Second film from my stint at Berlinale was the South Korean Punch from filmmaker Han Lee. Often film festivals attract dark, difficult films, so it was refreshing to see such a good-spirited, charming and, dare I say it, broad comedy.
Wan-deuk is a difficult adolescent living in the beaten-down slums of Seoul. Not wanting to continue in his father’s showman shoes, he finds an ally with his teacher Dong-joo who encourages the ‘street-rat’ to take up kick boxing. There’s a love interest too, and the complexities of rekindling a relationship with his distant Filipino mother. Blah, blah, blah, you know where that’s going.
Sure, there’s nothing new here. Even still, it’s a pleasant and funny bit of feel good Korean cinema.
THE GOOD: A solid central performance from the young Ah In Yoo. ‘Star in the making’ – etc.
THE BAD: A bit too sappy in places, even for me!