Once Upon A Time In High School Directed by Yoo Ha 2004
This was less a martial arts film and more like a two hour episode of The Wonder Years (complete with the cute Korean version of Winnie Cooper). It also had elements of Lindsay Anderson’s If…. with its portrayal of South Korea’s highly strict and militant education system during the 70s.
There are a few fight scenes though, including a Taxi Driver style training montage that culminates to the final rooftop battle. The end result turning into something like a mix between Bruce Lee’s real life rooftop fights when he was in China and the scene in Fist of Legend where Jet Li takes on the whole school.
This might have been my favorite movie if I had seen this in high school during my own Bruce Lee obsession phase, but I just really can’t relate to coming-of-age stuff anymore no matter how many Murakami books I try to read or Freaks and Geeks reruns I watch.
I would recommend this on a purely nostalgic level, if you’re interested in Korea during the 70s, and obviously if you’re a fan of martial arts and Bruce Lee.