26 September 2006 | refresh_daemon
This is a solid effort
Another day, another Corean film, but another good one. This one is a boxing movie. But it's not really a boxing movie in the sense that Rocky is a boxing movie. It's rather a drama foremost, about down-and-out losers and their sad pathetic lives, and then a boxing movie: boxing being the means by which they can lift themselves out of their conditions.
The two characters are quite different in some sense, one being a former silver medal winning Asian Games champion with no job and on the brink of losing his marriage and family and the other being a troubled street youth with a compassionate family. At some point, both characters lose out and find their hope in boxing, whether on the streets as a human sandbag or in the prison gym. And then a greater hope is found.
Of course, unlike a typical boxing movie, you have two protagonists and when their paths cross, you don't know who to root for. Both are sad sacks and hard to love people, but have enough humanity still in them that you can't help but wish for them to make it in the end. But... the movie brings up the strange conflict of... who? All the same, that sort of conflict is fairly realistic in any one vs. one story when you think about it. There's hardly a truly villainous villain like the villain of Rocky IV.
The film is shot in two different styles, for each characters stories, although they're tied together well by overarching style elements and the characters are fairly well developed and superbly acted. I will admit that the younger character's story is a little incredulous sometimes and a small bit contrived for extra sympathy, but the movie is generally so watchable overall that I was able to ignore it. With mostly solid writing, great acting, excellent direction and high production value, I'd have to say that Crying Fist has turned out to be one of my favorite boxing films and possibly even sports film. Which isn't to say it's one of my favorite films.
Some of the contrivances are still glaring, and it's hard to fully ignore, but all the same, this is a solid effort and a film that I could recommend highly. Good stuff! 8/10.