Project Wolf Hunting, 2022.
Written and Directed by Hong-seon Kim.
Starring Seo In-Guk, Dong-Yoon Jang, Dong-il Sung, Park Ho-San, Moon-Sung Jung, Jung So-Min, and Jang Young-Nam.
Follows dangerous criminals on a cargo ship who are transported from the Philippines to South Korea, as they unleash a sinister force after an escape attempt leads to a riot.
For writer/director Hong-seon Kim, Project Wolf Hunting consistently feels like a project to make South Korea’s bloodiest movie. Anyone craving an obscene amount of stylistic gore (dismemberment, decapitations, impalements, and endlessly spurting fountains of blood from the slightest physical contact) will unquestionably be satiated.
Set aboard a reinforced cargo ship housing the nastiest criminals in the Philippines to be sent back to South Korea, there are plenty of character introductions. This goes beyond the murderers and rapists, looking at the sizable police force on hand to make sure the trip goes as planned, doctors, nurses, and something unexplainable down the bowels of the structure that must be routinely injected with a serum.
It’s enough to make one somewhat alert trying to figure out who to root for (some of the cops are crooked), let alone how everything connects. Every five minutes, it feels like being introduced to a new clique that might or might not be worth investing in.
There’s not a single character worth caring about in Project Wolf Hunting, which begs why the film bloats its running time to over two hours, getting viewers acquainted with them without ever really giving them depth. The situation devolves into several slaughter sequences as soon as the convicts spring themselves free. Initially, it’s deliciously sick watching this carnage unfold, especially as it feels like anyone can die at any time with no clear-cut protagonist, but there’s only so much defenseless murder one can take before repetition settles in.
And then Project Wolf Hunting awakens the beast; this super soldier killing machine is like a cross between a Frankenstein monster by way of the videogame version of Resident Evil’s Nemesis with a dash of Predator. It’s out to kill anyone and anything it catches with its heat vision, ripping apart bodies, stomping them to pieces, and launching them halfway across the room into sharp objects.
The film remains engaging (now with the slaughtering in the vein of a horror movie), provided you have a penchant for the extreme violence that doesn’t take itself seriously for a second, but the over-the-top brutality of the first 45 minutes somewhat does a disservice to this super soldier Alpha because, in some respects, we are already attuned to the depravity on display. What could have been a moment truly taking the violence to the next level simply feels like continuing business as usual.
There’s also no way around that the script indulges in some pointless flashbacks to the initial Alpha experiments that only serve the purpose of more maiming. That’s not necessarily a problem, but all the while, Project Wolf Hunting is also attempting to expand on its rather generic narrative, arriving at some cliché reveals. Again, some of this would be fine, but the ensuing final fights are disappointing and lacking in creativity.
The same could be said about Project Wolf Hunting as a whole, but the sheer amount of grisly death (even if it is cartoonish) and commitment to killing off characters every two minutes makes for a joyously barbaric watch.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com