Seong-hwan (played by Song Seung-heon), Woo-sup (played by kwon Sang-woo), and Jin-won (played by Kim Young-joon) are three high school students with a dream in life- they're gonna be huge! All-powerful! Rich! Sexy! And bros forever! How they actually intend to accomplish these goals when the boys are dumb and immature is not really explained. Then, as luck would have it, fortune rains upon them from above, so the boys quickly try to figure out how to cash their winnings.
"Make It Big" is not really about anything. The lead characters bumble around in a very clueless sexy fashion until the climax, when a big dude shows up and starts to treat the situation seriously. Detective Ji-hyung (played by Lee Beom-soo) does his best to work in some jokes in a side plot, although really, the fact that it takes so long for Ji-hyung to even have a conversation with any of the actual lead characters is a pretty good clue of how generally irrelevant his character is.
But then again everything about "Make It Big" is irrelevant and irreverent. Which is appropriate, because the lead characters are such dopes they actually manage to lose track of the plot device at one point, and frequently only barely manage to escape capture by dumb luck. Well, dumb luck and a dash of unfounded paranoia that ends up being useful/detrimental due to factors beyond the trio's control. Really, they're about as competent as you'd expect randomly selected high school students to be.
"Make It Big" is allegedly a comedy and admittedly I did laugh every so often- less because of the actual jokes and more the sheer goofy earnestness the whole cast takes to the endeavor. A scene filled with unnecessary pantyhose comes to mind as just being really stupid- yet when the characters are obviously stupid enough, I can forgive fairly stupid behavior. Even a dumb joke regarding every (Korean)'s favorite Patrick Swayze movie barely manages to survive serious scrutiny for this silliness factor.
Personally, though, what I really loved about "Make It Big" was the soundtrack. Just listening to it is kind of an instructive on Korean rock music, because you have these wicked cool songs playing right alongside American standards that really makes you think, oh, so that's where they got their ideas. I have to admit- I like Korean rock a lot more now that I can see the obvious influences from Queen.
But anyway, how does "Make It Big" fare as narrative film? Well it's...all right I guess? The editing is kind of random- like there were way more scenes filmed than the ones that made it into the final cut, and upon these scenes a story was sort of awkwardly tossed in. It's goofy but like the rest of the movie's design, it's goofy that makes sense with the way the characters are portrayed. The cast manages to sell the story with clumsy, immature charm- such that "Make It Big" feels more cute than it does a genuine embarassment.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Film Review] "Make It Big" + DVD Giveaway"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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