masterly master lee

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

Vampire Cop Ricky 흡혈형사 나도열 2006 review

vampirecop2.jpgRicky 나도열 is a crooked cop (played by the king of supporting actors Kim Suro 김수로) who manages to get bitten by a mosquito infected with the blood of Count Dracula. Whenever he gets an erection, he now turns into a vampire… If this is too much for you to accept, stop reading here and don’t watch the movie. Old-fashioned gangster movies with their predictable plots and stars are nice, better than nice, but sometimes it is good to have a movie that turns the genre on its head and gives it a good smack in the gut or a kick right between the legs. Just to keep it on its toes. And while the genre and its purist fans lie on the ground, writhing in agony, impossibly ludicrous movies such as Vampire Cop Ricky infuse the genre with new blood (in this case quite literally) and make it possible to appreciate anew the jaded conventions of the classic crime or horror pulp flick.

Kim Suro carries the movie with great panache. If anything, this movie shows that he is one of the most gifted actors of his generation. It is only the lack of classical good looks that has held him back from a glittering career as leading man. As vampire cop Na Doyeol 나도열 he is irresistible and succeeds in getting the viewer on the side of this crooked, egoJo Yeojeongtistical, sex-obsessed and rather pathetic cop. In his quest to get to grips with his new non-human state, he is aided by some very able colleagues: Cheon Hojin 천호진 (who looks more like the typical cinematic cop every day) is appealingly angry, frustrated and caring at the same time as Kim’s superior officer, O Gwangnok 오광록 is a superb vampire-hunting priest (O shines in each movie he appears in. He is a bit like Kim Suro in the sense that his acting talents have been hampered in being recognized due to his slightly lugubrious looks). The vampire cop’s love interest is played by former commercial video model Jo Yeojeong 조여정 (she made a name as a sizzling model for towels), who provides just the right mix of cuteness, cup-size, wit and spirit to remain standing next to an on-fire Kim Suro.

Vampire Cop Ricky switches between the comic mode and the dramatic mode, as the corrupt practices Na is engaged in turn out to have calamitous consequences. While many other movies sink under the weight of two different moods, vampirecop.jpgVampire Cop Ricky is actually the stronger for it, supplementing the farcical escapades of Kim Suro with a authentic looking quest for atonement. His guilt over what happened seems real, while his victory dance after an entertaining fight in a nightclub in which he gets to know the true extent of his new powers, is hilarious. Add to that an evil crime lord who is really evil and you’ve got a classic. Master Lee is fervently hoping for a sequel. The only thing he isn’t sure about in this movie is why Na Doyeol is called Ricky in the English title. Ah well, a classic is a classic and this is masterly pulp.

 

****MAJOR SPOILER ALERT****

 

vam12.jpgMaster Lee is secretly hoping that this will be the first in a series about Na Doyeol as a vampire superhero. The ending of the movie seems to play at that possibility, with Na looking out over the city at night (you can’t get a cornier superhero shot), with the priest as his minder and mentor and with Jo Yeojeong as his unattainable love interest. As a now incurable vampire wracked with guilt over his past sins, he’d mac2.jpgke a super superhero, Master Lee thinks. And truth be told, Master Lee is more than a little anxious to see miss Jo again. He is ready to throw the towel in the ring…

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