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Frank M. Ahearn,
Kang Tae Sik is a 43-year-old former silver medalist boxer. He now spends his days hawking himself as a human punching bag to passersby in a shopping district in Seoul and other times hiding from various loan sharks. His wife wants a divorce and is threatening to take take their own only son with her. Yoo Sang Hwan is a troubled youth, who was only recently released from prison. Sang Hwan robbed and beat up his elderly neighbor in an attempt to pay off his debts. While in prison, a guard recommended Sang Hwan take up boxing as a way to release his aggression. Now, with his father having passed away, his mother's whereabouts unknown and his grandmother just having a stroke, Sang Hwan is desperate. An amateur boxing competition takes place, providing hope for these two men. They will meet in the ring. Written by
I love Korean movies and have been a fight fan most of my life, so maybe I'm an easy mark here. Nevertheless, I believe this film is an outstanding study of two very opposite boxers. One a washed-up 43 year old Olympic Silver Medalist who gets beaten up for money on the streets, the other a teenage thug who ends up in juvenile detention after a mugging. The two stories don't cross until the final bout.
In the process, both evolve from being unpleasant jerks, who disrespect their families, to being... average. Characters, fighting, story-lines, etc. are very realistic. Thought you won't fall in love with either boxer, you'll probably wish both could win the big fight.
Movie may seem a bit slow and slightly long at 135 minutes but I think it's worth it so I recommend it highly, especially to fans of boxing and Korean film.
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