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a home for forgotten and famous korean pulp, its heroes, its heroines, and its pulpeteers

The Showdown 거칠마루

Martial arts, unknown actors, gangsters, competing fighting styles, seven people wondering: “Who is the best?” Sounds like a typical martial arts low-budget movie, but Kim Jin-seong’s The Showdown is anything but typical. Yes, it is low-budget and, yes, it is about who can kick ass best,geolchilmaru1.jpg but there the similarities end. The Showdown is a thoroughly enjoyable, well-acted, well-thought out and funny little gem of a movie. It’s a story about the quest for Geochilmaru, a martial artist whose prowess in posting messages on, a martial arts website, has won him the admiration of many martial artists. When Geochilmaru invites seven of them to meet him in the mountains and fight him, the lucky few jump at the chance. The Showdown is low-budget, so no wire kungfu, no big names, not even professional actors. The movie strictly depends on professional martial artists and a very inventive and effective director. Amazingly, it works. The clashing styles come into their own as do the clashing philosophies. The fighting looks good and real. The director has taekwondo, wu shu, muay thai, hapkido and back alley street fighting contest one another and it works. The best parts of the movie are perhaps those parts devoted to the internet. The Showdown shows how the internet community has changed the martial arts community. Prospective disciples have to wait no longer in front of their master’s house for days on end. An email suffices. And serious practitioners exchanges ideas, tips and challenges with the click of a button. To say more about the plot would be a crime. Watch it, it is one of the most refreshing peeks into the world of martial arts. No mystification or frills, The Showdown makes you understand why people care about the martial arts. And that is probably more than most other martial arts movies do. They generally make you just care about the propensity of teeth to fly out of mouths, noses to be broken or how many times Jean-Claude van Damme can turn in the air before he lands on the face of the bad guy.

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