Scor­ing with the kids

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - Re­views by HARIATI AZ­IZAN en­ter­tain­ment@thes­

A Bare­foot Dream

Cast: Park Hie-soon and Fran­cisco Varela

Run­ning time: 121 min­utes ONCE a ris­ing soc­cer star, Kim Won-kang (Park) now finds him­self dodg­ing loan sharks.

He flees to the newly independent na­tion of East Ti­mor, where he thinks he has struck gold with his lat­est en­deav­our – a sports equip­ment store spe­cial­is­ing in foot­ball boots. He soon dis­cov­ers boots are the last thing that im­pov­er­ished lo­cal chil­dren need, even though they are their goods of de­sire.

So, to keep his busi­ness from fold­ing, Kim cooks up a mi­cro­fi­nanc­ing scheme – in which the chil­dren get to buy their dream boots by pay­ing off their debt in in­stal­ment at a dol­lar a day.

This, of course, sparks the anger of the lo­cals, es­pe­cially the res­i­dent “foot­ball coach”. He chal­lenges Kim to a foot­ball match, with each train­ing his own team of young foot­ballers.

Kim, how­ever, slowly comes to care for his young wards, and de­cides to sign them up for the Youth Soc­cer Tour­na­ment in Hiroshima, Ja­pan, in the hopes of im­prov­ing their mis­er­able lives. Hence, be­gins his own new lease on life as he strug­gles to raise the funds and back­ing he needs to reach their goal.

Based on the real life story of a former South Korean soc­cer player who coached the East Ti­morese chil­dren’s team to an in­ter­na­tional cham­pi­onship, A Bare­foot Dream is in­spir­ing but in­evitably sappy.

The up­side is that the film re­al­is­ti­cally de­picts the ugly, ig­no­rant for­eigner who does not only res­cue the hap­less lo­cals but also gets res­cued by them.

Still, de­spite its cloy­ing sac­cha­rine taste, you can­not help drink­ing in all the feel-good mo­ments. Rec­om­mended for cyn­ics. Petty Ro­mance

Cast: Lee Sun-kyun and choi Kang


Run­ning time: 117 min­utes UN­CON­VEN­TION­ALLY, this rom­com oozes with sex. Un­con­ven­tional for a South Korean main­stream movie that is – or maybe just from what I’ve watched, which are, more of­ten than not, chaste. (The independent films are a dif­fer­ent story though.)

But be­fore you call the moral po­lice on this, don’t sweat, it is all in the talk, not ac­tion.

Just like as­pir­ing writer Da-rim (Choi), who is hired by man­hwa (comic) il­lus­tra­tor Jeong Bae to col­lab­o­rate with him for an adult comic writ­ing com­pe­ti­tion. She claims to be a sex colum­nist but her car­nal knowl­edge is re­ally lim­ited to what she has gleaned from aca­demic the­ses and the Kama Su­tra.

Still, things get steamy as Da-rim tries to bluff her way through: “Was Harry Pot­ter writ­ten by a wiz­ard?” she chal­lenges her co-author. Be­fore long, the off­beat cou­ple falls for each other.

I’m a new fan of Choi (cur­rently star­ring in Pro­tect The Boss), so I find her ab­so­lutely lov­able as the geeky Da-rim. Her za­ni­ness cre­ates an in­ter­est­ing fod­der for her equally larky co-star Lee Sun-kyun, mak­ing them a de­light to watch to­gether. Spiced up by risqué an­i­mated-pop­ups – when they both talk shop for their hot comic Killer In­stinct – Petty Ro­mance is one fun frolic of a film. The Fugi­tive: Plan B

Cast: rain, Lee Na young, Lee Jeong Jin and daniel Hen­ney

Run­ning time: 20 episodes X 60

min­utes IF the United Na­tions ever needs a PSA for global com­mu­ni­ca­tion, The Fugi­tive: Plan B is per­fect.

First, it stars Rain, ar­guably Asia’s big­gest star. Sec­ond, the char­ac­ters un­der­stand one an­other no mat­ter what lan­guage they speak. And I thought multi-tongue com­mu­ni­ca­tion only hap­pened in the Galac­tic Se­nate of Star Wars – in this K-uni­verse, A speaks in lan­guage A to B, and B an­swers in lan­guage B. But no com­mu­ni­ca­tion break­down what so ever! If that is not dis­ori­ent­ing enough, the mind-numb­ing ac­tion and histri­onic spy-ca­per plot will leave you co­matose.

And this is sup­posed to be Rain’s come­back hit to South Korean drama!

For what it’s worth, Rain is ide­ally cast as an in­ter­na­tional PI who is hired by a mys­te­ri­ous wo­man, Jin Yi (Lee Na Young), to find some­one called Melchidec. What he doesn’t know is that Jin Yi has a bloody past – her fam­ily was mur­dered – and she is on the hit list too. They soon get caught in a dan­ger­ous web.

This synopsis is only the abridged ver­sion though; the se­ries lays on the sub­plots like an ugly Malaysian at a buf­fet to give you in­stant in­di­ges­tion.

Luck­ily, Rain rises above the goo. Plan B will keep you con­tent while Rain is away for mil­i­tary ser­vice in the next two years, but if you ask me, it’s bet­ter to watch his Full House again. The se­ries is air­ing on 8TV. n The DVDS are dis­trib­uted by PMP En­ter­tain­ment and the shows are in Korean/man­darin with sub­ti­tles in English, Malay and Chi­nese.

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