Released in the summer of 2005, “The Aggressives” is all about youth, skating, and a sprinkle of love, all the while showing one of Korea’s pastimes. It reminds its viewers of lazy summers and a head full of dreams. The film revolves around a high school boy named So-yo, who aspires to be a great skater and somehow finds himself spending his summer with a group of people who are extremely talented at skating. As he hangs out with them almost every moment of every day, he falls in love with the group leader’s girlfriend, Han-ju. Everything seems perfect within his new lifestyle, until the rest of the world seeps in.
The two main characters So-yo and Moggy (the skating group’s leader) were the most standout in the film, who were played by Chun Jung-myung (Cinderella’s Sister) and Kim Kang-woo (Story of a Man) respectively. Since the film’s end, both have increased their status in the Korean film industry, which I’m sure is to no surprise to anyone, seeing as they’re both great actors. It is hard to imagine the film without them, because they became the characters that they played. You don’t see them for who they are now, rather for who they were emoting. For instance, if I were to meet either actor I would half expect them to act as they did in the movie. The other actors, such as Jo Yi-jin (Han-ju), weren’t so stellar. They were good, but any numbers of actors could have easily taken their place.
The story could have been better and the movie did not go far beyond a summer flick. There was a large amount of time spent on setting up the world: shots of skating took up about half of the movie. This wasn’t bad but it was occasionally similar to watching a really long YouTube video of young adults doing crazy stunts. And with this, the movie isn’t for everyone. The storyline requires the viewer to have some appreciation for skating, otherwise whatever happens plot-wise turns to moot.
What really bugged me was the lack of depth. I didn’t know much about any of these characters other the morsels that I was given. I was fine with it, but at times I saw the pack of skaters as nothing more than bums. It just needed a little something for me to hold on to. All in all, the plot was cohesive; it just didn’t stand out in the spectrum of summertime movies.
Here’s where things get tricky. The movie did move me, but I had to dig for it. I did so by turning skating into the something I was passionate about, in order to get the full effect. Once this was done I was able to reminisce about summers past, in which I did nothing but explore my passion: nights that went into the day, and food for when I just had to eat. Nowadays things are hectic and it is hard to find time, but after watching this movie it was like their energy was able to reach me. It reminds you that things can be fun, and every now and then we should just live a little.
Two things about this film caught my eye and made me want to watch it. The first was the return of director/writer, Jeong Jae-eun. She is most known for her first full length movie, “Take Care of My Cat.” Since I enjoyed it, I was excited to learn that she was responsible for this film too. Many of her habits, and attention to detail shined through. Although I did not enjoy her writing as much as I did before, she was good at making things real and enjoyable. Just like her previous work, she only used music when it was necessary and it always fit the mood. This takes me to the trailer. It pushed me over the edge. The music that went with it (There She Goes – Izi) captured the fun, easygoing spirit of the film. I was immediately excited.
Despite mentioning that there were too many skating scenes, I enjoyed them, but only in a visual/artsy way. I haven’t skated in years, but I am tempted to go out and buy some, just to feel badass. They also were useful in showing a different aspect of Korean society, beyond its typical pastimes. These scenes most likely required numerous edits and physical expectations towards the actors, even when performing minor stunts.
So to sum things up, don’t start watching this movie in hopes to find some deeper psychological meaning. Just think of it as a feel good movie that brings back youth while reminding you that not every day is about working. Also, be warned. This movie is not for everyone. If skating is not your thing, know that there is at least on shirtless scene with Choi Jung-Myung and Kim Kang-Woo.