Fri, Aug 27, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Even a sassy girl can't make much of this concoction of sweetness and tragedy

STAFF WRITER

PHOTO COURTESY OF STAR BOULEVARD

Nae Yojachingu-rul Sogaehapnida or Windstruck seems to have all the ingredients for a commercial hit. Funded by a Hong Kong company and produced by Bill Kong, who also worked on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the film brings together two-thirds of the team behind the popular romantic comedy Yopkijogin Kunyo (My Sassy Girl) -- including Jeon Ji-hyeon, actress and star of a multitude of television commercials, and director Kwak Jae-yong.

But alas, try as he might, Kwak is unable to make lightning strike twice. Little more than a series of music videos and commercials strung together on a paper-thin plot, the film disappoints on nearly every level and ends up a confusing wreck, The Korean Times critic said.

The romantic leads of Windstruck -- Ky Ong-jin (Jun), a cute but tough policewoman, and My Ong-woo (Jang Hyuk), a shy but lovable high school teacher -- are reminiscent of Sassy Girl's famous pair, except a bit older and out of college. They meet in a typically oddball fashion, with My Ong-woo trying to chase down a purse-snatcher only to get mistaken for the criminal and get chased down himself by Ky Ong-jin.

Sometime later, after a night of being handcuffed to each other and getting stuck in the middle of a drug cartel shootout, the two, of course, begin dating. Some of the more humorous parts of the film come out of the odd couple's romantic misadventures, such as My Ong-woo talking sweetly on the cellphone with her boyfriend during the middle of a dangerous chase, or Ky Ong-jin getting himself in hilarious binds while frantically trying to play the knight in shining armor.

However, their romance is also the source of the film's more unsuccessful moments. With loud rock music blaring dramatically in the background, the lovebirds are shown having a blast taking random trips to the country or running around in the rain while carrying cocktail umbrellas. These scenes play out like Jun's television commercials for cameras, shampoos, yogurts and the like, with, unfortunately, as much depth and reason. (Not surprisingly, many of the products endorsed by Jun make casual appearances throughout the film.)

Kwak places too much of Windstruck on Jun's shoulders, expecting her huge popularity to somehow carry the film through. Things gets worse when the film later turns towards the tragic; the young actress is asked to show a range of emotions while being given few, if any, lines to work with. Credit goes to her and Jang for doing their best to try to make the romance work, but even Sassy Girl can't make light out of this mess.

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