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When a thieving cyclist steals a purse from a pedestrian, clumsy, naive yet honest rookie policeman Sang-hwan gives chase, but it's the skilled specialist in martial arts, Wi-jin, who captures the criminal while severely injuring Sang-hwan. She brings Sang-hwan to her home, where five Masters of Tao heal him and find that he has a powerful c'hi (spiritual energy of the universe). He could be a powerful warrior. As Sang-hwan begins training to ascend to the level of a Maruchi (male Tao Master), the evil, ancient and ambitious Heuk-woon, accidentally released from his imprisonment, awakens. The powerful Heuk-woon attacks the masters, searching for a key that they protect, which would permit him to become an Arahan and dominate the world. When the masters are defeated, Sang-hwan and Wi-jin are the only and last hope of mankind. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / edited by statmanjeff
Martial arts are for suppressing violence, for stopping conflict, and for avoiding cruelty. This is the truth all martial arts aspire to. Only the truly powerful can defend by anticipating an opponent.
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Written (song and lyrics) by Lee Seung-bok
Performed by Kim Hyeong-gyu, Lee Seung-bok, Lee Ho-joon (f. Rec-Roc) See more »
I ain't no fan of chop-socky Asian martial arts movies. You could run off a list of any of the 1000 films Jet Li made before going to America and I'd say, 'Um...Kiss of the Dragon?' So, that's how bad my knowledge and devotion is. It was surprising therefore to discover that Arahan is actually a very funny and very exciting movie that zips along loud, fast and funny.
Sang-Hwan is a lowly beat cop. He's clumsy, accident prone and bumbles more than the average bee. He doesn't believe he has any special powers, but when he makes friends with a group of five old masters, they recognise his potential and recruits him to help preserve the balance of the world from evil...or something. Which is great timing, because an ancient bad guy has come out of a long, long hibernation to seek the key to the ultimate nirvana and spread order over the whole world...or something.
Yes, it's gobbledygook. In fact, it's alarmingly similar to Bulletproof Monk, only not total crap. There are loads of laughs to be had. Arahan has a great sense of comic timing and the ability to jump from silly gags to serious action in just a few seconds.
When it comes to plain old hands-and-feet fighting, Hollywood movies seem to be lacking of late. It's all CGI and spandex. Eye candy it may be, but it's good to see something filled with practical fighting effects, despite the final showdown going on a bit.
The one bad thing that costs it half a star is the nasty Eighties synthesised score. Doesn't Korea have anything better than those shoddy Yamaha keyboards that I used in music class in high school? Hell, I could do better myself.
You can criticise the film for being mindless - hey, just because it's subtitled doesn't mean it's artsy fartsy - but for two hours of fun, Arahan will do nicely.
9 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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