Sunday, August 3, 2008

Small Town Rivals (Yijang-gwa gunsu / 이장과 군수 -2006)

Small Town Rivals
Seung-won Cha
Hae-jin Yu
Hie-bong Byeon
Jeong-won Choi
Won-ju Jeon
Eung-su Kim

“Small Town Rivals” is the latest offering from director Jang Gyoo Seung, who previously scored commercial hits with the likes of “Lovely Rivals” and “My Teacher, Mr. Kim”. He continues here in the same broad vein with a comedy about one of the most popular subjects in modern Korean cinema, namely small town life. The film proved to be yet another success for the in-form Jang, performing well at the box office and winning a nomination for Best Screenplay at the 44th Daejong Awards.

The film begins with small town farmer Cho Choon Sam (Cha Seung Won, who played the title role in Jang’s “My Teacher, Mr. Kim” and who recently featured in “My Son”) being made village chief, mainly since nobody else wants to do the job. However, the lazy man is spurred into action when a former classmate of his called Noh Dae Gyu (Yu Hae Jin, also in the excellent “Tazza: The High Rollers”) is elected local magistrate, stirring up old feelings of jealousy. Although things start in a friendly enough fashion the two soon run into trouble, with Choon Sam trying to make his mark by preventing Dae Gyu’s plans to build a nuclear waste disposal facility nearby. Needless to say, things spiral rapidly out of control, leading to a number of crazy and increasingly high stakes confrontations. -- Beyond Hollywood

LOL! This was a really cute movie at the beginning. I've never really known Cha Seung Won to be that hilarious. He was actually a riot. So his comedic talent is a given. So used to seeing him in parts as a tough guy, mob gang member, rejected member of society. Quite refreshing.

This movie started as a competition of two old school mates who are jealous of the other but then as the movie progressed, the whole movie turned and did a 180. It was still funny at times but really got serious and it started to lose it's appeal. And the story started to crack away to the point of not making much sense to me.

All of a sudden, two rivals came out to be two best friends from school. I didn't get that. I understand competition between friends but it seemed the movie had to add more past scenes to make the two of them believable as best friends. That's all fine and dandy but then that made the first part of the movie a lie...joke. They either hate each other and then become friends. Or they are friends who start to hate each other.

I won't say it wasn't funny. It was hilarious at times and quite unique in it's own way. I just like a story to keep on track instead of taking the next rail unless there is another train coming..............

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