Go to contents

“Go to College even by boxing”

Posted October. 03, 2002 22:47,   


Nowadays a lot of comedy gangster films catch on. When you hear the title, “Men Are Born,” you might think of another one. But this is not. This film is set in the 1980s. In the movie, there is no “rising” star. Though the structure is somewhat loose, it is very heart-warming.

The film is set in a small islet that does not appear on the map. The oldest man in the village, 99, has a wish. He wants to have a college student in this village. There are only three who are capable of going to college, Dae-sung (Chung Joon), Man-gu (Hong Kyung-in) and Hae-sam (Yeo Hyun-soo). They are goofing around after they graduated from high school.

Adults in this village rack their brains over how to get them accepted to college. They are not smart enough to go to college and do not have special talent. Finally, the village men decided to teach them boxing and make them admitted as students with special talent. Coach Wang (Lee Won-jong), who was a mediocre boxer when he was young and now runs a game arcade in the town, was selected as special coach for them. The three grudgingly started boxing exercise.

Though this seems a satire of a society in which academic background is the most important criterion for people, this is only a rough sketchy of the film. This movie is about dream. It could be titled “dream.” This is about dreams of the three, who appear to be losers in society.

Dae-sung has a crush on a college woman. Man-gu wants to participate in a college students’ popular music contest. Hae-sam wants to get out of this small islet into a bigger world. Though the three guys started boxing accidentally, they try to turn this opportunity into a foothold for their dreams. Pressing them for boxing exercise, Coach Wang says, “If you lose your dream, you will live like me. Do not live like me.” This line makes you feel friendly to this movie with naïve belief in hope and dream.

A few scenes reminiscent of the 1980s, such as men’s long hair, out-of-date clothes, ceremony of pulling down a national flag, and powerless country gangsters, make fun. But in general there is much overaction. Often acting is clumsy. If there were not good performance by three young actors including Lee Won-Jong in the role of coach Wang, the movie would end up as a mediocre film.

World-class boxer Hong Soo-hwan helped the actors with boxing training. It was directed by Park Hui-joon who made his debut by “Dream of a Warrior.” It will be open to those over 12 on Oct. 11.

Hee-Kyung Kim susanna@donga.com