Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
NYAFF ’12: War of the Arrows
China invaded Korea, but it was all for the sake of greater regional
stability. The year is 1636 and only an
unemployable archer with an attitude problem stands between Joseon and an army
of Manchurian invaders in Kim Han-min’s War
of the Arrows (trailer
screens tomorrow during the 2012 New York Asian Film Festival.
Nam-yi and his sister Ja-in should not be alive. When their father is wrongfully branded a
traitor, they barely escape to the home of his lifelong friend, who raises them
in secret. Unable to live a productive public
life, the grown Choi becomes a sullen slacker, wasting his life with his Falstaffian
cronies. He only excels at one thing:
contrast, his sister has fallen in love with Kim Seo-goon, the son of their
protector. Believing they can lead a
normal existence together, Kim has convinced his parents to allow their
marriage. Unfortunately, the Qing army
happens to choose their wedding day for their invasion. They only make one mistake, scooping up Choi’s
sister and new brother-in-law along with the rest of their prisoners. Somewhat put out by this, Choi dogs the
returning Qing forces, becoming a guerrilla army of one. Of course, the trail of arrow-impaled bodies
he leaves in his wake attracts the attention of an elite company of archers led
by the seriously hardnosed Jyushinta.
commanding screen presence, Ryoo Syeung-ryong makes quite the villain as the
relentless Jyushinta. He seethes with
authority and projects a quiet sense of menace perfect for his role as the Qing
commando leader. While Park Hae-il’s
Choi lacks a similar gravitas, he is a convincing action figure, letting the
arrows fly as he careens through the forest.
is one fierce archery film. Those who considered Hawkeye the biggest take-away
from The Avengers are in for a
treat. This is warfighting at its most
personal level. Though already available
on DVD, it is the sort of film that should be a blast to watch with an
appreciative NYAFF audience when it finally gets an overdue New York ovation
tomorrow. Well worth seeing on a big
screen, it would have also made a good 3-D fixer-upper (unlike say, Clash of the Titans), considering how
many projectiles come flying out towards the audience. Like the best action historicals, War of the Arrows is both high tragedy
and a total blast. Enthusiastically
recommended, it screens Friday night (6/29) at the Walter Reade Theater as part
of the intrepid 2012 NYAFF.
Labels: Korean Cinema, NYAFF '12