Mixture of comedy, drama and whimsy loses its focus in too many character subplots.

Teaming again with actress Ha Ji-weon, with whom he made the “American Pie”-like “Sex Is Zero” (2002), helmer Yoon Je-kyoon delivers the less miraculous “Miracle on 1st Street,” in which a young boxer stands up against hired gangsters. Ha delivers as the distaff pugilist, but the mixture of comedy, drama and whimsy loses its focus in too many character subplots, positioning pic only for Asiaphile events.

Devoted daughter of a onetime champ (ace action choreographer Jeong Du-hong), now a vegetable in a wheelchair, Son Myeong-ran (Ha) becomes a thorn in the side of klutzy gangster Jo Pil-je (Im Chang-jeong), hired by a realtor to clear a hillside barrio of its residents. Gradually, however, Jo starts to side with the feisty villagers. Subplots featuring two kids (Park Chang-ik, Park Yu-seon) and a wannabe businesswoman (Gang Ye-weon) cloud the main focus, which should be on Son’s prep, with her crusty trainer (Ju Hyeon, good), for a fight vs. an Asian female champ. Still, Ha throws herself into the convincing boxing scenes, proving again she has the makings of a real action heroine.

Miracle on 1st Street

South Korea

Production

A CJ Entertainment release and presentation of a Doosaboo Film production. (International sales: CJ, Seoul.) Produced by Yu Je-gyu, Heo Tae-gu. Executive producer, Kim Ju-saeng. Directed by Yoon Je-kyoon. Screenplay, Yu Seong-hyeop.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Kim Yeong-cheol; editor, Shin Min-kang; music, Lee Byeong-woo; art director, Jeong Eun-yeong. Reviewed at Shanghai Film Festival (Panorama), June 17, 2007. Original title: 1-beongaeui gijeok. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Im Chang-jeong, Ha Ji-weon, Ju Hyeon, Jeong Du-hong, Lee Hun, Gang Ye-weon, Kim Ae-weon, Park Chang-ik, Park Yu-seon.
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