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Kundo: Age of the Rampant (2014)

Kundo: Min-ran-eui si-dae (original title)
Not Rated | | Action | 23 July 2014 (South Korea)
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A period action film centered on a militia group who turn against an unjust nobility.

Director:

Jong-bin Yoon (as Jong-Bin Yun)

Writers:

Cheol-Hong Jeon (screenplay), Jong-bin Yoon (original story)
6 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jung-woo Ha ... Dolmuchi
Dong-won Gang ... Jo-yoon
Sung-min Lee ... Dae-ho
Jin-Woong Cho ... Lee Tae-ki (as Jin-woong Jo)
Dong-seok Ma ... Chun-bo
Ji-hye Yun ... Ma-hyang
Man-sik Jeong Man-sik Jeong ... Butler Yang
Seong-gyoon Kim ... Jang
Jae-young Kim Jae-young Kim ... Geum-san
Kyeong-yeong Lee ... Ddaeng-choo
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Seon-Mook Cho Seon-Mook Cho
Ye-ri Han ... Gok-ji
Byeong-ok Kim
Hae-sook Kim ... Dolmuchi's mother (as Hae-suk Kim)
Da-wit Lee ... Jo-yoon's younger brother
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Storyline

A period action film centered on a militia group who turn against an unjust nobility.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

South Korea

Language:

Korean

Release Date:

23 July 2014 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

Kundo See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$16,642,059 (South Korea), 27 July 2014, Wide Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,555, 12 September 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$280,958, 19 September 2014
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the fourth collaboration Jong-Bin Yun and Jung-Woo Ha. The other three title are: Yongserbadji Mothan Ja, Biseuti Boijeu and Bumchoiwaui Junjaeng: Nabbeunnom. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Korean Martial Arts Masterpiece with Strong Western Influences
21 January 2016 | by bkrauser-81-311064See all my reviews

Kundo is an odd but charming amalgamation of influences. While very strongly identifying itself as a martial arts film, much like The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008) in its heart it's a western. Its hero, Dolmuchi certainly lends himself to western tropes; a downtrodden man turned outlaw seeking vengeance. Add to that a Robin Hood-esque sub-plot involving a band of larger-than-life rebels and you have yourself one of the most intriguing South Korean imports since Mother (2009).

All is not well in Joseon dynasty Korea (approximately mid-19th century). There are consistent strife between the the ruling aristocracy and the poverty stricken farmers and artisans that struggle to survive. During this time Jo Yoon (Kang) is taken from the brothel he was born in, to the house of his father (Joo) and told he is the heir to his fortune; that is until his half-brother comes along. Thus, Jo Yoon slides into all-consuming evil and claws his way back up to power after the "death" of his brother. His brother's pregnant wife (Kkobbi) avoids harm so Jo Yoon hires a lowly butcher Dolmuchi (Ha) to finish the job. Dolmuchi refuses and his family is killed as a result. Thus the game of good and evil is set with Dolmuchi siding with a team of bandits who steal from the rich to give to the poor.

Members of the the gang of bandits are introduced with flashy tile cards while riding in the saddle which emulates the slap-dash styling that defined Sergio Leone's most iconic westerns. You get a very clear sense of the personality of the bandits from the get-go and director Jong-Bin Yin wisely uses this short hand so we feel invested in their fate while concentrating solely on the struggles, both internal and external, of Jo Yoon and Dolmuchi. Dong-Won Kang is rapturous with his calm, concise words and demeanor. The concubine's son turned nobleman wears white and darts with the steady grace of a samurai yet his preening has a very dark and sinister side. Meanwhile Jung-Woo Ha's Dolmuchi is as coarse as a bag of rice with his constant swearing and Fairbanksian swagger. Despite receiving a burn on his head after the death of his family, Dolmuchi keeps a sense of humor and takes relish in relieving noblemen from their top knots. The commonality between the two is a seething anger that threatens to undo their progress.

Despite it's epic sweep and solid acting, Kundo may ultimately have trouble putting butts in the seats due to its fighting sequences. The fights are well choreographed don't get me wrong, but there's nothing that stands out apart from perhaps the final showdown. Even then Jo Yoon is put at so much of a disadvantage one can't help but speculate that if he had the use of all his limbs and faculties he would once again be able to easily defeat Dolmuchi. In addition there are some scenes that seem to conflict in tone with one another for no apparent reason. Then again it might just be a product of film grammar from another culture I have yet to truly understand.

All in all though, Kundo is a riveting Korean epic with a story that rivals the best of western mythology. There is some strong character work and directorial choices that sets it apart from others of its ilk and while the fighting scenes were short of spectacular, the bandits and their unique skills sets stop them from becoming monotonous.


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