The story for Jungle Juice is nothing new. It’s a tried and tested method that has been used in movies for years and spanning across different countries. The industry is able to take tired plots and even stereotypical characters, and add a certain charm to them. Jungle Juice is no different, it takes familiar elements of the gangster comedy and tries to build upon them. It seems though that Korean Cinema treats them more as low-life gangster wannabes rather than young guns, trying to gain the respect of their newly found “family”. Of course, to put the icing on the cake, we have the usual assortment of supporting characters which often steal the show from the main stars, like a hooker named Meg Ryan.
I must admit the first half of the film is quite messy in terms of storytelling structure, while Jang Hyuk and Lee Bum-soo’s performances help those fifty minutes immensely, you really don’t get a sense that anything important is happening. We see these two bumbling idiots fooling around for a while, then an opportunity arises and problems begin. What really saves the film, other than the already mentioned cast, is the director’s style and the fact the comedy really works.
While the first half might have felt like the film was trying a little too much to be cool, the second part surprised me in terms of pacing, action and soundtrack. If you’re willing to wait a little for the goods, this film could surprise you. It doesn’t really have anything out of the ordinary, at least for what concerns Korea’s current state of grace in terms of film quality. But, thankfully, it has enough to keep the fan of the genre and the casual viewer entertained.