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Post-war South Korea in 1953, Heo Sam-Gwan (Ha Jung-Woo) works on a construction site and helps his uncle to farm. The guys in his village can't get married, until they are able to sell ... See full summary »
I rarely give films a 10, but this one is simply brilliant!
Imagine if you took an Italian western, Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" and "Robin Hood" and then transported all this to 19th century Korea. This is pretty much what you get in Jong-bin Yun's masterpiece, "Kundo: Age of the Rampant". It's a new martial arts epic that I cannot recommend strongly enough--and fans of this sort of picture are bound to be satisfied with this excellent film.
The film begins during the latter years of the long Joseon Dynasty. The country is racked with famine, disease and locusts. But these locusts aren't the kind you're thinking of...they're the human kind. These are the various lords and governors who exploit the people and make the suffering and starvation even worse--as they strip the land from the people and force them into slavery. However, an honorable gang of bandits have made it their mission to right wrongs, care for the poor and punish the evil men in charge. For a while, their mission goes off without a hitch, as bureaucrat after bureaucrat are captured and sentenced for their crimes. However, one of these evil men, Yo-Joon, is something else. He is not only among the most evil and bloodthirsty, but he's an incredible fighter and more than a match for any of these Robin Hood-style bandits. Plus, he has his loyal band of seven evil warlords and an army...what good could these bandits do against such odds? Well, being heroes, they do what heroes must do even if the mission seems like certain death.
The film's plot is very reminiscent of an old western and the music really heightens the effect. It's not exactly Ennio Morricone's in style but has many similarities to his scores that this great and very prolific Italian composer wrote for epics such as "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" and "A Fistful of Dollars". It's rousing and energetic to say the least. And, the main bandit, Dochi, is also cut from the same mold as these great old films. All in all, a terrific film that features top-notch acting, music and production values--as good as any martial arts movie you could find. See this film...just don't take your young kids. Only a crazy person would let them watch this film or films like it. It's extremely realistic in its violence and bloodshed--as you would expect. So, even if they beg you, find another film for them and watch this one when the little ones are asleep, as it clearly earns its R rating.
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