Much of my enjoyment while watching Fight is how the narrative chooses not to go down the cheesy routes for both rom-com and dream achievement. The protagonists don’t wake up one day and suddenly realise they have romantic feelings for one another. Ae-ra has been crushing on Dong-man since Day 1, but has held back cos he is preoccupied with Hye-ran and she is afraid of admitting to romantic feelings for a bestie. Similarly, while our protagonists attain their dreams with the requisite hardship along the way, Fight doesn’t end with them achieving their dreams and leaving it at that. There is a continuity AFTER they have gotten what they want. Besides that, Fight also shows what they had to give up in exchange for their dreams.
And the protagonists are the not only ones who had to make sacrifices in order to attain personal goals. Lesser characters such as Ae-ra’s mum (Mdm Hwang) has to give up on her daughter in order to achieve her acting dream (though whether acting as a soft porn actress was her dream or she was later conned into it is not made clear). Hye-ran too, gives up on Dong-man, a man that loves her wholeheartedly, in order to leverage on her chaebol in-laws to become a famous news anchor.
While we may condemn Mdm Hwang and Hye-ran for making the “wrong choice” in their pursuit of their personal dreams, Fight is less critical. Both of them clearly don’t’ regret their decisions, and Mdm Hwang had said she will make the same choice again, if given the chance. Similarly, for Dong-man, he knows the danger of going into another fight in the ring – he may lose his hearing permanently. But he still chooses to fight. Like the other injured fighters (whom Ae-ra interviewed), he weighed in his options and decided on his course of action. Ultimately, all of them – Mdm Hwang, Hye-ran and Dong-man – decide that the sacrifice (or potential sacrifice) is worth its price.
In the romcom aspect, I completely adore the very-honest Dong-man. Once the idea of Ae-ra actually crushing on him takes root, he goes full steam in his reciprocation. And they are bloody cute together. While Dong-man and Ae-ra work towards their Happy Ending, Joo-man and Seol-hee have to learn to fall in love with each other again. It is disappointing we don’t get much of Seol-hee and Joo-man’s background, besides the small snippets. But their relationship is a realistic take on the potential dangers of a friends-lover bond.
As mentioned in my prev post, Joo-man and Seol-hee face the danger of “familiarity breeds contempt”. But in their case, I’d also say it’s misaligned expectations. There is nothing wrong with their aspirations – Seol-hee wants a simple life, Joo-man wants to be able to provide the best for Seol-hee. However, they fail to communicate this, and misunderstandings plus daily stressors pile up. Seol-hee sees nothing wrong with becoming the bowed-down, defeated wife-to-be – if her actions can help Joo-man progress. Joo-man, on the other hand, is exasperated that Seol-hee doesn’t stand up for herself, or care for herself more.
So it is a no-brainer that they will break up. Seol-hee needs to learn that even though her dream is to be a simple housewife/ mother, it doesn’t mean that her world needs to revolve around her man. Joo-man also needs to realise that while providing material wants is good, it is not the objective of a relationship.