Action Boys

Action Boys

If you’ve watched an action film, you’ve probably also been in awe of the incredible stunts, like amazing car crashes and brutal fight sequences. But how does one achieve that calibre of professional ability? Action Boys follows several young men as they graduate from a South Korean stunt school and begin their careers as professional […]


If you’ve watched an action film, you’ve probably also been in awe of the incredible stunts, like amazing car crashes and brutal fight sequences. But how does one achieve that calibre of professional ability? Action Boys follows several young men as they graduate from a South Korean stunt school and begin their careers as professional stuntmen.

Of the 34 wannabes that enrolled in the school’s eighth year, only seven make it to graduation. Through audition tapes, we see what it takes to get into the program – namely some sort of athletic talent – and we see what disqualifies applicants – a pretensious smile. Director Byung-gil’s life is outlined in short sentences and portraits. After stunt school, he learned his talents lay behind the camera so he chronicles life-after-graduation for four of his friends: Gui-duk, Jin-seok, Sung-il and Se-jin. By the end, only one of them is still pursuing a career in stunt work. Their résumés include City of Violence, The Host and The Good, the Bad and the Weird.

The guys are humorous and a mix of documentary and home movie show how they progressed from their lame tryouts to stunt directors; except for Se-jin, who flounders from one job to another, plagued by bad luck. We see up-close how dangerous a simple looking act can be and how the most careful planning provides no guarantee of their safety or a successful stunt. Drunken confessions and maternal commentary gives insights into their personal lives, while interviews with the stuntmen reveal their passion and desire for perfection and approval. Other than some slow sequences and unnecessary inter-titles, this documentary is a must-see treat for Asian action film fans.

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