7.1/10
3,482
30 user 25 critic

Fighter in the Wind (2004)

Baramui paiteo (original title)
A young Korean man arrives in Japan near the end of World War II with hopes of being a fighter pilot, but ends up on the streets battling racism, organized crime, occupying American ... See full summary »

Director:

Yun-ho Yang

Writers:

Hak-ki Bang (comic book), Yun-ho Yang
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dong-kun Yang ... Choi Bae-dal
Aya Hirayama Aya Hirayama ... Yoko
Masaya Katô ... Kato
Tae-woo Jeong Tae-woo Jeong ... Chun-bae
Doo-hong Jung Doo-hong Jung ... Beom-su
Seong-min Park Seong-min Park ... Ryoma
Sachiko Kokubu Sachiko Kokubu ... Ryoma's Wife
Fuuma Kosaka Fuuma Kosaka ... Tomoya
Mayu Sonoda Mayu Sonoda ... Setsu
Ji-woong Choi Ji-woong Choi ... Yakuza Boss
Ha Sang-Won Ha Sang-Won ... Yakuza
Han-garl Lee Han-garl Lee ... Miwa
Han-sol Lee Han-sol Lee
Hisao Maki Hisao Maki ... Martial Arts Association Elder
Seong-hwan Koo Seong-hwan Koo ... Circus Clown
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Storyline

A young Korean man arrives in Japan near the end of World War II with hopes of being a fighter pilot, but ends up on the streets battling racism, organized crime, occupying American servicemen, and his own fear of failure as a martial artist. (Korean with English subtitles)

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Plot Keywords:

korean | japan | 1940s | 1930s | taekkyon | See All (37) »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

official site [South Korea]

Country:

South Korea

Language:

Japanese | Korean | English

Release Date:

6 August 2004 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

Baramui Fighter See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bae Dal shaves his eyebrows because it would cause him great shame if seen by others, thus forcing him to remain isolated to train. See more »

Quotes

Choi Bae-dal: I am afraid of fighting, I am afraid of being beaten and losing. But I am more afraid of surviving as a cripple than dying while I am fighting.
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Connections

Version of Karate Bear Fighter (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Balam
Performed by Do-hyun Yoon and Yoon Do Hyun Band
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User Reviews

 
Formulaic, but fairly successful martial arts biopic
23 June 2009 | by refresh_daemonSee all my reviews

Fighter in the Wind is a Corea-produced martial arts biopic about Masutatsu Oyama (born Choi Baedal), the ethnically Corean founder of Kyokushin karate. I actually went into this film bracing for the worst kind of nationalism that I often expect from Corean film when dealing with Japan, but was pleasantly surprised at how subdued it was. In addition to some limited, but kinetic fight sequences, Fighter in the Wind ends up being a mostly satisfying, if limited, portrait of a prominent figure of the martial arts world.

The fictionalized story covers the early portion of Oyama's life in Japan. While history shows that Oyama had actually trained in two schools of karate before developing his own technique, I imagine that much of the actual of events of his life were elided for both running time as well as nationalistic purposes, in re-centering Oyama as a Corean (perhaps to appeal to the Corean movie-going populace). In addition to watching Baedal/Oyama get beat up, beat people up and become a total badass, we also watch him make friends with another ethnic Corean (the vice-ridden best friend), develop a relationship with a Japanese woman, get schooled by a Zainichi karate instructor/circus troupe guard, and spend a chunk of time brutally training in solitude in the mountains.

The film follows a rather unsurprising approach that you can find in many martial arts films, following the hero's journey as he starts from a scrapping fighter, who gets beaten, learns and trains with a master and learned to use his skills for good and not selfish ambition, is forced to fight to protect someone, beats the big bad in the end. Yeah, totally formulaic since this film mostly fits the basic formula, but like many films before it, it works. You see the growth of Baedal/Oyama's character, you see his victory from rather rough beginnings and how he changes the lives of those around him. Basic biopic/hero-film stuff. But it's pretty well executed, so although it's nothing that's going to amaze you, at the same time, the character remains interesting enough to keep your attention, like any biopic. Unfortunately, most of the Japanese villains are painted with a rather broad near-mustache-twirling brush, so if you're looking for complexity in your story-telling, you won't find it here.

The fight scenes, while not plentiful, are kinetic and hard hitting, especially the montage as Oyama takes on school after school of Japan's elite fighters. It's fun to watch the different martial arts interact and it's hard not to root for Oyama's practical underdog style. Photography is pretty good, adapting to the different dramatic material well, while still seeming cohesive and the film doesn't tank in terms of sonic presentation. The acting was overall good, although sometimes I felt like Yang Donggun, who played Oyama, had a rather limited character to work with, but he still seemed to embody that rather simple determination with his posture, even if I had a hard time believing that his body was one of a brutally effective fighter.

I still have some issues with the probably nationalistically motivated fictionalizations to Oyama's life and the rather obvious bad-guy characterizations of the antagonists, but in terms of an engaging biopic, Fighter in the Wind actually manages to make it out okay--if you like martial arts. It's no visionary work of art, but a rather modestly put together biopic that tells the story of a man whose determination and courage led to greatness. These things work for a reason and Fighter didn't screw it up, even if it did nothing astounding. Good for martial arts fans and probably passable for everyone else. 7/10.


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