Biopic of Rikidozan, the pioneer of pro wrestling in Japan and one of the most important wrestlers in the history of the sport. The film is a sport drama that give us an insight look of the struggles that Rikidozan had to experience to become a legend.
He was born in Korea in 1924, and his real name was Kim Sin-rak. In the 40´s, he changed his name for Mitsuhiro Momota, and moved to Japan, pursuing his dream to become Sumo Wrestler, however, when his dream couldn´t come true, he didn´t give up and found a new dream, and that dream was the one that turned him into Rikidozan, that dream was Pro Wrestling.
This Korean movie from 2004, directed by Song Hae-Sun, deserves more recognition. Somehow it resembles to another similar Korean production, the Mas Oyama biopic, “Fighter in the Wind“, but with a most realistic and dramatic tone.
The script is a journey to his dreams, frustrations and ambitions, all those elements that defined Rikidozan as he is remembered today , but also, doesn’t hesitate in showing us his darker side. Giving us a really human portrayal of the man with his lights and shadows.
This film, has very good production values and the recreation of the epoque is exquisite. Some of the most important moments of Rikidozan‘s career are shown with accuracy, including his infamous match against Judo legend Masahiko Kimura (here credited as Imura and played by Combat Sports Legend, Masakatsu Funaki) in that bout, Rikidozan skipped the script in which the fight it was supposed to end in a draw, and caught Kimura off guard knocking him out cold. That was the moment that killed his career.
Great performances by all the actors, specially Sol Kyung-gu, in the role of Rikidozan, and a perfect amount of epic and drama that mixed together, gives as final result, a great biopic that deserves more love.