Movie Monday -Champion (2002)

Starring: Yoo Oh Sung as Kim Deuk Gu, Chae Min Seo as Lee Kyeong Mi, Jung Doo Hong as Lee Sang Bok, Yun Seung-Won as Kim Hyeon-ji, Byeong-seo Kim as Park Jong-pal and Ji Dae-Han as Hwang Jun-seok

Rating: PG-13, subject matter and some violence

Running Time: 108 min

Twinkies: 4 stars

Synopsis: Kim Deuk-gu (Yu Oh-Seong), who was born into a poor family, struggles to survive on the streets of Seoul after leaving home without a coin. In the midst of his struggles, a boxing match poster that he glimpses by chance leads him down the path of professional boxing. After numerous trials and tribulations, Kim wins the Asia-Pacific Championship and enjoys the best moment of his life. Meanwhile, the world boxing champion, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini picks him as the opponent for his second match, and Deuk-gu goes to Las Vegas, leaving a promise to make his fiancee the wife of a world champion. On November 14th 1982, Kim finally enters the ring to go against Mancini, and his physical prowess and steely determination surprises everyone, including his opponent Mancini. But in the 14th round, KIM collapses and goes into a coma.

Musings: Boxing is a cruel sport; this is my opinion. Of all of the sports, these is my least watched and definitely not on my favorite list. The one reason I watched this movie because it was a gift from our fearless leader, Snoopy, to me a couple of years ago. So, I wanted to let her know that I did finally watch it and I must say, though it is a sad ending, the most important thing is this is based on a true story which represented the life (and death) of a man for his love, boxing.

Kim Deuk-gu was a world class boxer. After compiling a 29–4 amateur record, he turned professional in 1978. His final record was 20 fights/17 wins/2 losses. As you know, his final loss was also his final fight that led to his death in Las Vegas. The movie chronicles his entrance into boxing, his engagement to his girlfriend and his journey to Las Vegas for what was a chance of a lifetime.

Yu Oh-Seong was awesome as Kim. You could tell that he worked hard to reflect the life of this boxer through his acting and the physical scenes in this movie. The movie was a testament to this man’s life. It wasn’t to disparage the sport of boxing, we all know it is a brutal sport. But it wanted to show you how much this man loved the sport. A love so much that he really did give up his life to his craft.

From Wikipedia, we learned that Ray Mancini blamed himself for Kim’s death. His friends kept assuring him that it was just an accident but Mancini remained haunted by Kim’s death. His promoter, Bob Arum, said Mancini “was never the same” after Kim’s death. Kim left behind a fiancée, Lee Young-Mee, despite rules against South Korean boxers having girlfriends. She was pregnant with their son, Kim Chi-Wan, who was born in July 1983 and became a dentist. In 2011, mother and son met with Ray Mancini as part of a documentary on the life of Mancini called The Good Son.

Trailer is available on on YouTube Website only. The movie is available on various streaming websites.

As I do every February, it is the month of romance movies. While I rarely watch them, I somehow find one or two throughout the year to talk about. One thing will be different this year; at least one (or two) will not be Korean.

I’m available on Twitter. Thanks to all of you Twinkles out here who are taking the time to read! If you have a suggestion for a future review, just leave me a comment! I’m always happy to have movie suggestions.

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