“Project Wolf Hunting” on Blu-ray and Available for Purchase by Clicking the Cover Art!
After a disastrous Philippines-to-Korea extradition processing of criminals that resulted in an airport suicidal bombing with multiple casualties, the procedure to transport dangerous criminals moves to a decommissioned Cargo ship known as the Frontier Titan. The 3-day journey is expected to be a safer option to extradite Korea’s most wanted as highly trained and experienced detective accompany the criminals as armed escorts. Every contingent has been covered except for what lies in the belly of the cargo ship. Hidden in the bowel, underneath the engine room, a top secret biological weapon, involving an ancient wartime prisoner’s chromosomes commingled with the agility, strength, and prowess of a wolf, being transported across the sea. When the criminals plan an elaborate seizing of the ship, the monstrous hybrid man known as Alpha is also inadvertently released and kills his caretakers, leaving him free to roam the ship and engage the good and bad guys alike as fair game to hunt.
Only a handful of times in my life have I’ve seen a film with so much blood. “Project Wolf Hunting” is one of the bloodiest, most violent, Korean films to come out of 2022. The hybrid action-horror with a genetically hybrid superhuman is the latest effort from writer-director Hongsun Kim, sticking with the horror genre after his positive reviewed 2019 evil spirit family drama “Byeonshin.” The title, in reference to the operation of transporting Alpha through to East China Sea, into the Korean Strait, and dock at Busan, is the international marketing title for the Korean name “Neugdaesanyang” and is a film I can confidently and merely describe as “Predator” meets “Con Air” on a cargo ship. Seasoned civic officers of the law, hardened criminals with sordid pasts, a special op consisted of superhuman soldiers are up against the odds to stop the Alpha, the original specimen. Film between the ports of Busan, Korea and Manilla, Philippines, “Project Wolf Hunting” is the Korean venture production from Content G with Gu Seaon-mok serving as producer and is presented theatrical by The Contents On in association with CJ CGV.
What’s interesting about Korean cinema is what you know what you’re getting with the characters who are greatly upfront, unpretentious, and full of attitude. There are not a lot of false veneers with the cast of characters, something that can be said with most films spawned out from the Asia Pacific industry. I might dangerously be overgeneralizing but from my viewings and writeups, but I’m fairly locked into my statement with confidence as “Project Wolf Hunting” paints a stark contrast of who’s who from the beginning without casting any doubt or even suspicion. Even with the some of the ship’s crew, Hongsun Kim clearly delineates their allegiances despite not coming right out with it initially and the cast immerse themselves into the appointed role with well-designed idiosyncrasies that seeing them out of character can be a bit of shock. Park Jong-doo perhaps is the most archetypical with Seo In-Guk, in his first feature performance, becoming the despot amongst the thieves. Guk transforms his appearance with full body tattoos to denote mafioso status and even takes that extra step with a few naked from the rear scenes to establish a conspicuous nonchalance for what anyone else has to think, say, or do. When many of the insurrectionary inmates take the ship, Jong-doo’s counterpart, Lee Do-il, isn’t so easily intimidated but is reserved and quiet in his strong posture. Dong-Yoon Jang offers a less violent option only to bide time for what’s ahead of them, the Alpha. Gwi-hwa Choi, who been hot right now in Korean cinema with having roles in “Train to Busan” and “The Wailing,” is the extraordinary and mysterious monster prowling to kill every single person on and off the ship’s manifest. With Alpha’s eyes stapled shut, maggots feeding off the festering tissue inside his mouth, and has a near spartan approach to liquidating, Choi completely transforms into the silent hunter with unstoppable and wild violent mode, but Alpha is only a name and the implicit meaning of the name does change hands throughout the course of the film that makes “Project Wolf Hunting” all that more the interesting. Female principals are not meek, weak, or helpless in his all-out brawl in a confined space with Jung So-Min as an eager cop with acumen and Jang Young-Nam as the dangerously uncouth companion to one of the mafia’s leadership and the fact that none of them are a love interest, or become even remotely involved romantically, sexually, or even innocently, speaks volumes on “Project Wolf Hunt’s” no room for romance rampage. The large cast lends to a high body and the acting pool rounds out with Dong-il Sung (“Byeonshin”), Park Ho-San (“The Call”), Chang-Seok Ko (“Lady Vengeance”), Lee Sung-wook (“Spiritwalker”), Jung Moon-sung (“The Cursed”), and Son Jong-hak (“Thirst”).
There’s so much blood. That statement was worth repeating. “Project Wolf Hunt” is reminiscent of the Japanese samurai films of yore or the absurd comedy gore film with geyser sprays of red with every blow. Literally, tons of fake blood was used to coat the sets crimson in an impressive feat of movie magic carnage. I’m also doubly impressed how the special effects team was able to achieve multiple sprays from out of the nostril cavities in what might seems small, insignificant, and simple looks amazingly palpable on screen that stopping to think about the difficulty in how that effect can be accomplished can be easily overlooked. The blood sprays are only a fraction of the wide variety of violence and gore put on display and we’re treated to an abundance of slaughter and a superb, choreographed melee in each and every tightly confined skirmish that makes “Project Wolf Hunting” captivatingly adrenalized. Production design creates the illusion of a cargo ship without question and the visuals, though soft in some scenes, sell the nautical voyage through clear skies and a storm rough patch. Much of a part of “Project Wolf Hunting’s” success is cinematographer Ju-Hwan Yun’s framing. The example I like to use is the post-elevator attack when the hoisting cord snaps that sends the lift plummeting down the chute with Alpha inside. Yun then sends the shot from the top down the chute to the exposed opening of a mangled lift to see Alpha turn his eye-stapled face upward toward the narrowly escaping prey. The shot gets the heart pumping and relays, in one sequence, the unkillable nature of Alpha. If “Project Wolf Hunting” isn’t already thrilling enough with the brimming, cutthroat tensions spilling onto every deck between the police detectives and the criminals in their custody, the evolutionary plot twist that welds the age-old divide between the two frictions is a bloodbath you don’t see coming and one you’ll enjoy experiencing.
Action, horror, human experimentations, and with a complemental nod to the hard-hitting Asian cop films of 90’s, “Project Wolf Hunting” has teeth and stamina for 123 minutes of knockaround bloodshed. A winning Blu-ray release for Well Go USA Entertainment, the film is presented in a widescreen 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The AVC encoded BD50 offers a topnotch 1080p resolution that translates well to the big screen with granular detail in the interior and exterior of the cargo ship set and displays the stylistic choice of a warm color scheme consisting of prominently yellows and greens, providing less shadowy, higher contrast areas to suggest there is nowhere survivors can hide. Though quite a bit of CGI throughout the film, the end result doesn’t appear half bad with more fleshed out textures built into the renders to make them less gummy-looking. The release offers four audio options – a Korean and dub English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and a Korean and dub English 2.0 stereo. Obviously, you receive more bang for your buck with the amped up surround sound option and don’t have to contend with dubbing if you go the original Korean language route. A high velocity range sounds strong through the rear channels with gunshots, the ship’s indiscreet hum, and the overall ricochets, clinks, and skirmish shuffles submerge an enveloping blanket of directional sounds right in your ears. The Korean dialogue is clean, clear, and vociferous in Korean inflections. English subtitles are optional and available well synched and error-free. Like status quo with other Well Go USA Entertainment releases, bonus features are an ornately produced, one-sided interview vignettes with the cast and crew and of the behind-the-scenes making of the film as well as a making of Alpha which was more actor Gwi-hwa Choi’s excitement about this different kind of role per his usual. The trailer is also available in the bonus content. Physical features include a traditional Blu-ray snapper with latch with the grisly, dirty face of Alpha blended into a black background. The film is unrated and is coded region A for disc playback. Despite minor convoluted expounding, “Project Wolf Hunting” kept the attention at high alert with a high body count, an indomitable super soldier, and a cargo ship load of blood.