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One Armed Boxer

High Grade Player (1997) - Korean Action with Won Jin

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After featuring in numerous Korean productions before landing his most memorable role as Sunny the Scorpion in the 1992 HK movie 'The Scorpion King / Operation Scorpio', super kicker Won Jin remained quiet for a long time after returning to his native Korea.  'High Grade Player' is worthy of a watch then, based purely on the fact that it has Won Jin once again in front of the camera in a significant role, as a mysterious one handed protector of a couple on the run from the Japanese, in a tale set during Japan's occupation of Korea.

 

Directed by a veteran of the Korean old-school kung-fu movie scene, Kim Chun-sik ('Lady Furious'), while the budget is clearly much lower than its HK counterparts, it's fantastic to see Won Jin in action, and he gets several chances to show off his trademark kicks.  While the story at first appears to be a fairly run of the mill tale of Japanese oppression, the finale delivers a solid twist, adding some worthy emotional weight to proceedings.

 

The last action scene has Won Jin let loose against a small army of attackers, however it's filmed using the love it or hate it step-printing technique (a favorite of Wong Kar Wai, and also used for the yakuza scene in the Jackie Chan movie 'Thunderbolt').  While it works within the scene itself, it's easy to argue that it would have looked much better filmed at normal speed, or in slow motion.  

 

Overall though, 'High Grade Player' is a worthy addition to Won Jin's filmography, made just a couple of year's before Korean cinema would break into the international market and never look back with 1999's 'Shiri'.

 

Special thanks @KUNG FU BOB for hooking me up with this one.

 

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Are you doing a more in depth review for COF?

Hey ShaOW!linDude, it's a worthy flick if you're a fan of Won Jin, but no, there won't be any additional review for COF.  As far as I'm aware the movie has never been English subtitled, so I watched it without.  While my understanding of Korean is good enough that I could get most of what was going on, I wouldn't write a whole review, based on the fact I'm sure there's some nuances in there that I missed.

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Glad you enjoyed it One Armed Boxer.

 

Yeah, my Korean language skills are a big fat zero, so it was frustrating that I couldn't see it with subtitles, but I still enjoyed the action. Won Jin is terrific. ShaOW!linDude I think you'd dig the action, be annoyed by the step-framing, and wish there was less dialogue (subbed or not). :tongueout

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