Sunday, July 04, 2004

My Tutor Friend 

My friend Dandan gave me several asian movies (and the GTO live-action drama) to check out. The first movie I watched was the Korean film My Tutor Friend (Donggabnaegi gwawoehagi), and frankly I love it. :) I just looked on IMDB and a bunch of people weren't into it, but it really clicked for me.

It involves Si-wan, a 21-year-old college student who is making ends meet by making deliveries for her Mom's fried chicken shop and doing tutoring for high-schoolers. She's spunky really getting fed up with trying to deal with tutoring various misfits. He last attempt ends up being Ji-hoon..

He is also 21, but has been held back 3 years, so is still in high-school. His family is rich and he's pretty spoiled, and has been through dozens of tutors already. But his father is determined for his son not to be a failure. Despite his trouble at school, Ji-hoon is an amazing fighter (and played Sang-woo Kwon from Volcano High) and is always ending up in fights.

Thus starts off this very fun romance/fighting/comedy movie. I like the two main characters and how their personalities clash (in ways both funny and more biting than you might expect at times). The fights are well-choreographed and much more down to earth than the wire-work energy battles of Volcano High. They were also nicely spread out (not one every five mins). The way the finale ends is one also one of the greatest things I've seen. :) I thought the romance aspects were well done and while it hits some familiar marks, I liked the chemistry and how some developments defy or subvert cliches. Despite all the craziness going on, their relationship felt more real to me than some other more sappy movies I've seen...

I saw one person that said they felt like it was a mish-mash of different toned vignettes, but personally the switching between action, humor, and romance worked for me and kept you off-balance just enough to keep things interesting. Of course I also have somewhat eclectic tastes and I like movies where different themes mesh together in odd ways (like Happiness of the Katakuris).

I enjoyed Volcano High more than some others have (I think some people take it more seriously than it was intended), but still I remember a bunch of instances where humor was going over my head... and frankly, there isn't much to it as far as plot goes. It is just big fights with crazy colorful characters. In the end, I liked My Tutor Friend a lot more because of the real character moments, and the humor hit me full-force. I was laughing out loud in a bunch of places.

This was a Korean DVD, and had chinese and english subs. English subs were pretty well done, actually. A couple of instances of bad usage, but pretty minor and not enough to be distracting. Highly recommended.. thanks Dandan. :)

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