like The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Unfortunately the film is as vacuous as Hollywood at its worst. The likes of Gone In 60 Seconds and Swordfish appear sophisticated by comparison. Maybe there's a subtext about the Korean educational system, or North/South relations here, the fantasy context a means of sneaking subversive content past the authorities. Nah, the setting simply indicates that anything goes.

Volcano is mindless entertainment. While you can't fault the filmmakers at a technical level, you might wish they had lavished a touch more care elsewhere.

Reviewed on: 23 Aug 2002
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Volcano High packshot
Live action manga from Korea about violence at school, post apocalypse.
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Director: Kim Tae-gyun

Writer: Jung Ahn-chul, Kim Tae-gyun, Park Heon-soo, Huh Gyun, based on the story by Suh Dong-heon

Starring: Jang Hyuk, Shin Min-ah, Kim Soo-roh, Kwon Sang-woo, Gong Hyo-jin, Jung Sang-hoon, Kim Hyung-jong, Huh Jun-ho, Jo Sung-ha, Park Dong-bin

Year: 2001

Runtime: 99 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Korea


EIFF 2002

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