The tagline on the back of the Quick Blu-Ray proclaims: "It's Speed on a motorcycle!" Although that easy-to-digest line certainly paints a picture for the prospective viewer, I don't think it's the right picture. Speed is certainly a silly movie, but it plays its central conflict straight: Will Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, and a busful of character actors get blown to bits? Quick spins a similar story, of a bike messenger forced into action with a bomb threat, but the tone of the two movies is like night and day.
The messenger is Gi-su (Min-ki Lee), a man who thirsts for nothing than the thrill of a motorcycle going as fast as it can. He's already in the middle of a job when his manager double-books him, telling him to grab a package for delivery at a music company. When he arrives, he finds his cargo is not a document but a woman, and not just any woman, but his ex-girlfriend Chun-sim (Ye-won Kang), now going by "A-Rom" as a member of the popular K-pop group OK Girls. He's all ready to "deliver" her to a TV station when a cell phone left on his bike rings and tells him that his helmet and watch are rigged to explode if he doesn't follow the caller's instructions to the letter. Unfortunately for both of them, Chun-sim is wearing his helmet, forcing both of them to go on a mad dash across the city with the police and the bomber following their every move.
Quick opens with a prologue that is representative of all 100 off-the-wall minutes that follow: a stone-faced Gi-su, pursued by a bawling Chun-sim, drives like a maniac through a crowded intersection and causes a multi-car pileup, complete with the explosion of a gasoline truck. What is the viewer meant to think of a protagonist that openly and decisively causes a violent, destructive accident that surely kills a number of people? Apparently nothing: future bike messenger Gi-su doesn't seem to have taken any heat for the incident, and although several people mention that he threw away his promising future to be an errand boy, it's clear what Gi-su was doing before, or why he can't do it now.
More importantly, though, the prologue, full of more mugging than all of Jim Carrey's movies put together, indicates that the makers of Quick have no intention of creating a "serious thriller." Once Gi-su and Chun-sim have learned the helmet is an explosive that could blast her head into a million pieces, they...go to her television appearance, where she performs the gig wearing the helmet, while Gi-Su follows her alongside the stage trying to prevent the proximity trigger (the helmet and watch must stay within 10 feet of each other) from going off. Then, her label producers shove her in a van and try to drive off, so we get a scene where Gi-su chases the van and she has to try to leap out while her bandmates pull her hair and call her a crazy bitch. Any and all opportunities for the film to ratchet up the tension are muted by the goofy, caricature-style performances (Chun-sim is worse than Temple of Doom's Willie Scott) and the overall "wacky" tone established by the filmmakers.
In theory, that wouldn't be a fatal complaint, but every one of Quick's creative decisions feels wrongheaded. All the women are catty, weepy, or both. Chun-sim is pursued by Myeong-sik (In-kwon Kim), a blubbering dope whose limitless affection for her (despite her total lack of interest) is either creepy or obnoxious (although the transformation of his angry, 20-something biker gang into pleasant, 30-something pizza-delivery boys from flashback to present day is one of the film's best subtle jokes). A cop named Seo (Chang-Seok Ko) chases Gi-su, but no real relationship is ever established, which makes the character feel overdeveloped for having no real connection to the protagonists. Quick also wants to surprise the audience with its ending, but anyone with two brain cells to rub together will figure out what's going to happen, and worse, it's a morally sticky ending that may create unintentional sympathy. Shot for cheap, Quick is an energetic film that frequently looks like a million bucks, but the story and tone are a disjointed experience that either lost something in translation or never decided exactly how it wants its audience to feel.
The goofy expressions on Lee and Kang's faces as they rush from a gigantic explosion on the front of this Blu-Ray actually feel unusually accurate to the film. On the back, that unfortunate tagline appears, as well as a couple of other shots from the film that might not convey the film's tone and scope as accurately as the front cover. The disc comes in a standard, non-eco Blu-Ray case, and a cardboard slip with the same artwork slides over the whole package.
The Video and Audio
Both the 2.35:1, 1080p AVC video and the Korean DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track included on this disc are reference quality, with only the production values of the original film to hold them back. Fine detail is through the roof on this one, with striking depth and dimension provided by excellent contrast. The fiery orange of large explosions and the attention-grabbing yellow of Chun-sim's leather outfit leap off the screen. Scenes outside in bright daylight are as crisp and clear as a sequence indoors at a crowded pop concert. Said concert is also only one of the many big audio moments, along with the movie's wall-to-wall explosions, car crashes, and motorcycle chases. Surround activity is fantastic during several big-crowd moments. For whatever reason, the disc also includes lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Korean audio tracks, and an English Dolby Digital 5.1 dub track. English is the only subtitle option.
Four featurettes are included. "Action" (17:00) is almost 20 minutes of B-roll from the movie's big action sequences, much of which is very impressive and fairly painful-looking. "CGI" (24:42) goes into the extensive computer generated visuals and backgrounds throughout Quick, with interview snippets from some of the effects crew and pre-vis footage. A particularly impressive segment shows how they turned one small set into an entire plaza for one of the movie's longest chase sequences. "Making Of" (1:01:25, listed third on the extras menu for some reason) is the big, all-encompassing look at the entire production, complete with tons and tons of footage of the cast goofing off between takes. Finally, "Poster" (3:58) shows us the cast shooting all of the movie's promotional art (rather than just the poster specifically). As with most exhaustive behind-the-scenes extras I see for Asian films, this material is a little on the dry and overlong side at times, but the effort that went into making the movie look spectacular for a limited amount of money is clearly illustrated here.
An original theatrical trailer for Quick is also included.
I couldn't reconcile the movie's 200% wackiness with such a potent thriller concept. Quick wants us to care about what happens to its characters and tense up at the thought of the bomb going off, but also to find it funny when a drunken Chun-sim tries to run off onto the beach away from Gi-su and set off the proximity trigger on purpose. That said, the skill that went into making the film is impressive and the A/V on this Blu-Ray is demo material in my book. Rent it.
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