AsianMovieWeb logo
Original Title:
Shinlaui dalbam

South Korea 2001

Comedy, Drama

Kim Sang-Jin

Cha Seung-won
Lee Sung-jae
Kim Hye-su
Lee Jong-su
Lee Han-garl

Search AsianMovieWeb

Kick the Moon

Story: Gi-dong (Cha Seung-won) is the leader of the Gangsan school gang in the 80s. Because of some incidents a brawl between the students of Gangsan High, lead by Gi-dong, and another school takes place. This fight becomes a legend even told by future generations. Only outsider Young-Joon (Lee Sung-jae) didn't participate in the fight. However, this special night was supposed to change his and Gi-dong's life forever.
Nearly two decades later Gi-dong has become a strict teacher, who takes care of his students even outside of school. His methods might be harsh, but he only wants that his students start to learn.
Meanwhile quite Young-joon has become the right hand of a well-known mafia boss. By order of his boss Young-joon returns to his home town and tries to widen his influence by buying the real estate of a barkeeper. Yet, for some reason the barkeeper is quite stubborn, so that Young-joon has to come up with a new plan.
When he arrives Young-joon runs into Gi-dong by chance. The two talk about old times and somewhere along the way they become something like friends. When they meet Min Ju-ran (Kim Hye-su), the older sister of one of Gi-dongs students, who owns a restaurant, both of them start to show interest for Ju-ran. A war between the two breaks loose.
Apart from that both of them have other problems, for example a detective who wants to pin down Young-joon or the brother of Ju-ran who desperately wants to join Young-joon's gang. Can the two rebuild their friendship and solve their problems together?

Review: "Kick the Moon" is director Kim Sang-jin's long-awaited sequel to "Attack the Gas Station". Storywise the two movies have nothing in common and totally stand on their own. However, there are certain parallels that can't be denied. The premise can be summarized in a few sentences, yet with time things start to get more complicated and the characters are caught in a growing net of entanglements. Furthermore, we see some familiar faces from "Attack the Gas Station" again, first of all Lee Sung-jae, of course. And there are lots and lots of brawls again...
Can "Kick the Moon" reach the quality level of "Attack the Gas Station"? No, not really, because latter one just had a more wacky scenario to offer. It doesn't get any more absurd than letting a movie take place in gas station for only one night. "Kick the Moon" delivers a story that needs a greater period of time and this time it also takes place in a whole town. However, the characters are better elaborated this time.

As already said, the story isn't anything new and if you wanted to abstract things you could say that you get a love-triangle wrapped up in a gangster comedy. However, you would wrong the movie by doing so. Kim's work is exciting, because it gets more complex every minute. There are more and more persons popping up, who all have their own motivations and eventually are resonsible that everyone ends up in the most odd situations. Contrary to "Attack the Gas Station" "Kick the Moon" manages easily to concentrate on a few persons and their stories. We learn something about Gi-Dong's inner life as well as we learn about Young-joon's true objectives. Ju-ran's feelings also don't fall too short and the film even manages to add several side characters to the cast of which some can be really amusing and three-dimensional. For example, there is the barkeeper who for whatever reasons refuses to give up his little gangster organisation and even picks a fight with high-ranking triad members. This leads for him to have numerous sharp objects being held at his throat most of the time, which eventually becomes a running gag.
Also very charming is the potrayel of the old aged detective, who always introduces himself by throwing his wallet in front of people so that they can see his badge. Moreover, Ju-ran's brother Jin-seob, who is a reflection of Gi-dong's former self or Gi-dong's friend, a snack stand owner, who once was the leader of a rivaling school gang, are portrayed very credibly.

It's the quantity of persons and their interaction among each other that make "Kick the Moon" almost outstanding. Even though it's all haywire every now and then the viewer can always keep track of the events. And it's this chaos which makes the film's humour so special. Most gags are situational comedy and thanks to the wacky characters there are always odd moments to be found in this movie.
Furthermore, there are some fine action scenes. The fighting secquences do not stand out because of some extraordinary choreography, but instead look more like brawls. Nonetheless, they are captured very well and with intensity. Of course, Kim Sang-jin did put a few free-for-all brawls in his movie again, which infuses the film with an epic-ridiculous style.
A love story shouldn't be missing in a flick like this - might have been the idea of the producers , but luckily even though the relationship between Gi-dong, Ju-ran and Young-joon is always the center of events, the love story never gets lost in clichés, but instead is told with a wink.
Nonetheless, the film also has its more serious moments and can even be convincing in these scenes.

Concerning the directing there is nothing great to talk about. There are a few panorama-shots in order to get all parties of a free-for-all brawl into the picture, but apart from that "Kick the Moon" is just solidly produced. Director Kim, however, manages with seemingly no great effort to capture the oddest scenes with a steady hand.
The three main protagonists have been casted well. Lee Sung-jae convinces as the quite gangster boss, who makes use of his position to help others and he instantly wins our sympathy. Gi-dong at first seems a little bit irascible, yet as time goes by his character grows and he can also play himself into our heart. Kim Hye-su plays the woman who likes to deal some blows and in the end it's not only her brother that we feel pity for.

"Kick the Moon" has its lengths and retrospectively is a little bit confusing narrational-wise, yet thanks to well drawn characters it surely is a fun ride. The movie doesn't live up to the quality of a "Attack the Gas Station", nevertheless, proves to be a worthy "sequel", even though comparing these two movies might be unfair. Fans of gangster comedies and movies, that stand out because of wacky situational comedy shouldn't hesitate and check out this one.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
Buy this movie:

Yesasia Logo