Sunday, August 5, 2007

Bichunmoo (Korea 2000)

The story for Bichunmoo (비천무) is nothing new. A lower-class man falls in love with an upper-class woman and everything seems to be against them being together. The man's parents were killed by her father, and in typical martial-arts movie fashion, the lower-class man knows a , "strong, secret martial-art". The film stars Hyeon-jun Shin as Yu Jinha, who later becomes Jahalang, and Hee-seon Kim as Sullie. They story also follows the typical, "hero's journey", meaning that Jinha starts off being ignorant, yet possessing great power, and after suffering the loss of his parents, he gains the wisdom he so desperately needed. However, Jinha himself dies after Sullie's father sends out a "kill order" on him. Jinha crosses water, having fallen from a waterfall, and is re-born as Jahalang. He seeks revenge on all of those who have wronged him and vows to be with the woman he loves.

First off, the fighting in Bichunmoo is actually pretty good. They do a lot of original things that are normally not seen in live-action movies, such as hitting their swords on the ground resulting in the earth splitting. I'd also like to point out the costumes used in the film, as they seemed to blend in a way that gave the film a slightly cartoon-like feel, yet seemed to fit the era being depicted. The love story angle is often too dominant in the overall story, and to be honest, it isn't very engaging. In fact, I'd say it's better to just ignore the love story since Hee-seon Kim, as Sullie, doesn't give a very strong performance anyways. Hyeon-jun Shin, on the other hand, does a fine job playing Jinha, even if Hyeon-jun probably wasn't the best fit for the films lead. Even though there's not a whole lot or originality in Bichunmoo, I'd recommend it to martial-arts fans based on the fight scenes alone. (CBDustin)

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