Spirit of Jeet Kune Do: Once Upon a Time in High School (Maljukgeori janhoksa) (2003)
It's 1978 and Hyun-soo (Kwon Sang-woo of My Tutor Friend), a quiet boy who idolizes Bruce Lee has just transferred to a new high school. At the very moment of his arrival, Hyun-soo learns what the school's military discipline is all about when he's beaten with a bat for violating the dress code. In class, he meets Hamburger (Park Hyo-jun), a slovenly fat kid who makes extra money selling pornography to his fellow students. Hamburger warns him about Stabber (Kim Won-kwon), a bully, so named because of his tendency to stab fellow students in the head with his pen. When the athletic Hyun-soo shows his skill on the basketball court, he's taken under the wing of BMOC Woo-sik (Lee Jung-jin). Woo-sik is charming and persuasive, but he's always ready to solve things with his fists if necessary, while Hyun-soo admits that he's never punched anyone. The two young men are fast friends until they run into the lovely Eun-ju (Han Ga-in) on the bus home one day. Hyun-soo is immediately smitten, and when she's accosted by some rude soldiers, he defends her. The soldiers chase the kids off the bus and Woo-sik fights to protect them. Hyun-soo pines for Eun-ju, but Woo-sik is bolder and gets the girl. The friendship disintegrates, and Woo-sik's conflict with Jong-hoon (Lee Jong-hyuk), the officious student patrol captain, eventually comes to a violent head forcing Hyun-soo to take action. The Spirit of Jeet Kune Do: Once Upon a Time in High School was written and directed by Yoo Ha (Marriage Is a Crazy Thing) and was shown at the 2004 New York Korean Film Festival ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Spirit of Jeet Kune Do: Once Upon a Time in High School (Maljukgeori janhoksa)
Audience Reviews for Spirit of Jeet Kune Do: Once Upon a Time in High School (Maljukgeori janhoksa)
An overlooked gem which manages to be impressive without falling into trite sentimentalism and I actually loved the incidents near the ending & the ending itself, Imo they were pretty realistic & that's the main reason I'm giving this such a high ratingMore
A honest and well told coming-of-age story, with beliavable written characters and situations. No cheap sentimental bullshit or any other stuff like that. Even when the movie takes some huge risks in the final act it keeps itself very well grounded. Some predictable plot devices never feel forced either thanks to the solid script. Sad that this one went under the radar of many. Love doesn't "conquer all", sometimes it just screws you, but it can also help you mature in ways you wouldn't expect.
Note: This is NOT a martial arts movie, it's part of the theme of the film, but it's not a movie of that genre.
Despite the title and posters/DVD covers advertising this to the contrary, it certainly isn't a martial arts movie. This is more Stand By Me than Bruce Lee. It's a coming of age drama about friendship, honour, respect and just trying to save face in an inner city school. It's wonderfully filmed with a sense of gentle honesty you find in coming of age dramas. When martial arts does appear it seems real, being scruffier than the perfectly choreographed dances Jackie Chan performs.More
A quiet Bruce Lee aficionado trying to survive high school without making a fuss. But when he's fed up with the entire malfunctioned educational system and school bullies, He turned out becoming the high school legend by becoming his hero and shocked the entire school.More
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