Volcano HighI’ve never seen a high school quite like this, Korea seems like a rough place to live as a Teenager!

Volcano High is a school for kids with fanatical martial arts and supernatural ability.  There’s teams that are like opposing factions that have their peace kept by the top fighter on the school yard named Song Hak-rim, played by Kwon Sang woo – our main man from Once Upon a Time in High School / Spirit of Jeet Kune Do.

But shit hits the fan when the Principal is found dead and Song Hak-rim is blamed for his death. So Song Hak Rim is locked away.  That’s when the whole school struggles for the number one spot and the most powerful candidate happens to be a bullying dickhead who is out of control.

This whole hostile environment is where the main character and school ‘new guy’ Kim Kyung-soo, played by Jang Hyuk, must step in.

Kim is the ‘new guy’ after being expelled and banned from all other schools, so you know he’s bad ass! His main goal is to stay out of trouble, which is almost impossible when his high level of Chi and fighting ability is discovered very early!

So things start to get tense and interesting.

Kim Kyung Soo

One Crazy High School!

Kids can not only fight incredibly well here, but they have powerful Chi based power and are basically superhuman.

The warring factions are going absolutely crazy in their struggle for power, but it’s a few powerful teachers who inevitably pose the real threat. This surreal environment is present very visually in a an artistic looking movie which has a very blue, washed out but overexposed shooting style.

The characters, plot and soundtrack are extremely cool and almost like an Anime film or comic come to life.  The story unfolds in a similar (to anime) fashion and had me imagining a cool animated film – but unlike some films with the same style this one pulls it off with live action pretty well.

I think the look of the film (the overexposed, artistically washed out colours) makes the animated fantasy side of things not so ‘colorful’ and cartoonish.  This obviously has an impact on the action also, which manages to express this style quite well also.

Visual Style

Martial Arts and Action

The movie has a good mix of movement, visual style and hard hitting sounds that sell the action pretty well.

Usually I hate the wire work, CGI and over reliance on fantasy based fighting but it just seems to please me when watching this film.  It’s not a chart topping classic fight film, it’s a cool fantasy based martial arts film.

Don’t expect human driven physical performance you’ve come to love from our top action stars, but do expect entertaining action.  As I said earlier – it’s an anime film come to life.

The Verdict?

Not one of the greats, but a cool film with nice visual effects.  Not really what I’d recommend to the martial arts fanatics who love martial arts driven action – but a cool movie on a more generalized scale. Check it out if that appeals to you!

On DVD –

Region 1 (US & Canada)
Volcano High

Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Volcano High [DVD]

Region Free/strong>(All Countries)
Volcano High

More info on Movie Regions here.

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