Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I’m of the opinion that Korean cinema is fairly awesome right about now.  As I have noted in other reviews, the Koreans haven’t quite nailed down the sci-fi picture genre yet with any great success, but everything else from crime, to family, to twisted love genres, the Koreans are doing the damn thing.  One of the reasons for this cinematic success seems to be that Korean filmmakers just don’t give a damn.  By that I mean that anything is possible and nothing is out of bounds for these guys.  Take director Hyung-Gong Lee’s new feature ‘The Fox Family’ which is about as wild and crazy a film as it comes.

The story is simple enough I suppose as we meet the Fox family, which consists of a curmudgeonly old father (Joo Hyeon), his dorky son with The Beetles haircut(Ha Jeong Woo),  his cute as a button youngest daughter(Koo Joo-yeon), and his super hot eldest daughter (Park Si-Yeong) who I’m told is a former Miss Korea.  Miss Park is really, really good looking by the way.  I mean really good looking. I’m talking good looking to the point the subtitles where getting on your nerves because you had to take you eyes away from her.  Anyway, the Parks are on a deserted road and pull over in a gas station with a spaghetti western feel, with the weird guitar music, dust and tumbleweeds we become accustomed to from that genre.  But when Mr. Park asks the attendant to the location of humans, and the attendants Rottweiler disappears, coinciding with the youngest daughters bloody teeth, we are aware that something is different about these cats.  Turns out the Fox family are real foxes, who are temporarily turned into humans with the opportunity to permanently become humans if they each are able to eat a human liver, thirty days from the moment at midnight during an eclipse.  Apparently somehow this has a reference to an actual Korean fairy tale.  And you thought Alice in Wonderland was warped.

To try and continue to write a description of this thing is an exercise in futility, but just note that ‘The Fox Family’ is a dance musical with maybe five full blown musical numbers and sets.  There’s a serial killer floating around who may or may not be a member of the family, It’s a love story with the eldest daughter falling in love with a hidden camera sex tape selling, fast talking, lothario (Park Joon Gyoo) who she plans to eat, but is torn between love and destiny and tells us about it in song.  There’s a ‘You Got Served’ style fight sequence between rioters and riot police, a lap dance on a subway car complete with pole licking, and probably the sexiest Ramen noodle eating scene ever put on film.

As you hopefully can tell, this is a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and quite honestly, how could it?  It almost feels as if they were making this up as they were going along, that is if the production, visuals, sets, editing and photography wasn’t so tight.  No sir, this chaos was expertly crafted and executed, which in itself is disturbing to think that someone actually sat down and carefully crafted this utter nonsense.  This is not to say that ‘The Fox Family’ is bad.  To contrary friends, this is one hell of an entertaining, chaotic, mix mash of… something.  ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ meets ‘An American Werewolf in London’ mixed in with a little ‘Se7en’ starring the ‘Adams Family’. 

The performances by all of the actors are played completely over the top, with a special note to Ha Jeong Woo as the oldest son who looks like an Asian version of John Cusack and is probably a comedic genius.  And did I mention that Park Si-Yeong is really good looking and licks a pole? 

If I had an issue with ‘The Fox Family’, and it’s a minor one, I would have probably liked it more if director Lee had made it a little darker, a little more violent, and maybe a little sexier.  He seemed to be skating around the edge of what the movie could have been, which you don’t expect from Korean cinema.  Admittedly, the film had hangings, dismemberments, pole licking (I can’t remember if I mentioned that or not), Ramen sucking, arterial spray and dog eating, but it was all done in a way that was… family friendly.  Which in itself is an accomplishment I suppose.  I, personally, wouldn’t have minded a bit if the filmmakers just went all out with a totally insane, chaotic blood bath.  But that’s just me.  Otherwise, if you don’t mind a little farce in your soup, ‘The Fox Family’ is fun way to pass a little time.

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