Friday, August 29, 2014

Review: Highway Star (2007)

Highway Star (Review)
Kim Sang-chan, Kim Hyun-soo/Cha Tae-hyun/2007
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"...it's just not very effective in either of its genres."

Bong Dal-ho (Cha Tae-hyun) dreams of becoming a successful rockstar, but finds success in trot music instead.

Highway Star follows Bong Dal-ho as he reluctantly becomes a trot singer -- trot music being the equivalent to country music. Dal-ho is tricked into signing the contract, so he's stuck making music he despises. To mask his shame, Dal-ho literally wears a mask during his performances. It's a fairly original plot that becomes more cliché towards the end. I did enjoy the ending, however; a positive ending with a great blend of music.

Highway Star, despite its mostly original storyline, simply doesn't do much. Or, at least it didn't do much for me. As a comedy, the humor is merely decent -- it has one laugh out loud moment, and a few scenes worth a chuckle or smile, but not much worthwhile humor. As a drama or romance film, it's not very effective, either. In fact, the romance elements in this film contribute to the clichés I mentioned earlier. I liked the musical elements, though; I'm not a fan of our domestic country music, but I think I can really get into the trot music.

Cha Tae-hyun, who is wonderful in films like My Sassy Girl and Scandal Makers, is likeable and charismatic in this role; he's the funniest part of the film, and he really gives the story much needed life. The film looks great, too. The music stood out; it's not a pop soundtrack, it's a trot soundtrack, and I genuinely enjoyed it. Directors Kim Sang-chan and Kim Hyun-soo craft a technically well-made film -- performances, music, etc. -- but it's just not very effective in either of its genres.

Overall, Highway Star is an original and interesting film. But, it just doesn't offer enough humor or drama to keep you hooked and thoroughly entertained, especially considering its bloated runtime. There are a few laughs to be had, the music just might click with you like it did me, and Cha Tae-hyun delivers another charismatic performance. For fans of the lead or those looking for something new, Highway Star might be worth your time.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Some brief nudity.

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