‘Road to Boston’ First Review: ‘A Heartfelt Portrayal of National Heroes’, ‘Somewhat Outdated Storytelling’

Road to Boston review
Road to Boston review
Credit: ZAPZEE

Director Kang Je Gyu, the mastermind behind legendary blockbuster hits like Shiri and Taegukgi, is back with an exciting film based on a true story.

Road to Boston, slated for release on September 27th, follows the inspiring journey of Korean athletes who proudly wore the Taeguk symbol for the first time in an international marathon since Korea’s liberation. Ha Jung Woo and Yim Si Wan portray two pivotal figures in Korean history, Sohn Kee Chung and Suh Yun Bok, delivering powerful performances that captivate viewers. Particularly remarkable is Yim Si Wan‘s exceptional portrayal of Suh Yun Bok as he crosses the finish line in the 1947 Boston International Marathon.

As Korean cinema faces challenges at the box office, the big question is: Will Road to Boston outshine other upcoming Korean films like Cobweb and Dr. Cheon and the Lost Talisman. Road to Boston‘s selling point is its compelling true story and its potential to stir up some national pride, especially given recent concerns about Japan’s controversial Fukushima wastewater discharge. However, the film’s success is uncertain due to its substantial production cost of 19 billion won ($14 million) and the need to draw in 4.5 million viewers to reach the break-even point.

>> 3 Most Anticipated Movies of Fall 2023: ‘Road to Boston,’ ‘Cobweb’ and ‘Dr. Cheon and Lost Talisman’

Road to Boston review
Credit: ZAPZEE

Here are the media responses to Road to Boston, the first film to hold a press screening among two others set for release during the Chuseok holiday:

The Korea Economic Daily: Road to Boston depicts national heroes with genuine respect while infusing a delightful touch. Despite the fact that we know how the story ends as the movie is based on an actual event, the process of athlete Suh Yun Bok overcoming a crisis just before the championship race authentically delivers the tension and heart-pounding excitement that keeps us on the edge of our seats.

iMBC: The movie was expected to either evoke a sense of national pride or be emotionally moving, but it didn’t turn out that way. It appears the film toned down many of its emotional elements, and whether that choice was suitable is a matter of debate. The film doesn’t quite capture the usual excitement and thrill that can be seen in this genre of films, making the overall viewing experience less enjoyable.

Sports Hankook: The highlight of this movie is the latter part of the marathon race. The film captures the vividness of the scene and makes the viewer feel like they are right there. It also accurately represents the distinctive characteristics of a marathon race, where athletes depend entirely on their physical abilities without the help of any specialized equipment.

Sports Kyunghyang: The movie tells a great story in a somewhat old-fashioned or even tacky way. It presents the real events of the 1947 Boston International Marathon using 2004 filmmaking techniques. The one who breathes life into the film is Yim Si Wan, who plays the role of Suh Yun Bok. He adds his own momentum to the character and propels the story forward.

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