The term ‘fighting over a girl’ has never been more appropriate, let alone more literal, than in Kim Sang-jin’s (Attack The Gas Station) quirky Korean comedy Kick The Moon. Gi-dong (Cha Seung-won) and Young-joon (Lee Sung-jae) went to the same school together. Gi-dong was the tough, cool-as-a-cucumber gang leader at Gangsan High. Young-joon was, to put it bluntly, the type of vegetable used to make a dinner plate look colourful - tasteless, unwanted, and pushed to the side when nobody's looking. He did get good grades in class however (not many vegetables achieve that), and there’s probably a joke about root vegetables simmering gently somewhere, but we’ll avoid mathematical grocery puns for now.
The kids are all grown up and how things have changed. Gi-dong is now a well-respected teacher and Young-joon is well respected too, but that's only because he’ll carve you up into small pieces if you don’t play nice. Let's not forget that this is a story about a girl (aren’t they all?), and Ju-ran spends most of her time serving noodles. The rest of her day is devoted to bailing out brother Ju-sup from the local police station.
Like his hero, he too wants to be a gangster, and as a result he spends most of the movie trying to improve his grades (Young-joon doesn’t like thick people) while getting into fights. You’ve probably realised by now that there’s more than a little brawling to be found here, but don’t worry if that’s not your thing, there are lashings of comedy, dashes of danger and a good helping of romance to keep the most jaded of film fans punching the air in delight. Figuratively speaking of course, I don’t actually know anybody who does that.
Kick The Moon is a gem of a movie, a near faultless companion piece to Attack The Gas Station and a neat little actioner to boot. Kim Sang-jin’s follow up might be billed as a comedy drama but there’s a lot more to it than that - the relentless action for starters. Not your typical-over stylised-household variety either, this is street fighting by any other name. It all looks a bit rubbish actually, but then, most real fights are a disappointment anyway. Lets face it, how many times have you seen Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris at your local bar on a Friday night? The fighting is realistic, well staged and never threatens to derail the movie; a film that impresses from every angle.
Kim Hye-su is incredibly likeable as love-interest Ju-ran; a feisty femme-fatale who commands the screen whenever she’s on it. The two male leads are perfectly agreeable too, shifting from charmless to charming with the flick of a wrist and a well-timed character flaw. You’ll probably find yourself switching allegiance as the film progresses, a clear sign of good writing and balanced performances. The supporting players are afforded plenty of screen time, and it’s largely to the benefit of the film. They may not serve the script in a discernible fashion but they sure are entertaining, and that’s just fine by me.
Kick The Moon is a simple tale. An over familiar one, but that’s hardly a criticism. A film that mixes gangster themes, brawling, romance, friendship and comedy as well as this deserves the highest of praise, so if you only get one of your 'five a day' this evening, make it Kick The Moon. AW