Product DescriptionStarring: Yu Oh-Seong, Choi Min-Suh, Yun Seoug-Won, Jung Du-Hong
Director: Gwak Gyeong-Taek
Studio: Enter One
About This DVD
Director Gwak Gyeong-Taek’s follow-up to Friend, the domestic blockbuster of all time, is a biography of real-life lightweight boxing legend Kim Deuk-ku, portrayed by actor Yu Oh-Seong.
Kim spent his childhood in a remote village of mountainous Kangwon Province, a poor boy with a seemingly unremarkable future, until the day that he happened to hop onto a bus to Seoul. There, he joined Dong-a Gymnasium, with the hopes of someday becoming a world-champion boxer.
He did become a local champion, with hard work, determination and courage, but at a tragic price. On Nov. 13, 1982 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Kim seemed to be at the height of his glory, matched up with champion Ray ``Boom Boom’’ Mancini to fight for the world boxing title. The two fought fiercely, until Kim collapsed during the 14th round from a blood clot to the brain. Kim slipped in a coma and died three days later.
Despite the inevitably grim ending to this tale, The Champion has a wide emotional range. It gently pokes fun at its protagonist’s countrified awkwardness and Forrest Gump-like innocence and delicately portrays his romance with wife Lee Kyung-mi (Chae Min-Seo); both are startling contrasts to his fierceness in the ring.
The film’s overall realism and Gwak’s careful recreation of Seoul in the 1970s and ?0s are also to be commended. The boxing sequences are wonderfully rendered, and scenes throughout are consistently honest, with visible blood, sweat, dirt and tears.
Although ``The Champion’’ is superbly made, well acted, and emotionally compelling, it ultimately leaves some questions unexplored. The legitimacy of a sport that can have such fatal results is one issue that the film leaves virtually untouched. Following Kim’s death, the World Boxing Council formally changed the length of championship matches from 15 rounds to 12, and his death is often cited to attack the brutality of boxing.
The film, however, chooses to focus more on the inspirational qualities of Kim’s determination to live his dream rather than questioning his death.
This refusal to delve into some of the grittier questions that Kim’s life story evokes is reflective of a slight lack of overall complexity. ``The Champion’’ is no more than a simple tale about a man who achieves his dreams. What saves it from becoming like a dozen other movies about achievement in sports is its superior filmmaking and tragic end, proving that real life is often more interesting than the movies.
|Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, DTS 6.1 ES
|Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
|Making of Film (50 min), Trailer, TV Spot