"If you are tired of the same old action, horror, romantic comedy, and melodrama movies, give Waikiki Brothers a shot."
Waikiki Brothers (2001)
Director: Im Sun-Rye (Yim Soon-Rye)
Producer: Lee Eun
Cast: Lee Eol (Lee Uhl), Park Won-Sang, Ryu Seung-Beom, Hwang Jung-Min, Oh Ji-Hye
Running Time: 140 mins.
Plot: WAIKIKI BROTHERS is a band going nowhere. After another depressing gig, the saxophone player quits, leaving the three remaining members, lead singer and guitarist Sung-woo, keyboardist Jung-suk, and drummer Kang-soo, to continue on the road.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
EQUINOX21'S REVIEW: Waikiki Brothers is a mildly depressing film about a band of the same name, with Sung-woo as the lead member. The band loses members for a number of reasons, one being that they bring in less and less money, and people simply can't afford to play music in clubs anymore. Another member leaves because of addiction to the ladies. The characters all keep running into each other, however, and Sung-woo keeps the band, whoever happens to be with the band at any particular moment, going and traveling to the next potential gig. He does it because he loves the music, even if things start getting really tough on the road. Along the way he picks up more members, like his old alcoholic guitar instructor. Even with the many side members of the band that come and go, the movie focuses on Sung-woo and his struggle just to keep his band and his music alive. Don't worry, though, there's an ultimately upbeat ending that shows that there's still some hope and that doing what you love is probably always going to be better than just doing something for money.
I enjoyed the movie, but didn't love it. I've read elsewhere that it gets better with repeated viewing, but as I saw it last year at a film festival and don't currently have access to it to view it again I can't comment on this. Though, I did like it enough that I would be more than willing to see it again. It was a bit slow paced, but that only helped the feel of the movie and of Sung-woo in his struggles. You really start to feel how bleak things are for him, instead of simply watching it. There don't seem to be any characters in the movie that seem to have everything going their way, and it seems to be a huge struggle for everyone simply to get by. There's a very one-step-forward-two-steps-back motif going on. This really adds to the dejected feel of the film, but as I mentioned, things get better by the end.
This is not a bad one to check out, but it's a fairly art-house film. It simply follows Sung-woo around as he tries to keep his hopes afloat and to help out his friends in whatever way he can. There's plenty of music in the movie, obviously, and the band isn't half bad. If you are tired of the same old action, horror, romantic comedy, and melodrama movies, give Waikiki Brothers a shot.
EQUINOX21'S RATING: 7.5/10