Korean DVD review: PUNCH
Based on Kim Yeo-ryung’s popular novel of the same name, “Punch” is a coming-of-age story which follows a rebellious adolescent as he navigates through life’s challenges to manhood.
Doh Wan-deuk (Yoo Ah-in) is a poor high school student whose parents have left him to fend for himself. His mother abandoned him in infancy. His father suffers from an illness that has turned him into a hunchback. After his cabaret business is shuttered, he and his brother are forced to travel afar to seek income far from home.
Wan-deuk’s guardian during his father’s travels is his neighbor and quirky homeroom teacher, Lee Dong-joo (Kim Yoon-seok). Facing constant belittlement, Wan-deuk prays for Dong-joo’s demise.
On top of life’s stresses, Wan-deuk’s turbulent personality pushes him into even more trouble. After he attacks a neighbor who insults him, Dong-joo vouches for him and is quick to offer a defense to the authorities.
Dong-joo convinces Wan-deuk’s father that kickboxing is a practical channel for the boy’s aggression and excuses him from homeroom to train.
As Wan-deuk encounters more problems than he can handle, Dong-joo encourages and persuades him towards a better life. Dong-joo seeks reunion between Wan-deuk and his estranged mother, pushing reunification and forgiveness.
One of the top-three grossing Korean films of 2011, “Punch” offers a script that is simply enjoyable, and the acting and moments of humor ease the tension and keep viewers engaged.
Although the movie lacks any dynamic developments, action sequences or passionate love tales, the narrative of characters making the best of a bad situation is presented in grand fashion.