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Crying Fist DVD Review (Region 3)

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by Seth Gecko, Sep 22, 2005.

  1. Seth Gecko

    Seth Gecko
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    <P STYLE='text-align: center'><FONT STYLE='font-size: 18px'><IMG SRC='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/images/CryingFist/CryingFistR3.jpg' ALT='CRYING FIST DVD cover artwork' ALIGN='RIGHT'>CRYING FIST</FONT><br>Reviewed September 2005 by <A HREF='search.php?do=process&query=Russell Rafferty&showposts=1&forumchoice[]=107&forumchoice[]=197' target='_top'>Russell Rafferty</A>.</P><P><B>The Movie : 8</B></P><P>It’s been a while since I saw Rocky, and I have never seen Raging Bull. So, not too hot on the old boxing movies, then! What I can say is that Crying Fist, or Jumeogi unda to give the movie its Korean name, is a damn fine movie, and not just because of the boxing.
    Gang Tae-shik (Min-sik Choi of Oldboy fame) is a burnt out old ex-silver medallist boxer of forty years who beats his wife, finds himself without money and a son who thinks his father isn’t exactly the brightest bauble on the Christmas tree. On a lighter note, Yoo Sang-hwan (Ryu Seung-beom apparently the director’s brother) is a n’er-do-well who roughs up folk for money, ignores his family, has no real friends other than hanger’s on and is wanted by the police. </p><P>So, neither of these characters are shining beacons of honour and gratitude, leaping to the aid of Greenpeace, righting wrongs and helping old ladies across the road. Oh no. These two characters are the dregs of society, the lowest of the low and Crying Fist thinks these people are redeemable enough to be our protagonists and follows their attempt to garner some of that self esteem and honour they have thus far lacked. Gang Tae-shik decides that life isn’t really worth the hassle of staying at home and moves out. To make a living, he offers himself as a human punch bag so that people can take their stress out on him. He becomes a big success, and befriends the cafe owner opposite where he holds his brutal counselling. Yoo Sang-hwan after trying to get some money quick is caught by the police after beating an old, generous and caring, man unconscious in an underground car park. Rather than a normal prison, he is taken to a boxing academy run within a prison regime. Here, Yoo Sang-hwan finds himself the lesser of greater thugs which makes him even more depressed. He becomes determined to make something of himself, and repent for sins later on in the movie by winning the Everlast boxing championships. </p><P>Crying Fist is the most English Korean movie that I have seen. Often parochial, in an oriental sense, Crying Fist has more than a little Full Monty in the whole feel of the movie. Look to the way in which the older generation talk to their children in that rough yet caring manner. That Gang Tae-shik’s son thinks his father is a looser and is ashamed of him or the “just getting by” circumstances of the characters that saturates the whole story in a very dogged, tenacious atmosphere. While this may paint Crying fist is as a mildly depressing movie, it is interspersed with comic moments that had me laughing out loud. Min-sik Choi in particular has a very naturalistic approach to the more comedic elements which lifts the melancholy of the Yoo Sang-hwan story. </p><P>I suppose that the Yoo Sang-hwan half is the most conventional, being as it is, a blend of Rocky and (the underrated, I may add) Girlfight. The director’s brother puts in a good performance as a surely brat you’d like to see locked up, which is where the problem comes in to play. Crying Fist isn’t, broadly, a surprising movie, so when we are asked to identify with Yoo Sang-hwan’s new found sense of humility, the movie nearly stalls. We are expected to believe Yoo Sang-hwan, trained through the fine arts of getting utterly beaten every day in a boxing ring, becomes a better person. It’s almost as if the bridge between the prison and getting Yoo Sang-hwan into a boxing ring was considered immaterial, so sudden is the transition. I didn’t want Yoo Sang-hwan to leave the prison – he irritated me with his care free disregard of his elders and mercenary tendencies. He was no loveable rouge, but a spoilt brat that deserved a seven foot, twenty stone inmate called Brenda who really wasn’t bothered who he slept with as long as they liked it rough. To the boxing ring he goes, however, due to the dual storylines, there is no gentle development. Instead a rather steep fall off an emotional cliff. This works in that there is some payoff when the director deems it necessary, but I was left to wonder if the realism of the rest of the movie’s characters was put on hold while Yoo Sang-hwan has his emotional epiphany. </p><P>I must admit that the direction is superb, a montage towards the latter part of the movie is worthy of a special mention so well is it handled. Another standout is the fight scenes which really do look like they are punching one another. The realism is compounded by longer than usual cuts allowing us to see the violence and spirit in full flow. Choi Min-sik in particular, as he is an older person, has a turn of speed almost beyond imagining. There is a scene where he is beating up an old nemesis and Choi Min-sik slaps him twice. Now, if it weren’t for the dual sounds I would only have counted one slap. It almost makes me regret giving up on those Karate lessons when I was younger… </p><P>So, should you get this movie? I would say, yes, if you can last it out. The most obvious drawback of the two story premise is that there needs to be more time allocated to each to make the movie worthwhile. In doing so, Crying Fist is a whopping two and a quarter hours long, which may put people off. </p><P><B>Picture : 6</B></P><P>Like I said above, there is something of the Full Monty about Crying Fist and I would list the picture quality as one of them. The movie feels low rent with noise permeating the frame with abandon. But this is soft noise, not the pronounced grit you would find on, say, The Shield. This gives the picture a furry indistinct look almost reminiscent of the days of VHS (though obviously not nearly as bad). Contrasts, for example, can often seem over exposed with blooming ever present. Look at the scene where Yoo Sang-hwan is talking to his father on a communal garden step. Colours seem to be deliberately subdued, an underground car park in particular appearing altogether too beige to be natural. At least, they are until the boxing begins where the colours are all well presented and natural. Detail seems to sharpen up in these latter scenes too, where the lighting is more subtle. Sweat tears and blood, all, are rendered in heart breaking detail worthy of the wait.</p><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/images/CryingFist/CryingFistR3_1.jpg' ALT='CRYING FIST'></P><P><B>Sound : 7</B></P><P>As a character based piece, I expected little in the way of sound. I was right for those Bass freaks who pointlessly fast forward to the tank tapping scene in Nemo, or those who “chapter back” to the beginning of a THX trailer five times in a row. Those weaned on more subtle aural viscera are well catered for, however, with pleasing wrap around effects and clear even dialogue. As usual it is the centre channel that garners the most attention, and your satisfaction of Crying Fist sound will be largely determined by your centre speaker quality. This isn’t to say there are no special audible fancy effects, though. Look out for the mega-phone feedback half way through, or the noise of tyres squealing in an indoor car park.</p><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/images/CryingFist/CryingFistR3_2.jpg' ALT='CRYING FIST'></P><P><B>Extras : </B></P><P>This Crying Fist pack is a wonderful thing to behold. A canvas effect box that feels like those old books you sometimes see in libraries or “ye olde” pubs listed in the Good Beer Guide. A very well made book accompanies the two disc set which has an arty flair and looks wonderful. The set even smells nice, for goodness sake! It is a shame, then, that none of the extras appear to have English subtitles as I get the feeling that there is a lot to admire, here. Shame I can’t. Still, there will be folk out there who can, so please post a reply telling us all what the content is like?</p><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/images/CryingFist/CryingFistR3_3.jpg' ALT='CRYING FIST'></P><P><B>Trivia</B><br><P>For user information we use Bitrate 1.4 to scan the disk for the video bitrate, which also calculates the average bitrate. Below is a graph illustrating the bitrate of the disk, including the average bitrate reading. This disk averaged at 7.3 Mbps.</p></P><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/images/CryingFist/CryingFistR3_BR.jpg' ALT='CRYING FIST'></P><P><B>Verdict : 8</B></P><P>A wonderful movie that, despite its flaws still works very well. If there isn’t a lump in your throat, if not an actual tear on your cheek, by the end, then you have a heart of granite. Buy it, you won’t be disappointed.</p><div ALIGN='CENTER'>Review Disc Supplied by <a href="http://global.yesasia.com/assocred.asp?W7QIPXOV+/en/prdTransfer.aspx/pid-1004007603" target=”_blank”><img src="http://www.wvip.co.uk/images/dvd/SuppliersLogos/YesAsia.jpg" Align="absmiddle"></a><br>Please support us by using our review sponsors.</div><TABLE border='0' CELLPADDING='0' CELLSPACING='2' WIDTH='100%'><TR><TD COLSPAN='2'><B>CRYING FIST (2005)</B></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Genre</TD><TD><A HREF='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/dvdreviews.php?include=exact&searchfield=genre&search_for=DRAMA' target='_blank'>DRAMA</A></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Director</TD><TD><A HREF='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=director&search_for=SEUNG-WAN RYOO' target='_blank'>SEUNG-WAN RYOO</A></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Stars</TD><TD><A HREF='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=stars&search_for=MIN-SIK CHOI' target='_blank'>MIN-SIK CHOI</A>, <A HREF='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=stars&search_for=SEUNG-BEOM RYU' target='_blank'>SEUNG-BEOM RYU</A>, <A HREF='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=stars&search_for=HO-JIN JEON' target='_blank'>HO-JIN JEON</A>, <A HREF='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=stars&search_for=WON-HIE LIM' target='_blank'>WON-HIE LIM</A></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65'><B>Region</B></TD><TD><B>3</B> <FONT>(KOREA)</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Supplier</TD><TD><FONT>Show East. Released Saturday 16th July 2005</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Discs</TD><TD><FONT>2</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Format</TD><TD><FONT>DVD9</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Time</TD><TD><FONT>134 mins.</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Chapters</TD><TD><FONT>15</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Picture</TD><TD>Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1&nbsp;</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Sound</TD><TD>Korean Dolby Digital 5.1<BR>Korean <IMG SRC='http://www.totaldvd.net/images/dts.gif' ALIGN='ABSMIDDLE' border='0' ALT='DTS Soundtrack'> 5.1</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Subtitles</TD><TD>English, Korean</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Case</TD><TD>Boxset</TD></TR></TABLE><P STYLE='text-align: center'>If you would like to comment on this review, please reply below.</P>
     
  2. ButtonUPS

    ButtonUPS
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