6 May 2012

"Heard The One About The Archer? He Kicked Ass!" Review For WAR OF THE ARROWS


For years Korean cinema was always my route into dark, brutal world of revenge thrillers with Oldboy, Bedevilled, Man From Nowhere and my ultimate favourite I Saw The Devil.You could say we tend to get a little selfish by looking in one place for your needs in certain genres but its so refreshing to have your eyes widely opened by a film from another genre, ironically that influence comes from 2 unlikely sources, Hollywood films. The Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdean had one, Avengers Assemble Hawkeye had one too both making archery sexy but most of all classy but step forward War Of Arrows (Choi-jong-byeong-gi Hwal)a period based South Korean action film that proves archery is sexy but also skilful and why it should be your weapon of choice in combat! 

When he was young, Nam Yi (Hae-il Park)witnesses the death of his father who before his death makes a promise to look after his sister , then the pair flee. Now orphaned, older Nam Yi overcomes his loss to become the most accomplished hunter as well as archer of his generation which is a good time as his beloved Korea has come under attack from Chinese Imperial forces.Nam Yi returns from the forest to discover his only remaining family, his sister has been kidnapped and taken into slavery by the invading army. Now faced with the most daunting challenge of his life to rescue his sister and prove in courage against the greatest ever archers of his generation.

If your a follower of Asian Cinema you'll know period based films are ten a penny so what makes War Of The Arrows standout from other similar films? The speed and intensity that the film moves at which makes this one very entertaining. Period films tend to be slow movers which this one is at the start before it bursts into an engaging gripping film.You really get a feel of the intensity with the great use of P.O.V shots into the film's hero Nam Yi blending in the shaky Cam shot which make you appreciate the situation he is in, a deadly pursuit of cat and mouse.

If your a believer that archery is just the matter of simply firing and hoping for the best your misleading yourself greatly. When you into consideration wind.weather changes, angles, when to actually fire, archery is an complexed weaponry to master. The action scenes are impressively well staged  showing off the great skill need to be the perfect archer  as well as showcasing the deadly effect when you let loose an arrow with precise perfection. Nam Yi also uses the natural surroundings so well it was like winning football teams (soccer to Americans) praise their fans as been the 'twelve man' .

The film's plot is a very simple storyline, which has very little character development however that's not a negative thing in War Of Arrows. The first half of the film we learn what we need to know about Nam Yi, his sister and who is their friends and who is the enemies, been an period drama also War of The Arrows never overpowers you with historical facts making sure the view knows this is an action film not a history lesson. It's also  nice to see a blockbuster film not waste all its budget at CGI which films need these days but not every single part to be computerised, just here and there like the arrows themselves. CGI is used tastefully here however one blimp on the radar has to be the surprise cameo of the tiger which really didn't add much value to the film apart from a rest-bite for Nam Yi to escape.

After watching this film, no longer will South Korean film be seen as the place for dark twisted  revenge thriller as period based action blockbusters have now been added to the list. War of The Arrows is an engaging , exciting film which will keep you on the edge of your seat, which at 2 hours long may look on paper a long film which actually feels a lot shorter. Great individual performances, but most of all the film showcases the deadly power of archery, it's just a shame many world cinema films never reach a cinema screen this side of the world , because if you where to truly appreciate War of The Arrows it would be stting in front of a giant projection screen at your local cinema.

Paul Devine

Director:Han-min Kim
Cast: Hae-il Park, Seung-yong Ryoo, Chae-won Moon, Mu-Yeol Kim 
Buy War Of The ArrowsBlu-ray/ DVD

War of the Arrows - Official Cine Asia Trailer Published via LongTail.tv

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