Here you will find reviews of Korean action/adventure films. Please click on the picture or title, and you will be taken to the review.

The Admiral: Roaring Currents (명량)

The Admiral: Roaring Currents (명량)

The Admiral: Roaring Currents (명량) – ★★★☆☆

The Admiral: Roaring Currents is the most financially successful Korean film of all time. Director Kim Han-min’s war-drama featuring revered Admiral Yi Sun-shin is nothing short of a cinematic sensation. The film itself however, while a well-made historical actioner, suffers from a poor script, weak characterisation and over-zealous nationalism, combining to make The Admiral less of a war epic and more of an entertaining matinee.”

Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon (AKA War of the Arrows) (최종병기 활)

Arrow, Ultimate Weapon(최종병기활)

 Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon (최종병기 활) – ★★★☆☆

Arrow The Ultimate Weapon is an incredibly enjoyable action/adventure film that rises above most other examples of the genre thanks to the ingenuity of director Kim Han-min, who offers refreshing takes on generic conventions. The cynical reviewer would no doubt call Arrow a ‘commercial’ film, a label that Kim Han-min openly detests, preferring instead ‘popular’ film. The director is correct – it is indeed popular and fun, and is well worth watching.”

The City of Violence (짝패)

The City of Violence (짝패)

The City of Violence (짝패) – ★★★☆☆

The City of Violence is an unapologetic homage to classic action films and while there is a certain level of nostalgic enjoyment to be had, the film suffers from predictability. The final act is where the skills of the director and cast shine however, crafting an incredibly entertaining finale that finishes on a high note.

Duelist (형사)

Duelist (형사)

Duelist (형사) – ★★★★☆

“For cineastes with an appreciation of the aesthetics of cinema, Duelist is an incredible treat with its sumptuous visualization of the Joseon Dynasty era and the gendered role reversal of the leading protagonists. Director Lee Myeong-se has crafted an elegant alternative martial arts film, making Duelist one of the most impressive contributions to the genre.”

Fist of Legend (전설의 주먹)

Fists of Legend (전설의 주먹)

Fists of Legend (전설의 주먹) – ★★★☆☆

Fists of Legend, by veteran director Kang Woo-seok, is an odd action film that attempts to combine the themes within RockyWarrior and Korean classic Friend, in depicting a fighting tournament for middle-aged men. Yet with clunky dialogue, awful over-acting and an overly-long running time, the film doesn’t achieve anything near the films from which it takes inspiration.”

KUNDO: Age of the Rampant (군도:민란의 시대)

KUNDO: Age of the Rampant (군도:민란의 시대)

KUNDO: Age of the Rampant (군도:민란의 시대) – ★★★☆☆

KUNDO: Age of the Rampant is a record-breaking tentpole film of 2014 by director Yoon Jong-bin. Boasting hugely impressive production and costume design as well as a host of capable actors, KUNDO is ultimately let down by a haphazard narrative structure, an insane amount of supporting characters, and a story that is hard to invest in. KUNDO is an enjoyable, though unchallenging, viewing experience.”

Musa - The Warrior (무사)

Musa – The Warrior (무사)

Musa – The Warrior (무사) – ★★★☆☆

“Musa – The Warrior stands out as an interesting wuxia-western fusion, one which is consistently stunning due to the visual ambition of director Kim Sung-su. Yet aside from featuring impressive attention to detail and kinetic action sequences, the simplistic, overly long narrative doesn’t match the epic qualities of what’s onscreen.”

Quick (퀵)

Quick (퀵)

Quick (퀵) – ★★☆☆☆

Quick is a mediocre action comedy. With some entertaining stunt work and fun set-pieces Quick is a fast paced, however the film is weighed down by excessive narrative tangents and protagonists, and the resulting lack of character development detracts from creating empathy with the leads and portraying the intensity of their situation.”

R2B: Return to Base (R2B: 리턴투베이스)

R2B: Return to Base (R2B: 리턴투베이스)

R2B: Return to Base (AKA Soar Into The Sun) (R2B: 리턴투베이스) – ★★☆☆☆

R2B: Return to Base desperately wants to be ‘the Korean Top Gun’, and succeeds in as much as containing some entertaining aerial sequences that convey the speed and danger of aerial dogfights. Yet such sparse combat scenes cannot hide the vacuous, TV drama-esque narrative and stereotypes that dominate most of the running time.”

The Target (표적)

The Target (표적)

The Target (표적) – ★★★☆☆

The Target is a remake of French thriller Point Blank by director Chang, and while he has constructed an entertaining action-thriller it’s one that fades from memory relatively easily. With competent yet uninspired action sequences, The Target is an enjoyable action romp yet one that misses the mark.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s