This film does deliver what it claims to - a fun, action-packed, light-hearted fantasy adventure. The cast are excellent, the music and visuals equally so. The fight scenes are more about style than martial arts, but they still manage to deliver satisfying thrills, and I found the CGI perfectly okay. There are fewer demons than I expected, but since they are worthy opponents for Woochi, I soon got over that. The blu ray version is extremely high quality on visuals and sound, and the content merits the treatment. A really lively, joyously OTT fantasy you can enjoy with all the family (as long as they can read the subtitles, of course).
on 31 May 2011
After stumbling upon a link while reading up on another piece of asian cinema on imdb, I spoke to a friend who knew a little about the genre who had an asian copy of the film and he convinced me to borrow it and give it a go.
I did, and found it to be a very well acted, scripted, and choreographed film with a surprisingly warm and funny tone. I was very impressed, and immediately came to azmazon to order the UK version of the blu-ray. I enjoyed it that much.
I called a few friends to organise a viewing, and after getting them all suitably excited we sat down to watch the film. Well, I can't tell you how disappointed I was.
Around 20 minutes of film has been cut. And this isn't inconsequential footage, these are scenes taken that obscure the narrative flow of the story to the point of it becoming absolutely incoherent in places.
Scenes which act as reference points later in the film for some of the more profound moments are arbitrarily cut; entire transitions from place to place are shortened so it makes little sense at times why the characters are where they are; whole characters who act as linchpins for certain reveals later on regarding others are forgotten.
How others who've only watched the UK version of this film can say it's anything but an incoherent mess is beyond me. I scoured the DVD hoping to find a full directors cut on the disc, but instead only found a few of the scenes missing in the Deleted extras section.
I've no idea why these cuts were made, as they've ruined what was a wonderful piece of lighthearted asian fantasy and turned it into what amounts to little more in quality than a Capcom cut scene from one of their lesser known franchise titles. If you don't get the video game reference, this is not a good thing.
Woochi is a really good film, but avoid the UK version and instead look for the 136 minute cut if you can find it.
The original version is titled 'Woochi: The Taoist Wizard'. Look for that instead.
on 1 June 2013
Long ago there were demons locked in the heavens guarded by a person playing a magic flute. The demons escaped and came to earth in human form, the flute likewise came to earth. The demons are in human form looking for the flute. Meanwhile there are two rival Tao groups after the flute wanting to contain the demons.
The story becomes complex. One "self taught" Tao Master in Jeon Woo-chi (Dong-won Kang) who likes to play tricks and seeks fame against the basic Tao code. There is also a woman who doesn't like needle work, and a man who acts as Woo-Chi's horse, but is really a dog. There are three Shinsuns who work for the opposing Tao master. Oh yeah, there is a bronze sword too.
The film contains magic and illusion. It freely mixes the two. It takes place 500 years in the past and the present. It has magician battles, gravity defying moves, CG monster effects, and some humor. The modern Woo-Chi assumes the clothes of the "King of Pop."
The English translation sounded like a bad spaghetti western. The deleted scenes are in Korean with subtitles available. Like many eastern films, it is easy to lose yourself in the characters and story so you must pay attention. This film isn't for everyone.
Parental Guide: No f-bombs, sex, or nudity. soft 4 stars
on 4 April 2011
Woochi - The Demon Slayer (AKA The Taoist Wizard) Review by Robin Solomon
I first saw the trailer for Woochi - The Demon Slayer while I was staying in South Korea in 2009, I was in a Busan cinema just about to watch yet another stunning South Korean film `Sword with No Name', which has also been released by Cine Asia in 2010. Woochi instantly had me excited and when I heard it was getting the Cine Asia treatment the excitement doubled!
The movie takes place in both the Joseon era and modern day South Korea, and tells the story of an undisciplined wizard, Jeon Woochi played by the fabulous Kang Dong-won (M, Duelist) who, with his awesome and hilarious human/dog/horse companion, Chorangyi played by the always brilliant Yu Hae-jin (The Warrior, Public Enemy trilogy), are on the hunt for a magical mirror and bronze dagger, but end up fighting to save the world-of-the-future from chaos. The first scene of the movie sets out the story brilliantly, telling us how an Archgod had blew a magical flute for 3000 days to repress the Goblins in a dark underground prison, on the 3000th day the door to the prison must be opened, but due to the miscalculations of 3 Taoist gods, the door was opened a day early which leads to the evil inside of the Goblins to reawaken and take the magical flute from the Archgod.
The flute ends up in the hands of Woochi's master, Baek Yun-shik (Art of Fighting, Save the Green planet), who is murdered by Hwa-dam another famous wizard, played by Kim Yun-seok (The Chaser, Tazza) Hwa-dam was after the flute, which is now with Woo-chi who then returns to his masters home only to be confronted by the 3 Taoist gods who accuse Woochi of killing his master and taking the flute, so the Taoist gods seal Woochi and Chorangyi, with the flute, in a painting which will keep earth at peace for 500 years, but Hwadam has now gone missing. The movie then switches to modern day Korea where Goblins have gotten loose and have taken over the bodies of 2 humans who start to cause havoc in Seoul City. Here we again meet the 3 Taoist gods, a Buddhist monk played by one of my favourite actors, Song Young-chang (The Good The Bad The Weird, Nowhere to hide) a Shamen, Joo Jin-mo (Tazza, Righteous Ties) and a Priest, Kim Sang-ho (She's on Duty, Tazza). They decide to release Woochi and Chorangyi to stop the Goblins and save the world.
Woochi - The demon slayer shows just how far Korean cinema has come over the last 10 years, with a big budget of 12million US dollars and an all-star cast of some of the best actors and actresses in the Korean film and drama business. The CGI is excellent, with the exception of a few scenes, the fight with the CGI goblin at the beginning looks a little bit fake for example. I especially like the bit when Woochi uses a painting of an archer to fire an arrow and also the water vs fire moment when he is fighting Hwadam, top stuff! Don't expect a lot of great Martial Art scenes from this movie though, the fights scenes are made to look very stylish and can, in some ways, be compared to the fight scenes in `Duelist', where they are more like a dance. It's not a bad thing as it fits well for this kind of movie.
The film is also very funny, especially Woochi's intro scene where he pretends to be a heavenly god and casts a spell on the King and his men, this scene had me in stitches to the point where I actually had to pause the film to try to calm down. The film is really well written and directed by Choi Dong-hun (Tazza) and very easy to follow. It almost feels like a Terry Pratchett story, similar to `Colour of Magic' with its 3 bumbling Wizards and other superb characters who all have a part to play in the story.
Woochi - The Demon Slayer is the type of film you can whack on one evening, get sucked in to, be wowed by its amazing action scenes and CGI, fall in love with the characters, laugh out load and not have to think too much. It is quite simply a very fun film which will appeal to UK audiences in the same way it did with the far eastern audience. a brilliant 4 out of 5.
Picture quality and special features: The picture quality is beautiful and very crisp, exactly what you expect from a Cine Asia DVD/Blu Ray, and the menu lay out is very easy to navigate. I didn't have all the special features to watch, but the deleted scenes are pretty good and the audio commentary from Bey Logan and Mike leeder is second to none, very interesting. The special features on the final package, released on the 25th April, look very good indeed.
on 30 April 2011
If you like your action with a little humour, like Kung Fu Hustle or The Good, The Bad, The Weird - then this film is for you!!
I was thoroughly entertained throughout the 2 hours and highly recommend this Blu-Ray. Picture & sound quality is superb, and is a worthy addition to your Blu-Ray collection.
My one and only grumble is the CGI. The demon rats/rabbits (thankfully) have little screen time, but when they appeared I was very disappointed with the CGI, especially when the cover of the Blu-Ray promises "Amazing Special Effects"!! But that is a minor grumble.
on 16 November 2011
I bought this primarily after seeing the trailer, but I wish I hadn't bothered. What on earth is it all about? I know it concerns a wizard and his apprentice, a Pipe and ratty or bunny demons, but the whole thing is presented in such a sloppy confusing way that I had to turn it off half way through to try and make sense of it all. It jerks around alarmingly from past to present, from one character to another, the continuity is awful and the story needs to have been edited drastically before presentation.
It could have been a lot funnier than it was, the Woochi character was an annoying little tit, whilst the baddies had far too little screen time. Very slickly made, but a mess for all that. Overall, a great disappointment.
P.S.......the extras are a drag too.
on 5 August 2012
As an avid follower of Japanese and Korean fare, i was still surprised by this gem of a movie. Killing demons is common fare to storylines from this region, but while most stay in a medieval setting, this story brings the ancient pratagonists into our age. A setting as surprising to the bemused Taoist Gods, demon slayers and demons, as it is amusing for the audience. Combined with a light touch, and a real sense of humour, the whole is a very entertaining and recommended two hours.
on 7 March 2013
Having tried and liked a few south Korean films about the Korean war,I thought I'd try this after viewing the trailer. However, I found it to be confusing, disjointed, frenetic, slapstick unfunny and spolit by cartoony unrealistic CGI effects! Luckily I brought this Blu-ray Used - although after just about sitting through this lifeless mish-mash, I might just sell it on again. Not a film for me that merits a future repeat viewing!