Ten years ago, Gi Dong, Choi, the head of the school gang and Yeong Joon, Park, the shy but smart student set out for school excursion to Gyeongju. They experience an unforgettable moment on that night. That change their life at all.
In-gu is a full-time gangster aspiring to be a full-time husband and dad. Shunned by his daughter and wife, his only goal is to live a quiet life with his family out in the country. But ... See full summary »
After the statute of limitation expires on the murders he has committed, Lee Du-seok publishes an autobiography describing all his murders in great detail. Detective Choi, who investigated ... See full summary »
Gi Dong and Yeong Joon run into each other in Gyeongju accidentally ten years after that night. The head of the school gang has become a passionate teacher of physical education and the shy nerd has become an elite gangster. The two shake their hands together but the memory of that night reminds them of the time they have gone through.Later, both fall in love with Joo Ran, the sister of Gi Dong's troublesome student Joo Seop at the same time. Her brother, Joo Seop wants to be a gangster like Yeong Joon. Who will get the heart of Joo Ran? Written by
It's by the same people that made ATTACK THE GAS STATION, and it's really really good.
There, that's the easy bit. But I must admit that I'm hard pressed to think how to convey *why* it's so good. Or even what it's about.
OK, it's about friendship. That much is easy. And there is a story, though for the first half of the movie you'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise because the movie is in no rush to tell you it. Basically, there is a legend amongst the kids at a certain school about an epic fight years before, between their school and the a Seoul school in their city on a field trip. The scale and bloodiness of the fight is said to be still unmatched, and in their minds the kids who led the two schools into battle are the ultimate heroes. What they don't realise is that one of those leaders runs a small street noodle stall, and the other is actually their home class teacher. Not the powerful gangsters they expected them to be. The one kid from the school that did grow up to be a top gangster is ironically the only one that didn't take part in the fight, but who studied and developed his brains instead of fighting.
The movie is basically a character piece, and each character has their own thread of story that sometimes run parallel to each other, sometimes cross each other and do eventually tie together. The main characters are the teacher and the gangster, who meet each other after all the intervening years and strike up a friendship they could never have had when one was the school boss and the other the school geek. The two of them clash, however, when they meet the sister of one of the teacher's pupils, an incredibly cute and sassy girl. Their story is echoed in the secondary thread, about the girl's brother and his friends - high school students who are enamoured with the tales of gangs and gangstered, and cynical about the value of an education.
That's probably more than you need to know, but still no way towards really describing the movie. The story is a rich and subtle one - subtle enough that I'm sure many viewers won't even notice it's there at all. Perhaps that's because it's not a story of actions and events, it's a story of people and relationships. The movie focuses on who the characters are rather than what happens to them. Plot development exists mainly to develop the characters, and as such it is kept in the background so as not to distract too much. The characters in the movie are excellent, very complex and interesting and distinctive. Very memorable. The acting is superb, such that I never really noticed it as acting - the people were the characters, and it was never a stretch of imagination to keep that in mind. I especially liked the actress playing the sister - Kim Hye-Su, and would love to see some more of her.
A lot of the movie is dialogue heavy, and it's very well written and delivered, never becoming boring. Thankfully the subtitle translation is excellent, as this is a movie that would die with poor subs.
So half the movie is dialogue, and it is excellent. And the other half of the movie is... well, people beating the crap out of each other for the most part. There is an absolute ton of fighting in the movie, indeed for the first half there is more fighting than talking (and the fighting only stops briefly after that). No kung-fu here, just street fighting, but well choreographed and filmed.
The movie is sold as a "comic action special" on the DVD case, which I think probably creates the wrong expectations. It's not 'comic action' at all. It is a funny movie, but it's a subtle humour that's mainly in the performances and dialogue delivery rather than anything that is said or done. Possibly wryly humourous, though it's so long since I've used that phrase I forget exactly what it means .
I still find it hard to find something to hang this review on, to capture the essence of the movie. It's not the kind of movie that can easily be distilled and packaged. Ultimately I probably can't do much more than say "It's really really good" and hope that you will take the time to confirm this fact for yourselves .
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