I still haven’t got my breath back from the first Melbourne International Film Festival screening of the Korean High School fu flick Volcano High, but am already well and truly prepared to announce it as the coolest film for 2002.
Volcano High is just about ordinary high school stuff — liking a girl, hating your teachers, joining a sports club, fighting the bully — but everyone is actually a secret kung fu master of some kind. The plot is strictly comicbook, and the film is beautifully treated and is all cool blacks and blues. The action is a la Matrix, and completely outrageous; wires and water are both used with great abandon. The soundtrack is awesome, and run through a THX system adds a thumping heartbeat to the whole affair’s irresistible swing.
There’s nothing profound here, just 99 minutes of fine entertainment, made with care, love, wit and zing. The excitement I got from watching it with a full house was similar to seeing Storm Riders for the first time, and I’d actually place the film in a CGI-fu chronology that runs as follows:
- 1998 – Storm Riders
- 1999 – The Matrix
- 2000 – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
- 2001 – Shaolin Soccer
- 2002 – Volcano High
Yep, I dug it that much. You should too.