Howling (2012) a.k.a The Killer Wolf
AIR BUD: KILLER WOLF EDITION
In an overtly sexist police precinct that is far more preoccupied by keeping tally over who arrested who and how many points each arrests was worth, it falls to the newly appointed detective duo of Sang-Kill ( Kang-Ho Song ) and Eun-Young ( Na-Yeong Lee ) to try and nab the latest potential murderer. However, the cause of death surrounding this bizarre incident leads them to look for a suspect of the “canine” variety. What they discover ( no worries, this is only a quasi-spoiler that shouldn’t affect your overall experience ) is they existence of a formidable crossbreed between a dog and a wolf. Could this be the unusual killer they are looking for?
Quality actors have many gears. Switching from one to the other with perfect timing is key. You wouldn’t want to see someone burst out with laughter in the middle of a dramatic scene and vice-versa. Sadly, for Na-Yeong Lee, she only has one. She constantly opens her eyes as wide as she can, with a complete stone face, and remains there like a statue for what seems to be an eternity. Big-eyed, frozen in space, you can never tell if she’s about to laugh, cry or break down and go nuts. Her partner, played by popular actor Kang-Ho Song, gives a stifled performance that is sure to be remembered as one of his blandest to date. He is however, 10 times less irritating than his opposite. Heck, that wolf dog probably had better acting chops in this one. Sad but true.
One thing this director struggled with was creating the illusion of speed. When characters are supposed to get jolted into action and explode they move rather slowly. Sluggishly, even. The result: the complete lack of credibility in terms of foot pursuits, car chases, fight sequences, gun blowbacks, etc… For example, there’s this one scene where Eun-Young is riding her motorcycle through a tunnel. The sound effects would have you believe that she’s travelling at a high rate of speed but if you’re paying attention you’ll notice that she’s in fact moving as fast as a snail. Then you hear the motor rev up as she’s exiting the tunnel and… she visually never speeds up!
As for the story itself, I found myself having a hard time slipping into the mystery since a) the mystery itself didn’t thrill me much, b) the director ( Ha Yoo ) did a poor job and c) the acting is below par. I also wasn’t a big fan of the music. Sure, when it comes down to it, the theme of each song matches the scene it’s used with but the songs are too generic to pull you in the way that they wanted to. What you’re left with is something along the lines of a T.V. movie. So it was tough to get into the whole “half-dog, half-wolf assassin” thing. And then when he suddenly morphed into Hachiko, well… that was it for me.
Simply put: when everything is so predictable how can there be any tension? “Howling” turned out to be as unsuspenseful as a thriller can be. A poor outing by everyone involved. The cinematography barely manages to save this one and the only outstanding moment here was one of the doggy murders. Consequently, if you’re laughing right now at the ridiculousness of that last sentence then rest assured you are not the only one.
TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws048uqHdkAHowling (2012) a.k.a The Killer Wolf,