Also called The Warrior, although not wuxia, this gripping 155 minute Korean historical epic takes place in 1375 when an Envoy from Goryeo (a Korean Kingdom) travels to Ming China. Banished in retaliation for a Ming Diplomat that died in Goryeo the Envoy must do whatever they can to regain favour so they may return to Goryeo with honor.
This movie is truly amazing, epic in proportion with an astounding story, and the level of character development is tremendous. You really get to know each character without it seeming forced, it really is a natural flow from one scene to the next. The cinematography with its large shots of the deserts is breathtaking. The action sequences are chaotic and violent as you might expect pitched battle to be. The struggles of the characters are well portrayed by the actors. I’m not a reviewer so I can not properly convey how great this movie is. You really should watch it, more than once.
From Koreanfilm.org “The film is regarded as being one of the biggest motion pictures in the history of South Korean cinema. At the time of its production its budget was the largest ever for a Korean film. It features a high degree of historical accuracy in period costumery, props, settings, and most unusually, language; that is, everyone speaks in their native tongues or through an interpreter conversant in a lingua franca. The film was the 8th highest grossing film of 2001 with over two million tickets sold.”
I particularly enjoyed the performances of Yu Rongguang and Ahn Sung-ki
Jung Woo-sung (Reign of Assassins) as Yeo-sol, a hot-headed but loyal former slave who is skilled in using pole weapons.
Joo Jin-mo as Choi-Jung, the inexperienced general of the mission.
Ahn Sung-ki as Dae-Jung, a veteran archer and sergeant of the lower-class soldiers.
Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero, House of Flying Daggers, The Grandmaster) as Princess Bu-yong (Princess Furong), a kidnapped Chinese princess.
Yu Rongguang (Iron Monkey, The East Is Red, The Storm Riders, Little Big Soldier, Three Kingdoms) as Rambulwha, the honourable but cruel Mongol general.
Park Jung-hak as Ga-nam, the experienced lieutenant of the upper-class soldiers.
Park Yong-woo as Ju-myeong, a cowardly interpreter.
Lee Doo-il as Ji-san, a burly Buddhist monk.
Yoo Hae-jin (Jeon Woo-chi: The Taoist Wizard) as Du-chung, an axe-wielding soldier who loses an eye.
Han Young-mok as Dan-saeng, a very young soldier.
Jung Suk-yong as Ha-il
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