Review: War of the Arrows-Choi-jong-byeong-gi Hwal (2011)


Directed by: Han-min Kim | 118 minutes | action, history | Actors: Hae-il Park, Seung-yong Ryoo, Chae-won Moon, Mu-Yeol Kim, Han-wi Lee, Kyeong-yeong Lee, Gi-woong Park, Rye Hei Otani, Gu-taek Kim, Eunjin Kang, Seung -joon Lee, Jae-goo Lee, No-shik Park, Da-wit Lee, Min-seo Jeon, Jo Sin-je

The at times intense action drama “War of the Arrows” by director Kim Han-min is characterized by the almost 122 minutes of high tension. Chase accumulates new chase, and the plot developments remain unpredictable until the last minute. It is an impressive achievement by the director in his only third feature.

Central to the film are the master archer Nam-yi and his sister Ja-in. In 17th century Korea, their village is raided by troops from Manchuria. Ja-in is kidnapped, after which Nam-yi and his sister’s lover organize a manhunt to free Ja-in.

What is particularly striking about the film is the excellent cinematography, which means that arrows sometimes just pass the camera, and the great editing in the chase scenes. Similar to the figures that are chasing or being chased, the film alternately shows an overview. The fight scenes are alternated in terms of intense action with the equally intense looks; yearning for each other or the penetrating gaze of an archer who may or may not grant mercy to his nemesis, thereby sealing his fate and honor. It greatly enhances the excitement of “War of the Arrows”, and the film distinguishes itself from the many other Asian martial arts films of recent years. At a rapid pace, “War of the Arrows” presents itself as a welcome change; the swords and bare-fisted martial arts are largely alternated for the bow and arrow work, which with great sound effects (music is almost non-existent) gives the impression that you are in the middle of a Korean forest among the archers breaks down.

The first 45 minutes of the film, Kim Han-min takes the time to properly express the honor and emotions of his protagonist. This makes the action that follows later even better, faster and more intense. Great exciting entertainment.