Volcano High

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Volcano High
Volcano High promotional movie poster
Revised Romanization Hwasango
McCune–Reischauer Hwasan'go
Directed by Kim Tae-gyun
Written by Kim Tae-gyun
Seo Dong-heon
Starring Jang Hyuk
Shin Min-ah
Kim Soo-Ro
Kwon Sang-woo
Huh Jun-ho
Distributed by Cinema Service
Release dates
  • December 5, 2001 (2001-12-05)
Running time 120 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean

Volcano High (Hangul: 화산고; RR: Hwasango), the original version, is a 2001 South Korean martial arts action comedy film in the same vein as Tenjho Tenge. It revolves around a troublemaking high school student named Kim Kyung-soo (portrayed by Jang Hyuk) who finds himself transferred to the last school that will take him, the prestigious Volcano High, an institution whose students display an incredible talent in martial arts, with a few demonstrating even more mysterious psychic powers; most notably Song Hak-rim (portrayed by Kwon Sang-woo). Kyung-Soo is drawn into fights between different clubs, a Manual that is told to hold great power, and a group of teachers that will do whatever possible to keep the students in line. The film proved to be a commercial success in South Korea gaining 1,687,800 admissions nationwide becoming the 9th highest grossing Korean film of 2001.[1]


  • Jang Hyuk as Kim Kyung-Soo: Main character whose powers caused him to get kicked out of school. Volcano High is the last school that will accept him and he's determined to graduate. Kyung-Soo has a history with Mr. Ma and was reluctant to use his powers to help the students out with their struggle to find the manuscript, fearing expulsion and shaming his family.
  • Shin Min-a as Yoo Chae-Yi: Nicknamed and described as "Icy Jade". Captain of the Kendo team and love interest of Kyung-Soo.
  • Kim Soo-ro as Jang Ryang: Nicknamed "Dark Ox". Leader of the Dark Oxen and captain of the weight-lifting team. One of the most powerful and feared fighters at Volcano High. He helps the vice principal, Hak-Sa frame and imprison Hak-rim for stealing the manuscript so he can take control of the school. Ryang is in love with Chae-Yi and wants her to be his queen. He despises Kyung-Soo, seeing that he's much stronger in a fight than Ryang himself.
  • Kwon Sang-woo as Song Hak-rim: Described as "Elegant Crane in a Pine Forest". The most powerful martial artist in Volcano High. He is imprisoned after being framed by Jang Ryang for trying to steal the Manuscript. Realizing that Kyung-Soo is Volcano High's only hope, Hak-rim trains him.
  • Gong Hyo-jin as So Yo-seon: Described as "Single Hearted". Admirer of Song Hak-rim and co-captain of the Kendo team. She was the first to believe he was framed and learned Jang Ryang involvement.
  • Kim Hyeong-jong as Shimma: Captain of the rugby union team. Befriends Kyung-Soo.
  • Huh Jun-ho as Mr. Ma: Leader of the 5 Teachers who are sent to discipline the students. He has a history with Kyung-Soo and is the secondary antagonist.
  • Byun Hee-bong as Vice Principal Jang Hak-Sa: The main antagonist in Volcano High. Angry due to the fact he isn't the principal and in spite of his own fears of Jang Ryang, Hak-Sa enlisted his help to frame Hak-rim for stealing the manuscript and he can be imprisoned. When Hak-Sa realizes the Dark Oxen has taken control of Volcano High, he enlists the help of the 5 Teachers to discipline the students.
  • Jung Sang-Hoon as Golbangi/Woo-Ping: a member of the Dark Oxen who befriends Kyung-Soo. He warns him of Chae-Yi's reputation as Icy Jade when Kyung-Soo accidentally spilled a bucket of water on her. Golbangi often played masseuse to Ryang.


17 years of feuding, sparked by the Great Teacher's Battle, has stripped authorities of their power, as self-indulgence, disguised as self-control, grips the student body. The schools have fallen into disarray. However, there is a legend. The one who acquires the Secret Manuscript will end the chaos. It is a legend that disrupts the Martial Court of Volcano High. Now, in the 108th year of Volcano....


The movie had different soundtracks in Korea, in Japan and in the US. The original Korean soundtrack was scored by Yeong Park and features two songs from Korean nu metal band R.F. Children. It is mostly rock music. The Japanese soundtrack was written by Daita (former guitarist of Siam Shade), it's similar in style, mostly rock music. The US version is a completely altered version from the original featuring hip hop music.

American version[edit]

The American version of the film released in late 2003 was done by MTV and featured hip-hop artists Snoop Dogg, Method Man, Lil' Jon, Big Boi, and Mýa.

  • Andre 3000 as Kim Kyung-soo
  • Lil' Jon as Jang Ryang
  • Mya as Yoo Chae-Yi (renamed Jade)
  • Snoop Dogg as Song Hak-rim
  • Method Man as Mr. Ma
  • Pat Morita as Vice Principal Jang Hak-Sa (renamed Ko)
  • Big Boi as Shimma
  • Kelis as So Yo-seon (renamed Song)
  • Tracy Morgan as Woo Ping

This Kung Faux parody version of the film aired only on MTV

Differences Between the Korean and American versions[edit]

American Korean
Nearly 30 minutes edited out with scenes rearranged to a running time of nearly 80 minutes. The movie is much longer with 122 minutes.
Song Hak-rim is imprisoned because Jang Ryang framed him for trying to poison the principal. song Hak-rim is imprisoned because Jang Ryang framed him for trying to steal the Manuscript.
The main plot involves 5 teachers who are sent to discipline the students. While this plot is still in the Korean version, the main plot is actually about a manuscript that is told to hold great power. Many want to know its location while the 5 teacher plot is actually a subplot.
Kyung-Soo is portrayed as a day-dreamer and his recurring dream is about a girl who he meets in the forest. This girl is actually Shimma's fraternal twin sister and she sends him into the forest to seduce him to play rugby.
So Yo-seon is Song Hak-rim's girlfriend. So Yo-seon merely admires Hak-rim from a distance while writing letters he would never get to read.
Jang Ryang and Yoo Chae-Yi used to date, but Chae-Yi then dumped him and Ryang hopes to get back together. The two never were together and Jang Ryang only revealed his feelings for her.
The music featured is popular Hip-Hop music released around the time this version came out. The music is mostly Rock.
Volcano High is said to be located in the mountains of Kim Tae-gyun The location of Volcano High is never revealed and there is no such mountain called Kim Tae-gyun. This is actually the name of the director.
Kyung-Soo willingly gives up his endurance contest with Jang Ryang and accidentally loses his fight with Jang Ryang Kyung-Soo remembers his mother, father, and sister telling him to restrain himself during both of these incidents.

Manhwa / comics[edit]

There is also a manhwa set before the movie called Volcano High Prelude. It was distributed in the United States by Media Blasters.

External links[edit]