Sunday, February 15, 2009

Champion (2002)

I just saw this movie today for the first time. The movie is intended for a Korean audience but with subtitles it comes across fairly well, though I do think a few things are lost in the translation.

The movie follows the life of Duk Koo Kim (Kim Deuk-Gu) and the events leading up to his fight with and his death at the hands of Lightweght Champion Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini. I don't know if this movie is typical of the quality of movies being produced in Korea but it was a better movie than I had anticipated.

The movie gives an insight into the minds of Korean boxers and training, as well as a peek at Korean culture. It gives a fairly honest view of Kim's life, warts and all, including his relationship with his coach, his fiancee and his team mates.

This movie is poignant reminder that despite the gloves and rules that are designed to protect a boxer. The threat of death is always hovering over a boxing match. The fight between Mancini and Kim was directly responsible for championship rounds being changed from 15 rounds to 12 rounds.

The movie is directed by Kwak Kyong -Taek and stars Yu Oh Seong as Kim. Worth a watch, even if you're not a boxing fan.

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