Banchikwang (2000) Poster

(2000)

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10/10
Ultra Tiger Mask
anthropomorphisminc28 October 2002
I watched this film in a park on my laptop, and ended up attracting crowds of people staring at the hysterically laughing foreigner. I figured after having already seen it once, it would be safe to try again as I was waiting on a bus, but the same unrestrained hysterics ensued. As soon as the bus stopped, I made a beeline for the first dvd shop and bought my own copy.

For a film about a masked wrestler, there is surprisingly little cheesiness to this film. We follow a downtrodden banker as he invests his self esteem in the sport, and first see it treated in a very realistic, everyday way, without dramatic music or camera angles and are allowed to see the inherent ridiculousness of it. As the film builds up, and becomes more stylized, it hasn't made a grand statement about wrestling, but allows it to be seen as reality.

With this, the fight sequences become one aspect, while the real heart of the movie are the Mr. Bean like physical comedy bits where the main character tries to get respect in his everyday life. While a few key scenes take place in the ring, the best bits are in the office, on the street or in the park. In tone, pacing and style of humor, I'd call this film the Office Space of Korean cinema.
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10/10
Your face will hurt from smiling
bratzo16 May 2004
Kang-Ho Song is a genius.

He reminds me of Buster Keaton. What is amazing is to see the other films he is in. Once you have seen this, make sure you check out YMCA Baseball, and then for something completely different, JSA (Joint Security Area). It is clear that some of the best films lately are being made in Korea, and he seems to be a part of them. His gift for physical comedy is remarkable, and this movie keeps going in directions I did not expect.

Anyone who has worked in an office will understand this film. It is not only for WWF fans, in fact I HATE Wrestling...but this is something altogether different.

Do yourself a big favor, see Foul King, JSA, and YMCA Baseball, and then lets start the North American Kang-Ho Song fan Club.
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10/10
This outrageous comedy was a box office smash for a reason.
vanrosss7 April 2001
This outrageous comedy was a box office smash in Korea for a reason. It was hilarious and poignant! The direction was terrific as the tone was always right on, and placed every event into the evolution of the story. The absurd slapstick humor hides the statement about barriers of social status and changes to one's life. The performances make this film even more outstanding.
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A gentle movie with lots of laughs and some real heart
Jon Sturgess28 August 2003
As a long term wrestling fan in Australia I viewed this movie with some trepidation based on the description in our cable movie guide. I was pleased to find the 'blurb' was nothing like the real thing and my interest was well rewarded.

As others reviewers have commented, this film is a mix of two themes interwoven with action/comedy sequences and the boringness of being in banking.

My only disappointment was the ending. Perhaps because I am not Korean I may have missed the significance of some key things along the way.

This is a great film for those who enjoy a good laugh, some great wrestling action wrapped in a cultural gentleness which could teach us in 'the west' something about life.

For me, 8.5 out of 10.
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8/10
Great comedy from Korea
KineticSeoul10 September 2010
I enjoyed this comedy that deals with wrestling in Korea, and Kang-ho Song was perfect in this role. I couldn't think of any other actor that could have played this role better than he did. There is also some superhero elements in this where, when Im Dae-ho(Song Kang-ho) character becomes someone instead of the coward in the office when he wears the tiger mask. Not that the tiger mask gives him special abilities, but it gives him confidence in himself. The movie starts off kinda slow but when it picks up, it's pure entertainment from there on with some good humor that kept me laughing. Some may not enjoy this type of humor in a movie, but I enjoyed it a lot. I hope more films like this is made in the future, since Korea isn't known for making great comedies.

8.3/10
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10/10
This Kim Jee Woon film has enabled viewers to interact with their alter ego.
FilmCriticLalitRao30 June 2015
Human beings are strange as they are engaged in a constant tussle with their alter egos. There is no rest for them as their minds are plagued with constant thoughts about a perpetual struggle which would be somebody's gain at the cost of somebody's loss. This strangeness enables them to emerge as powerful persons with absolute control over their lives. South Korean film 'The Foul King' is about the secret life of an ordinary bank employee who makes the most of his after work wresting sessions to emerge as a physically as well as emotionally stronger human being. It is nice to watch our hero as the tough guy in appearance but soft at heart. However, a mean bank boss is going to experience the wrath of audiences for having used unparalleled physical force against a weak person. Every act of success comes with a price tag attached to it. For the film's protagonist Dae-Ho,it is the lack of romance which shatters him the most. However,director Kim Jee Woon has constructed his imaginative screenplay in such a manner that the weak man is able to redeem his lost honor when his bully father recognizes his physical prowess. Although featuring WWF style wresting, 'The Foul King' appears more a drama film due to its pacing which is very regular. Its universal appeal lies in the fact that all countries have the fair share of "The Foul King' .
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Foul King - brief
Vultural ~25 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Alright fight fans! Meek, lower tier bank clerk enters the glamorous world of arena wrestling. He finds a gym, an old wrestler, now disgraced trainer. Clerk learns dirty tricks, and wears the mask of the villain! By turns funny and sad, the latter involving his depressing workplace and the way others view him. Once that mask is donned, though, beware the tiger. Laugh out loud film with outrageous, no holds barred, final act. Early film of Kang-ho Song whose profile swiftly climbed in the West thanks to Sympathy For Mr Vengeance, The Host, The Good, The Bad, And The Weird, most recently Snowpiercer. Suggested double feature pairing - Andy Kaufman's I'm From Hollywood.
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Not as good as others may have you think
uncleseven23 February 2002
I purchased this movie based upon the recommendations of many people from different websites. Most of them claiming that the movie works well because its comedy is cross cultural.

I don't disagree that when the comedic elements are present - they work well. However, and this is a big however, they are few and far between. The movie fails for me because of its pacing. There is nothing really fantastic going on between the comedic moments. It's just filler material that tries to tell a story about the blandness of a man's life, and his interactions with his environment. It succeeds in showing why he would go into wrestling, but also succeeds in putting the viewer to sleep. I watched it once myself, and watched it again with friends. During the second viewing I had multiple requests to fast forward through dull, drawn-out scenes.

Don't get me wrong, I repeat, there are spectacular moments, but they are few and far between. Rent this or just don't even bother.
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6/10
Disappointing, but OK
lastliberal20 August 2010
I have seen Kang-ho Song in many films: Thirst; The Good, the Bad, the Weird; The Host; Sympathy for Lady Vengeance; Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance; Joint Security Area; Shiri; and now, The Foul King.

There is no doubt about his acting abilities, not of director Ji-woon Kim, who kept things moving and presented a good film.

It was a drama about a man that had no confidence in himself, and developed it only when he took up wrestling. Hiding behind a mask allowed him to be someone else. You can guess the eventual outcome.

It was funny at the same time. Unfortunately, it is not the humor that I especially enjoy. If there was an American remake, it would easily feature Adam Sandler - not a great recommendation.
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