March 15, 2009

Volcano High: The Remedial Students of Chopsocky

I sense two possibilities here. The first is that writer-director Kim Tae-gyun commissioned a storyboard for Volcano High but was given a manhwa (a Korean manga) instead. The second is that he found the manhwa first and used it as his storyboard. Either way, this movie is really just a series of four-color panels in which actors do everything overemphatically as they strive to become cartoons. There's plenty of talk about destiny, screams shouted at the heavens, and even guys with superpowers and Matrix coats. But character development and a nuanced plot.... Well, you'll have to look elsewhere for those. You won't find much comedy either despite all the hammy acting and a ludicrous storyline about rebelious students who want to rule the high school by getting access to a magical scroll. I'll be damned if I could figure out who I was supposed to cheer on: the dorky blonde transfer student (Jang Hyuk), the ice princess (Shin Min-a) who helms the Kendo team, or a group of adult outsiders brought in as disciplinarians. MTV re-edited the film then dubbed it with hip hop artists (Snoop Dogg, Method Man, Mya) and I say why not. For all its excesses, Volcano High has very little to recommend it in its original form. It's hyper-boring.

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