Review: ‘The Aggressives’

Helmer Jeong Jae-eun, whose "Take Care of My Cat" was a considerable hit of the 2002 fest season, does a 180-degree career swerve with "The Aggressives." This bright, jazzily directed pic centered on a bunch of inline skaters is indistinguishable from a host of other youth fare, Eastern or Western.

Helmer Jeong Jae-eun, whose impressive, Euro-flavored distaffer “Take Care of My Cat” was a considerable hit of the 2002 fest season and sold widely, does a 180-degree career swerve with “The Aggressives.” Clearly designed to reposition herself commercially after the spectacular local flop of “Cat” (35,000 admissions), this bright, jazzily directed pic centered on a bunch of inline skaters is indistinguishable from a host of other youth fare, Eastern or Western. Unfortunately, on release in early June, “Aggressives” also nosedived, with a paltry 50,000 admissions, leaving Jeong’s career at a crossroads.

Shy high-schooler So-yo (Cheon Jeong-myeong), left alone when his parents flee the country from gangsters, falls in with a cocky group of skaters led by Moggy (Kim Gang-woo). As they aim for the World Games, So-yo becomes equally obsessed with the sport and by Moggy’s leggy g.f., Han-ju (Jo-Yi-jin), who videos the skaters’ exploits. Outside of the flashily lensed skating scenes, pic adopts a quieter style for the relationship stories, though these are more superficial than in “Cat.” Pic also wears out its welcome in the final half-hour, with several false endings. Performances are fine on the level required.

The Aggressives

South Korea

Production

A ShowEast release and presentation, in association with i-venture, of a Filmania Co. production. (International sales: ShowEast, Seoul.) Produced by Ji Mi-hyang. Executive producer, Kim Dong-ju. Directed by Jeong Jae-eun. Screenplay, Jeong, Im Yeon-heui.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Kim Byeong-seo; editor, Shin Min-gyeong; music, Dalparan, Park Min-jun; production designer, Jang Ji-yeon; costumes, Choi Se-yeon. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 15, 2005. Running time: 105 MIN.

With

Kim Gang-woo, Cheon Jeong-myeong, Jo Yi-jin, Lee Cheon-heui, On Ju-wan.
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