Rain Makes Final Pre-Military Visit to Busan

The singer and actor must complete two years of service before returning to his pop career.

BUSAN, South Korea -- South Korean pop star Rain will be off the public radar for the next two years as he enters the army, but fans will be able to watch him in military action through his air forcemovie, Soar Into the Sun.

The press junket for the film Friday in Busan marked one of Rain’s last media appearances before he begins the mandatory two-year service for South Korean men on Oct. 11.

In Soar, Jung Ji-hoon – Rain’s real name, which he prefers to use for acting projects – plays a talented yet troublemaking elite air force pilot who is demoted to the combat flying unit. There he meets new friends, rivals and love interest, and is put to the ultimate test when he ventures into enemy territory.

The star says he feels like he got an intense preview of military life through the film, for which production wrapped last month for a 2012 release.

“I experienced seven months of life in the barracks while shooting the movie. It was painful not being able to eat whenever I wanted,” he said, adding that he almost fainted while undergoing the actual gravity test for pilots.

It is the first time a Korean film is featuring Boeing’s F-15K. The Hollywood talent behind films such as Inception and Dark Knight orchestrated the aerial action sequences.

Directed by Kim Dong-hoon, Soar marks Rain’s second homespun movie since his big screen debut, I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK (2006) by Park Chan-wook. Hollywood ventures on Rain’s resume include Speed Racer and Ninja Assassin, directed and produced by the Wachowskis.

He said he was attracted to Soar because he wanted to return to acting in Korean. “I was extremely impressed by the script and after shooting movies in the United States I wanted to act using Korean lines again.”

He added that the movie was an enjoyable project with great teamwork. His co-stars include starlet Shin Sae-kyung, who recently played her first film role opposite the prolific actor Song Kang-ho in Hindsight, and Yoo Joon-sang, who will be co-starring with the French film icon Isabelle Huppert in an upcoming Hong Sang-soo project.

Rain will begin his stint as an active-duty solder at the Uijeongbu 306 Reserve Battalion.