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Crying Fist Review

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A former boxing silver medallist and ex-con face each other in a final bout for redemption, respect and family honour.

★★★★★

Crying Fist’s neat twist on the underdog boxing movie is to present us with a choice of two mangy mutts for whom to cheer — punching from opposite ends of the same spectrum of violence are Gang (Choi Min-sik) and Yoo (Ryoo Seung-bum), whose final confrontation is inevitable, though not entirely predictable.

The film’s approach to the brutality is unflinching and a heavy sense of social criticism is evident, but both are diluted by sentimentality. Choi Min-sik’s shattering performance in OldBoy was far from a one-hit wonder if this is any measure of his mettle; but even his outstanding turn can’t quite sustain the two-hour running time, as clichés slowly replace an interesting set-up. Fight lovers will lap up the blistering ring-side action, but it never quite goes the extra distance.

Min-sik Choi is mesmerising from round one, but sentiment clouds what could have been a far darker, more interesting story.