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.
|20th Century Fox #21781 (South
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)
Contains moderate violence and coarse language
menu courtesy 20th Century Fox.
BOARD RATINGS AND CONSUMER ADVICE
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."
KICK THE MOON
is available at Poker Industries.
problems printing this review with Netscape?
Go to the File option in the Netscape
Task Bar, click the Page Setup from
the sub-menu and make sure that in the Page Options
listings, the Black Text box is clicked.
This should resolve the "no text" printing problem.
here for more information about The Hong Kong Filmography
© John Charles 2000 - 2002. All Rights Reserved.