Action movies show the human body twisting in unimaginable ways and engage the audience in the art of primal combat. Here come two films, one about the making of an unconventional action movie, and the other which documents the stuntmen who help make such films possible.
"Rough Cut": Stranger than Fiction
Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris's famous fight scene has made the 1979 film "Way of the Dragon" an action classic. Onscreen duels between top actors sell well, as demonstrated in this year's box office hits like "Public Enemy Returns" starring maverick actors Seol Kyeong-gu and Jung Jae-young. Another visible trend here is the "toughening up" of melodrama heroes. It seems to have become a rite of passage set by Jang Dong-gun, who proved he's more than just a pretty face by adopting a thug persona in "Friend". Joo Jin-mo ("A Love") and Song Seung-heon ("Fate") followed.
"Rough Cut" combines these two marking points, and features two handsome stars kicking and punching each other. So Ji-sub makes a comeback as Gang Pae (which sounds similar to the Korean word for "thug"), a gangster that once dreamed of being an actor (the movie doesn't forget to include a snippet of So playing an extra in the Korean classic "Green Fish"). Opportunity comes knocking at the door when he crosses paths with Su Ta (which literally means "hit with the hand" and played by Kang Ji-hwan), a movie star with a reputation of being a thug. After sending another one of his co-stars to the emergency room, desperate Su Ta asks Gang Pae to star in his movie. The real-life thug accepts, but on the condition that the action sequences be real.
Unlike Catherine Breillat's film about filmmaking "Sex is Comedy", the two's off screen animosity fuels the filmmaking process: Su Ta reprimands Gang Pae's acting skills and calls him a low life scum, while Gang Pae knocks out Su Ta on the set and teases him for making a living mimicking others. Will Su Ta be able to realize the script and beat Gang Pae in the final scene?
Gang-pae, #2 in his organization, is swamped with routine violence, and his dream of becoming an actor never went away. Star actor Soo-ta lives behind a veil, away from public eyes. Over time his behavior becomes increasingly agitated, provoked by paparazzi wanting a piece of him wherever he goes. This behavior puts him in a series of spiraling and uncontrollable situations. Now he begins shooting a new movie playing a gangster.
Because of his bad temper, he beats up a fellow actor and forces the production to a halt. Feeling responsible, Soo-ta requests Gang-pae, whom he met by chance, to play alongside him in the movie in order to save the production. Gang-pae agrees with the condition that the violence portrayed in the movie has to be real and not fake acting violence. Soo-ta accepts the condition and they get ready for the real match.