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The Divine Weapon
The Divine Weapon
Actors: Jae-yeong Jeong, Eun-jeong Han, Jun-ho Heo, Sung-kee Ahn
Director: Yu-jin Kim
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House
UR     2009     2hr 14min

Studio: Virgil Films And Entertai Release Date: 11/10/2009 Run time: 134 minutes


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Movie Details

Actors: Jae-yeong Jeong, Eun-jeong Han, Jun-ho Heo, Sung-kee Ahn
Director: Yu-jin Kim
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House
Sub-Genres: Martial Arts, Indie & Art House
Studio: Virgil Films and Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 11/10/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 00/00/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 2hr 14min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Korean
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

A New Era of Warfare
Jusuf Hariman | Australia | 10/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In my view, this movie is a "must" view from at least 2 grounds: (1). It pointed out 1448 as the new era of warfara, with the development of rudimentary missiles (rocket weapons = divine weapons). Only 300 years later that Europe managed to replicate these weapons. This is the second Korean movie (the first is "The Legend of Shadowless Sword") I have ever seen and as the first movie, I am delighted to give this movie 5 stars; and (2). I am fascinated by the dynamics (tension) as the project manager interacted with the daughter of the man who was in charge of the project (Lee Hong Li). No two persons could look so different and yet, united by a common purpose (the unity and welfare of their country ie Joseon), the differences gradually melt together, and together they overcome the difficulty of losing the Singijeon's blueprints to the Ming assassins. I would also urge the readers to read closely the language used. One can learn a lot from this, from vulgar language to royal language."
The First Missiles: A Real Watershed
Jusuf Hariman | Australia | 11/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I gave this movie 5 star on account of the delicious interaction between Hong Li and the principal actor. It is nice to see how the relationship between Hong Li and the principal actor gradually developed from 'disgust' to 'affection' and then 'love'. Thus, in a sense, this movie goes beyond a pure 'action' movie to a 'romantic' action movie. Anyway, in 1448, the 30th year of Sejong's reign, the Ming Dynasty's meddling into Joseon's domestic affairs goes to extremes and Sejong secretly plans to develop Singijeon, a rocket weapon upgraded from goryeo's firearms technology. The Ming finds out and quickly dispatches assasins to attack the research lab, but, Choi Hae San, the man in charge of the project, destroys himself along with the research materials to protect the weapon's secret. His daughter Hong-Li (Han Eun-jung) barely escapes but loses the chong-long Records (Singljeon's blueprints) to the Ming's assassins."
No English Subtitles
Trinity | CO USA | 06/06/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)

"It's 100% in Korean, no English subtitles
pretty frustrating considering what it cost, $30

So buyer beware buying this through Amazon, if you can understand Korean
then perhaps it's worth it
but without even English Subtitles, for stinks
Chronicling a Significant Historical Event in Korean History
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 11/22/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Korean action swordplay epics haven't exactly reached the plateau as of yet. There have only been a few noteworthy films such as "Shadowless Sword" and "Bichunmoo". Director Kim Yu-jin's latest modestly budgeted swordplay epic "The DIVINE WEAPON" is set in the Joseon era; the film is a semi-historical tale about the creation of the first rocket during King Sejeong's reign in the 1400's. It seeks to tell a significant event in Korean history; the film is entertaining on its own right, but certain elements kept it from becoming a well-rounded spectacular epic.

Tension is all over the Korean region in 1430. Despite the fact they are a smaller region, the Joseon dynasty is flourishing but they are being controlled by the Ming dynasty who demands increased tribute and even more eunuchs (in the hundreds) to serve. Joseon's top weapons designer, Ga-Song has developed plans for powerful weaponry that may change the balance of power. One night, Ga-Song is killed but his daughter Hong-Li (Han Eun-Jeong) narrowly escapes. A close friend of her father, Chang-Kang (Ahn Sung-Kee) aids her to stay hidden and brings her to a merchant named Sul-ju (Jeong Jae-Yeong) who has issues with the court. The palace and the Joseon army are being watched very closely by representatives of the Ming court, but perhaps Sul-ju may be able to help Hong-Li decipher the secrets of the secret weapon; construct the Singijeon (a machine that can fire multiple explosive arrows) while there is still time to avert catastrophe.

"The Divine Weapon" chronicles the creation of the first rocket used in warfare in 1430. This weapon can launch special arrows as well as a huge explosive arrow for about 3 km. The film does keep its focus about the story of the rocket itself; the film carefully shows its secrets and the risks in creating such as weapon. It comes as no surprise that the film may be easy to enjoy to film fans; it portrays a historical event, the political intrigue that came during this time, there is a lot of action, there are dabs of romance and touches of humor. Kim Yu-jin knows the elements that can make a film successful in the box-office. The plotting is actually not too bad, the political conspiracies and cultural implications are brought into exposition and while there is a perfunctory love story underneath its layer, the direction doesn't focus on those elements and rather more on the Joseon struggle. The developing relationship between Sul-ju and Hong-Li does manage to pitch in some needed charm in its proceedings because of the good performances of the two protagonists.

The film does have a fair amount of characterization, but it does suffer a little from the abundance of different characters. At times, the film gets a little difficult to follow and some scenes may encourage a small disconnection to the proceedings. There is also a brutal scenes with young boys being castrated that felt a little forced to show the Ming's cruelty. I thought most of the film was saved by Sul-ju as the main protagonist. I liked the fact that he appeared very human; a profiteer who is only interested in one thing until we see his development as a patriot because of what he has seen and the sacrifices made. Hong-Li is the one factor that proves once again that women can bring out the best in a man, as she demonstrates her compassion and her willingness to lay down her life for the good of one nation. The film does have several stirring speeches that can bring out the patriotism in its viewers as the film is full of motivational flag-waving. This may have been inspired by the movie "Hanbando" since the film's producers are the same.

There is a lot of action to be had with "The Divine Weapon". The swordplay in the film looked very realistic and avoids the usual wire work in other Wuxia films. The fights are quick and serves to expose Sul-ju's skills as a swordsman as he engages skilled swordsmen in their own right. Director Kim Yu-jin saves the final grand battle sequence at the final act and I thought this was a very calculated and smart move on his part. It makes the fights part of the film's plot rather than having fights to get to the film's resolution; as it managed to generate some tension and suspense as to what would happen in the final encounter. We see the usual grand underdog battle as a mere 100+ Joseon warriors become pinned down by about 3,000 Ming mercenaries. Kim does display competence in shooting the battle scene and of course, the viewer is treated to a grand display of the power of the Singijeon artillery which up to this scene, the viewer can only guess at its capabilities. The battle scenes are quite verbose in its own right, but it felt that it was proper to the film's tone.

I rather enjoyed the fact that director Kim uses the minimal amount of CGI in the film and only uses it when absolutely necessary in the final scene. The film is also nicely shot but exercises a fair amount of restraint as to avoid the film from becoming too extravagant. The screenplay is kept moving at an even vigorous pace as to keep its viewers entertained that its 134 minute runtime went by quickly.

"The Divine Weapon" is one film that may not prove to be groundbreaking or stellar, the film doesn't exactly show us anything very memorable; but the energetic direction, the lush cinematography, good costumes and set designs are enough to keep the film aloft while its discipline and restraint kept it grounded. It isn't the grand spectacle I could've wished for but it is highly entertaining. The film is a good example of how playing one's aces well can pay off, despite any flaws a film may have.

Highly Recommended! [3 ½ + Stars]

The U.S. Dvd has good picture quality but sadly only has a 2.0 Dolby Digital Korean language track. (the Korean release has 5.1 Dolby Digital) The release is pretty bare-bones.