Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Sword In The Moon |
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Tai Seng Entertainment Release Date: 11/28/2006 Run time: 99 minutes
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3 ½ Stars: When Two Friends Cross Swords....
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 02/10/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"SWORD IN THE MOON (2003) is among South Korea's earliest forays in the Wuxia-Fantasy-Swordplay genre. The film is directed by Ui Seok Kim and has very nice set designs and cool costumes. Being among the first films in this genre, South Korea makes a decent attempt, with an atmospheric feel, battle scenes, and the usual themes about loyalty and honor against the unpredictable hand of fate.
The story tells of the fate of two soldiers. Yun (Jae Hyun Jo) and Choi (Min-su Choi) are best friends who were parts of the elite school; "Sword in the Moon". The cruel hand of fate separates the two. Yun Gyu-Yeob is forced into servitude to a corrupt lord and earns the nickname: "The Human Butcher" because of his brutality in engaging enemies. Choi Ji-Hwan went rogue after being thought killed in combat. Years past, Choi returns cutting a bloody path of murder, aided by beautiful Shi-yeong (Bo Kyeong Kim, Ardor). The two friends are destined to clash where Yun must decide between loyalty to an oath he took and the loyalty to his friend.
At first impression, one may think the film is full of martial arts swordplay action. The film's premise is the usual themes; loyalty and honor, corrupt authority figures and friendship. "Sword in the Moon" is a movie about assassins so since assassins like to go out at night, most of the action happens after dark. This may be a good or a bad thing since the action may be hidden from plain view for the most part but I rather thought the designs exude a dark and gritty style. (I'm not exactly a big fan of colorful and extravagant sets). Most of the classic betrayals also happen at night, which makes a lot of sense since traitors don't want to be seen. The film is more like a morality play, much of the proceedings are broken down with Yun and Choi's flashbacks, the corrupt manipulations of evil authority. The screenplay may get a little blurry, but for the experienced movie-watcher, the story isn't all that hard to follow.
The film does have a few surprises. More or less, Jae Hyun Jo's performance eats up the screen with his portrayal of his character. I really liked his musings and finally taking a stand against destiny. Regrettably, Min-su Choi's gets less screen time. The flashbacks do help the film a lot in developing the two leads but it does hamper the film's pace. Also, Shi-yeong's character (played by stunningly beautiful Bo Kyeong Kim) has so much potential but so underdeveloped. She wasn't revealed to be as a woman until she took off her ninja-like garb and takes a bath near a waterfall. It was such an awesome sight to be privy to, that I was so curious about to learn more about her friendship with Choi. Guys like me would be happy to know that for a Korean Wuxia film, Sword in the Moon" does contain a bit of nudity and sex but the way they are shot is not distasteful.
As for the action in the film, there are two battles that occur during the day (thankfully) and all the fights have a blend of Chinese Wuxia somewhat influenced by Samurai swordplay. Even Choi's appearance as an individual with desperate need to wash his hair and his outfit have the anime influence as Jubei Yagyu in "Ninja Scroll". I found this very curious, but I rather enjoyed this play in style. To be sure, there is quite a lot of blood and gruesome beheadings. The only fault that I saw is that the director used the blurry and shaky style he is known for and it does hamper some of the action.
I have mixed feelings about "Sword in the Moon". Despite its faults and predictability, I did enjoy it as one of Korea's earliest attempts in wuxia epic genre. It will not dethrone "Musa the Warrior" and "Shadowless Sword" as my favorite South Korean swordplay films. The film does have the atmosphere of the terrific "Musa" and "The Gingko Bed"; and it does surpass the abysmal "The Duelist". "Sword in the Moon" is not a bad film, but it had a lot of potential to have made it so much better. To its credit, the film wasn't that much, much worst.
RECOMMENDED! For swordplay period fans [3 ½ stars]
Pretty good Korean Period Swordplay
Dragon Man X | Sunnyvale, CA USA | 11/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A periodic Korean swordplay film about two friends who trained at the same school finding themselves on opposing sides when the Emperor is overthrown. One assassinates corrupt government officials, while the other reluctantly works for that government and is ordered to hunt the assassin down. The story is actually more complicated than this and unfolds through series of flashbacks throughout the film. Overall, the story is interesting, but you do have to pay attention to catch the twists. Just remember the faces of the two main characters and you should be fine.***1/2
On to the fights! Well choreographed, no wire work here, lots of blood, and the cinematography is quite memorable for a few scenes. Kim Won Jin had a hand in the choreography. Hardcore martial art film fans know Jin as the crazy and skillful Korean kicker in his films (Operation Scorpio, Women on the Run) and I'm pleased to see his directive work here in a swordplay film. There's one fight scene between the two friends that is quite memorable in my opinion. It reminded me a little bit of the epic battle between Donnie Yen and Jet Li in Hero with all the water splashing in the environment. Not as good as the scene in Hero, and definitely not as long of a fight though...quick cuts and camera blurring motion was used for the SitM scene, but it's done pretty well. I guess I just really enjoyed the intensity and the scenery setting for the fight. *****
Sound. There's a DTS track here and it's done pretty well. Swords clashing sound as they should and there's no awkward sounds that jump out of no where like the Moon Warriors DVD. ****
Video. Dark night scenes are horrible on this DVD. Graininess can be seen in some scenes and can cause some difficult viewing. However, I loved the cinematography in most of the film and the video captures the areas I felt that were important. It would be nice to have a remaster of the video overall though. **1/2
Other complaints. It's a good film and certainly worth watching and owning at such a low price. However, the story doesn't really end and kind of leaves you hanging at a pretty intense final scene. I'm not really one that likes to be left guessing "what happens next" and that's pretty much what you'll be doing. Furthermore, while there were some nice fight scenes in the film, I didn't feel there was enough. The fights do go by rather quickly and I suppose that's to maintain the realism. In other words, I was left wanting more from the movie once the credits started to roll. Pretty good, but certainly could've been better. Overall: ***3/4"
VERY GOOD FLIK
J. Trujillo | REEDLEY.CA | 02/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I HAD THIS MOVIE SINCE LAST YEAR..COULDNT WAIT TO GET IT ...IT BLOWS THE DOORS OF THE LAST SAMURAI ..MORE REALISTIC NO WIRE FU BUT VERY GOOD FIGHT SCENES...AND A GOOD PLOT AND VERY BLOODY..DAMB GOOD MOVIE DONT MISS IT.....THANKS"
Good Korean Period Film
A. Lam | MIAMI, FL. United States | 01/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was a little skeptical at first because of the extreme use of wire work in other similar films, but the sword fights in Sword in the Moon are realistic and we don't see people flying in the air for 2 minutes. It was all well done, the scenery and customes were the best and the acting too. Btw the end reminds me a little of the japanese film Sword of Doom. After you watch Sword in the Moon you'll see what I mean. I really enjoyed it. Recommended if you're into period films. I think its one of the best out right now."