War of the Arrows (2011)

War of the ArrowsDirector: KIM Han-min

Starring: PARK Hae-il, RYOO Seung-rong, MOON Chae-won, KIM Moo-yeol

Set in 17 th Century Korea, the film begins with the home of Nam-Yi and Jan-in being attacked after a coup attempt and their father sending them away just before he is killed to stay under the care of a friend.

Thirteen years later Nam-Yi (PARK Hae-il) still hunts with the bow that his father gave him, but has neglected his studies as he believes he will “always be the son of a traitor”. He doesn’t even care that the son of the people who are looking after him wants to marry his sister Ja-In (MOON Chae-won), and he gets into a fight with him, vomiting all over him (it was a funny scene.)

Even though he doesn’t approve of it, the marriage still goes ahead, but with the worst possible timing as the Manchurians invade in the middle of the ceremony. Nam-Yi had been practicing shooting arrows and comes across some soldiers, but is too late to help save anyone from the attack.

One of the leaders of the Manchurian soldiers takes an interest in Nam-Yi’s handiwork after finding some of the dead soldiers that were shot with arrows and vows to stop him.

Ja-in and her husband to be are taken away by the Manchurians to be held as slaves and hostages and Nam-Yi is on the their trail.

There is a lot action here, but I won’t describe it all as it would take too long, even from the opening scene there is strong action and with only brief scenes of character development, it doesn’t take too long to get back to the action.

Nam-Yi and Ja-in also speak the same language as the invaders as they lived in the north of Korea with their father and this comes into the movie when some of the other characters are talking about the Koreans and Manchurians having the same ‘root’, but being different in their own way.

I was surprised at the amount of humour in such a serious action movie, unless some of the scenes were not meant to be laughed at. The tiger attack scene was a bit silly in its execution and I could see it coming when we briefly glimpsed the tiger before Nam-Yi was chased into the field by the soldiers.

Not sure how the physics works on the heavy “splitter” arrows with the shovel head, but they serve as heavy artillery as arrows go and the hero even has to improvise an arrow guide at one point like Rambo.

The cliff jump scene was also a highlight, but I am not sure that many people would have actually made a jump that long. It does make for an exciting scene and also helps build the tension as they are going to come after Nam-Yi no matter what the cost (I won’t say what the main character did to get them that mad, but it was something pretty big.)

It is a bit hard to follow some of the action at times due to the arrows being so fast, they even manage to shoot arrows at close range when a sword of just punching someone would be a better option.

I can see why this movie did so well at the box office in South Korea and hopefully it does well on DVD when it is released.

Rating: 8/10


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