Saturday, June 10, 2006

Ssawoomeui Gisool (The Art of Fighting)

The art of posing.

Ssawoomeui Gisool (The Art of Fighting)
Starring Jae Hee (3-Iron) / Bae Yoon-sik (President's Last Bang)
Director Sin Han-sol

Karate Kid on steroids. There's more reason to the punches here than some homoerotic ringside action, it's the survival of the poorest where people risk getting beat up for bread. There's also less mush and more street zen; Bae Yoon-sik's miyagi is gangsta cool and the coin-throwing wrist action is believably fatal. Expecting more though would ruin all the fun. This is engrossing predictability at its glossiest with unpredictable bone-cracking in gravity-defying decibels, and a surprising hint of sadness at the futility of the struggle. With wit that bounces off walls and a subtle handle on irony, The Art of Fighting could have aspired for more but it seems to be content with being just entertaining. ***

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