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[Herald Review] ‘Rebound’: a basketball film about overcoming setbacks

By Kim Da-sol

Published : March 29, 2023 - 15:37

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“Rebound” (Barunson E&A) “Rebound” (Barunson E&A)

“Rebound” doesn’t just tell the real-life story of an underdog basketball team making it all the way to the championships – the film itself overcame real setbacks to make it into local theaters.

The film, director Jang Hang-jun’s first project in 6 years, will finally open in local theaters after 11 years of setbacks. The film tells the moving story of passionate youths based on a real-life 2012 national high school basketball championship through tense, dynamic scenes. Another strong point of the film is the realistic and convincing portrayals of the basketball players, as actors underwent an audition in which they had to prove their actual skills on the court.

When Kang Yang-hyun (Ahn Jae-hong), a former basketball player and public service worker returns to his alma mater as a newly recruited basketball coach to take charge of a team that is on the verge of disbandment, it’s not an easy journey.

By calling up students and scouring the streets recruiting players for his team, he finds six players. However, his all his efforts come to naught when the team gets a six month-ban from participating in the nationwide championship.

After starting from square one by reorganizing the team and training the players with a brand-new player-centered strategy, the Busan JungAng High School’s basketball team makes it to the national championship finals, beating five strong teams and losing for the first time in the league to the four-time champion, Yongsan High School.

As the title suggests, the film is about overcoming setbacks. In basketball, a rebound is when a when a player gets possession of the ball directly after a missed shot.

“The whole process of the production was a ‘rebound’ in itself. After the production company began brainstorming the film in 2012, it took 11 years to release the film. After I took charge of this film’s direction five years ago, the production also faltered at one point due to investment issues. I couldn’t feel any more grateful than I do today,” director Jang told reporters after film’s screening held at CGV I-Park Yongsan in Seoul on Tuesday.

The focus of production was about making an “easy” basketball film.

“I tried my best to make a basketball film with a storyline that even people who don’t know the game too well can easily follow along with. The method I used was to feature commentators to deliver explanations of the game,” Jang said.

Jang added that he hopes to see the film reinvigorate the local movie scene.

“We decided to release the film in April from long ago, but figured out that more films related to sports are opening close to our release date. Maybe distribution firms didn’t consider my film as too threatening,” he joked.

Meanwhile, other sports films are scheduled to be releases next month. “Air,” a biographical sports drama film directed by Ben Affleck and written by Alex Convery on sports retail giant Nike will also be released on April 5. The South Korean film “Dream,” directed by Lee Byeong-heon and starring Park Seo-joon and IU, will be released on April 26.

“Rebound” hits local theaters on April 5.

“Rebound” (Barunson E&A) “Rebound” (Barunson E&A)