While waiting for new episodes of Doctor Stranger and You Are All Surrounded, I checked out this film from two years ago. I thought it was a boxing film due to the title and Yoo Ah-in has played a boxer in the movie Antique but it is not. It is a coming of age film and the focus was more on the relationship between a teacher and a student than the lead’s interest in kickboxing.
Wan-deuk (Yoo Ah-in) is a seventeen year old student who lives with his hunchback father and has never known his mother all his life. Lee Dong-ju (Kim Yoon-seok) is his teacher who lives next door and makes his life miserable. Without Wan-deuk realizing it, Dong-ju is helping him as he goes through the painful stage of growing up.
The movie gives that quiet feeling though there are some funny moments (e.g. when Wan-deuk bargains with God to kill Dong-ju and if it doesn’t happen soon, he’ll go to Buddha instead), tearful scenes (e.g. when mom asked if she could hug her son) and heart-warming ones (e.g. when Wan-deuk bought shoes for his mom). It tackled different issues such as father-son relationship, teacher-student relationship, disability, race, and poverty in a manner that is far from dramatic.
The characters are endearing. Wan-deuk’s quiet angst was effortlessly delivered by Yoo Ah-in. Kim Yoon-seok’s portrayal of Don-ju was charming.
Punch may have lacked that punch that it aimed to deliver but it’s a movie that will hit some soft spots and present some issues that many of us have not really given a sh*t about. Your 110 minutes will not be wasted on this one.