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Issue #118a HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES July 29th, 2002

Kick The Moon
(2001; Cinema Service/Terasource Venture Capital/Fun & Happiness)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Korean: Silaui dalbam

A pair of early 80s students end up taking very different and unforeseen paths in life. Brainy, put-upon nerd Park Young-joon grows up to be a powerful boss with the Nami gang in Seoul, while revered young hood Choi Gi-dong ends up walking the straight and narrow path in life as a high school teacher (though he has not shed his violent ways and takes pleasure in tormenting some bumbling students). Almost two decades later, the two bump into one another in their hometown of Gyeongju, when Young-joon (ATTACK THE GAS STATION!'s Lee Sung-jae) returns to conduct negotiations with a rival gang. Although he and Gi-dong (GHOST IN LOVE's Cha Seung-won) have their differences, they find common ground and begin spending time together. When Gi-dong's students get into trouble with the law, the pair meet outgoing, tough-as-nails restaurant owner Min Ju-ran (Kim Hye-soo) and quickly become fond of her. This love triangle obviously cannot go on and the gloves are soon off. The brash Gi-dong drops all semblance of civility, a strategy that backfires and makes him look like the gangster in Ju-ran's eyes. When the woman's little brother (Lee Jong-su) decides that he wants to join the Nami, Young-joon agrees to take him in...as long as he and his buddies get their grades up into the school's Top 20. Gi-dong finds out, and orders the boys to stop studying, a decree that understandably creates much confusion. While this personal battle rages on, Young-joon's mob business engenders extra, unforeseen complications for everyone.

In the wake of his surprise smash ATTACK THE GAS STATION!, director Kim Sang-jin returned with this spirited buddy comedy. KICK THE MOON racked up even more impressive numbers than its forerunner and this is not entirely surprising, as it is successfully reproduces some of that picture's most memorable components. The three leads offer vivid performances and the two actors beautifully convey both their characters' antagonism and (when all is said and done) deep friendship. While he may be a gangster, Young-joon is really an honorable guy, as is the brutish but ultimately loveable Gi-dong. The same is true for lovely tomboy Ju-ran, who can handle any situation with her sharp tongue or fists but is far less proficient at holding her liquor (one of the funniest bits here finds a very loud and very drunk Ju-ran ordering Young-joon and Gi-dong to hold hands in public, as a way of demonstrating that they have reconciled). The secondary characters are just as entertaining, particularly a bumbling old cop unable to command respect from anyone and the posturing but spineless leader of the local mob, who is played by South Korea's answer to Shing Fui-on. In truth, there are a few too many colorful characters trying to share the spotlight and, at times, the narrative relies on contrivance and formulaic situations to keep things moving along. However, all is forgiven whenever Kim returns to the wonderfully choreographed slapstick violence and corporal torture that made ATTACK so laugh-out-loud hilarious.

Cover art courtesy 20th Century Fox.

Cha Seung-won (left) and Lee Sung-jae. Image courtesy 20th Century Fox.

Kim Hye-soo. Image courtesy 20th Century Fox.

Lee Sung-jae (left) and Cha Seung-won. Image courtesy 20th Century Fox.

20th Century Fox #21781 (South Korean release)

Dolby Digital 5.1

Sync Sound Korean Language

Optional Subtitles In English and Korean

40 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With (Tiny) Clips

Enhanced for 16:9 Displays

Letterboxed (1.82:1 -- reformatted from 2.35:1)

Coded for ALL Regions (The packaging and DVD label carry the Region 3 symbol but the disc is actually all-region)

118 Minutes

Contains moderate violence and coarse language

DVD menu courtesy 20th Century Fox.

South Korea: 15


The anamorphic transfer looks excellent, with a crisp image, bold colors, and excellent detail. Unfortunately, the movie was meant to be seen at 2.35:1 and has inexplicably been reformatted here to 1.82:1. The framing generally looks passable but a number of compositions (mostly involving two shots) look too tight on the sides and the splice line is occasionally visible at either the top or bottom of the screen. This is a rambunctious movie and the sound mix keeps pace, offering plenty of energy and dimensionality. There is a well-executed layer change at 1:19:27. A number of extras are included, though, alas none of them are subtitled. In addition to the usual teaser and trailer (the latter presented at the original ratio) and cast and director profiles, we get 11 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, five (very) brief interviews, a music video, 7 time coded deleted scenes, and an audio commentary from the director. The keep case comes in a cardboard sleeve that proclaims the film as being a "Comic Action Special."

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