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PUNCH

Jan 14, 2019
  • Writerby Pierce Conran
  • View709

2011107 MINDrama
DIRECTOR LEE Han
CAST YOO Ah-in, KIM Yun-seok, PARK Su-yeong, KIM Sang-ho, Jasmine BACURNAY-LEE
RELEASE DATE October 20, 2011
CONTACT CJ Entertainment
Tel : +82-2-371-5500
Fax : +82-2-371-6340

Released in the middle of Fall in 2011, the drama Punch was hardly expected to become one of the year’s top-selling films, but that’s exactly what happened when director LEE Han’s winning combination of heartfelt drama, humor and social themes sold 5.3 million tickets and became the third best-selling film of the year. The film cemented the star power of KIM Yun-seok and turned YOO Ah-in into leading man material.

17-year-old Do Wan-deuk (YOO Ah-in) lives in a shabby rooftop home with his father and uncle, who work as a dancing duo traveling around the country. Though good-natured, his temper often gets the better of him and his constant fighting gets him in trouble. He also lives next door to his homeroom teacher Dong-joo, who always badgers him in class and whenever he sees him around the neighborhood. One day Dong-joo tells Wan-deuk about his runaway mother, who was born in the Philippines and turns out to be very nearby.

Focusing on characters on the margins of society, here in a poor hillside neighborhood, where the characters often stand on rooftops with the vast swell of Seoul’s city lights behind them, Punch draws together several sympathetic characters each fighting their own battle and is one of the rare commercial works that has explored themes of multiculturalism in Korea.

Beyond its appealing themes, what made Punch work so well for audiences was the chemistry between KIM Yun-seok’s rough and wily teacher and sweet wayward youth played by YOO Ah-in. KIM was right in the middle of a formidable box office run that included The Chaser (2008) and The Thieves (2012), and brought an infectious blend of pathos, tough love and cheeky humor to his half of the duo, while YOO, who had already been on screens for close to a decade, really made his mark as a movie star playing the title character (the film’s Korean title is Wan-deuk-i), bringing energy, aggression and humanism to his role.

Punch is also notable for affording a major supporting role to the Filipina-born Jasmine BACURNAY LEE, who would become the first naturalized Korean to become a lawmaker in Korea when she was elected as a proportional representative in South Korea's National Assembly in 2012. The cast also includes character actor KIM Sang-ho, as the potty-mouthed neighbor who has memorable exchanges with KIM Yun-seok. The two would later pair up again in both Haemoo (2014) and Will You Be There? (2016).

Director LEE went on to make the well-regarded drama Thread of Lies (2014) and the Korean War drama A Melody to Remember (2016). His latest work, the legal drama Innocent Witness with JUNG Woo-sung and KIM Hyang-gi, is scheduled to hit screens this February.
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