The film alternates between these two characters, as they struggle just to survive and keep desperation at bay. Ryu, the younger brother of the director, and Choi, the master of angst roles like “Old Boy,” are equally wonderful in their respective roles. And while they share little actual time on screen, “Crying Fist” does an excellent job weaving their powerful performances together and showing the characters as two sides of the same sad coin.
“Crying Fist” is as violent and gritty as anything Ryoo has made, but unlike his earlier films, the director is learning to temper the fury with a human side. The result is a mix of rage and sadness that is human drama at its best, mainstream or otherwise.