Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Original Title: Banchikwang
Director: Ji-woon Kim
Writer: Ji-woon Kim
Genre: Comedy, Action
Dae-Ho is an unproductive bank clerk who is late to work every morning and the object of his manager's frustrations. He was a fan of TV wrestling as a child, but can't get out of a headlock. He finds a local wrestling trainer and through a series of events eventually starts to train. He is slowly transformed as he begins his second job as the cheating villain wrestler known as the Foul King. He starts to stand up for himself in odd ways that are not really in his own best interest. Events get out of hand as conflicting influences come together.
And what better way to end than a film about pro-wrestling??
Really, the film uses pro-wrestling more as a backdrop and vehicle for showing a common salaryman's issues with confidence and the doldrums of life, and how he attempts to overcome them.
Kang-ho Song is really fantastic again here as the bank clerk Dae-ho. (I apologize in advance for leaving out other actors as they are not properly listed on the IMDb site, and I am too lazy to research further heh). Song displays his slapstick/physical humor side in this film, but still has some nicely done dramatic scenes as well.
I felt the editing of the film was a definite strong point. There are some scenes that are just cut very well, particularly the wrestling stunts. Either Song took some nasty bumps in the ring, or Kim did an outstanding job subbing in stunt doubles at just the right times. There is a fantastic scene where Dae-ho as Foul King stabs an opponent in the shoulder with a fork. In a closeup over the opponent's shoulder, the "wound" is very briefly off camera as Dae-ho strikes, then comes back into frame with the fork protruding out. It looked really great and fucking painful!
Dae-ho being a rule breaker to mask his lack of wrestling ability adds to the humor of the film as well. This is often the case in real life as you can see certain wrestlers still today that rely on gimmicks such as weapons, deathmatches, etc. to get over with audiences. He is frustrated in his wrestling life also that rule breakers end up on the losing side of things, but is determined and almost trains himself to be stronger, more agile, more confident, and more skillful. Where Dae-ho is late for his miserable job everyday, he waits outside the gym before the sun even rises to practice his back-drop.
I may like this film more because of my bias in enjoying professional wrestling, but I think it's solid and can be enjoyed by just about anyone into a more physical type of comedy.
It's not perfect, but better than many, many, many wrestling films!
Score: 6.75 / 10