Review: Project Wolf Hunting (Fantastic Fest 2022)

Title: Project Wolf Hunting
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Hongsun Kim
Starring: Seo In-Guk, Dong-Yoon Jang, Dong-il Sung, Park Ho-San
Runtime: 2 hr 2 mins

What It Is: A group of inmates are delivered to a cargo ship to transport them from the Philippines to South Korea. Some of the inmates prove as incredibly dangerous, with the ability to murder and overpower others on a whim. The inmates, lead particularly by a bloodthristy young assassin, Jong Du (In-Guk) followed by the silent but agile Do Il (Jang) strike out to kill the guards and take over the ship. In the meanttime, one mysterious inmate who had up until now been kept in a coma is released from his sleep by accident, and all hell breaks loose as both the inmates and the guards find themselves pitted up against a seemingly unstoppable monster.

What We Think: I’ll start out the review by saying the biggest detractor of this movie is despite its 2 hour runtime, it feels like it could run far longer and could work even better as an entire television series, or a limited series at the least. Just give director Hongsun Kim (The Chase) his own show already!! This action-horror-thriller is fun, bombastic, and takes pride in just how much violence and gore it features around every corner. The choreography is head-spinning and reminds of other strong action films, such as The Raid 2, meant to showcase just how creative and crunchy death scenes can be. The killcount is numerous and if you try keeping track, you’re eventually going to lose some numbers (a plus). The setting is perfect for framing and isolating the characters within a dangerous environment, much like other Korean powerhouses like Train to Busan. Its ensemble of characters are portrayed with incredible energy by a strong cast.

Its actors all have their time to shine, their characters built up for what seems like minutes before something happens to make them fall all too quickly: a compliment to this film’s performances and writing, but also leaves me wanting more from these characters and making it a little harder to find any characters to lead or latch on to. It’s almost like we’re lead to believe the murderous, elegantly tatted, unpredictable, and admittedly sexy (there are DEFINITELY some fruity moments in this movie, to the point where the blocking is just obviously and humorously suggestive) Jong Du is our lead, before he leaves the film almost halfway through. The structure in which characters come in and out of the movie is a bit disorienting, especially considering the overarching narrative is hidden under the film for most of the runt time. It works, but it definitely leaves me craving more, not sequels, but more time for all of the characters to really make their mark on the audience and have the space to really develope for full impact, much like how we were really able to explore the characters in Squid Games. Overall, I would describe this film as Wolfenstein with a hint of Frankenstein’s Army for Train to Busan and Raid fans.

Our Grade: B+, A fun, twisted, and explosively bloody action-thriller meant to be seen in a crowd or with friends, Project Wolf Hunting will appeal to those with a thirst for stylish, gritty violence and unique, and interesting characters. While the structure of the film leaves much story and character development to be desired in spite of the film’s many conclusive choices, I hope to see more from the cast and the filmmakers and will wait in anticipation for their next awesomely f*cked-up project.