Fist 2 Fist (2011)

Growing up as kid in the 90’s, I devoured action movies by the fist full. I was always searching for that magical action flick that would deliver everything I craved: mostly lots of fighting. I fell in love with the top tier films as most boys did but I also enjoyed the lower budgeted films too. The mid 90’s gave rise to the indie flick and suddenly the muscular macho movies were out. Thankfully in the last 10 years or so there’s been a growing industry of macho movies being pumped out direct to video just like in the glory days of the 90s. Sure, most of these films are made for a fraction of their predecessors but the spirit of the films remain. The trouble is the genre is a minefield. For every great DTV action flick that comes out, there are many that commit the biggest sin in cinema: they’re boring. It was with this hesitant curiosity that I popped in Fist 2 Fist.

The film stars Jino Kang (who also wrote, directed, and produced the film) as Ken, a man with a criminal past trying to make good. He’s married now and runs a center for troubled youth. He also teaches hapkido to young people. A villain from his past is released from prison forcing Ken to again enter the criminal world and use violence to save his wife and protect the life he’s built for himself.

I’ll admit I didn’t have high expectations for this flick. I figured it would be dull and lifeless with little action and a whole lot of talking. Thankfully that isn’t the case. The film starts with a bang and has plenty of action sprinkled throughout it’s run time. Jino is a competent director and a solid action star. I liked his relaxed and warm personality in the film. He doesn’t come off as an actor trying to ape someone else’s style which I appreciate. He has his own vibe and I liked it. The film is low budget, there’s no avoiding that but he seems to use what he has well. This is only the second film Jino made but it feels like he has more experience than that. I will say that the run time, despite being only 92 minutes, feels a little long. Some selective trimming could have helped move the film along but it wasn’t until 70 minutes in that I started to feel the run time. The acting is solid for the most part and the direction feels confident. Overall Fist 2 Fist is a solid effort that shows a lot of potential for Jino.

I would recommend this flick to direct to video action hounds only though. For those with just a casual interest the film is too rough around the edges with some scripting issues related to the pacing of the film. That being said I really liked Jino’s presence in the film and I hope to see more of him in future.

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