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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 20 December 2009
Superb film this. Funny, and ropey in places like they all are, but action packed and flying what nots everywhere, but it works, and brilliantly. A beautiful and deadly warrior woman, Soha, searches for and finds the last remaining member of the royal family, and sets herself to protect him and remind him who he is, and was. Superb acting from all and particularly the prince Jung-Hyun, Lee Seo Jin. Action and mysterious death moves abound as they fight their way to destiny and some wonderful and emotional secrets revealed. Epic, occasionally funny, and, well, just a great way to spend a couple of hours. Recommended.
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on 9 March 2010
OK. I won't gloss over the negatives. The story line is a bit fragmented and there is not a tonne of dialogue (but I find this of most oriental films and and it had more than some of them, think hero, or 7 swords). The bloody deaths were a bit unnecessary but to each their own. Also, the use of flight, its all right but I would prefer if they were just defying gravity a bit.
Good points, well, despite saying that the story line is fragmented, it is there, and there is a nice, sentimental, piece of back story for the two heroes. Fight scenes are pretty good, and I respect the lack of a romantic link between the two main characters when it would have been so easy to do, I feel it would have ruined the film.
I loved it. Was pleasantly surprised, and its great to see a film based on Korean history and opposed to Chinese for once.
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Having watched a few Korean historical dramas. - Dae Jang Geum, Hur Jun, Dong YI, it was not surprising to encounter another Korean historical epic that was as inspiring as it was moving. This is a movie, therefore not as detailed as the usual 50 or 60 episode drama, but the story was beautifully told and easy to understand. There was a lot of hidden depth and life lessons in this movie. The martial arts scenes were classic. I liked the female warrior - SOHA. Her loyalty and sense of duty in protecting the crown prince and escorting him back to ascend the throne and become a king for their people was inspiring and heart warming. She embodied and lived the saying -there can be no fulfilment of duty without loyalty both of which swing in love. She was simply awesome.I must admit it took my watching it a second time to fully appreciate how good this movie really is. Of course the senseless killing in some of the scenes were a bit too much for me, however if in 927AD this was a historical fact in Balhae then I would rather it was depicted accurately. This DVD has special features; the language is Korean with very good English subtitles.
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on 15 June 2009
I didn't plan on writing a review for this product but wanting to see what other people had said I had a look and thought that this film needed a constructive review. however I am very tired so I'm not sure if that's what you will get! but hey! I will try!
The visuals in this film are quite breathtaking and simply stunning to look at, the cinematographer has certainly got it spot on, as with most of these films, and for me, this is what kept me watching the film after I realized that the plot wasn't going to get any better.
I am all for fantasy martial arts, ala crouching tiger, the flying on rooftops etc doesn't bother me, (I just pretend it is an ancient kung fu style) however this film was too a little too silly for my liking, and there were also too many plot-holes and certain aspects didn't fit, for example the main female character of the movie ends up falling for the "prince" that she is escorting, (trust me I haven't spoiled anything for you, it was obvious) however there is nothing to like about him, he is not good looking, there is no chemistry between them, he doesn't do anything that would make her like or even love him, it just doesn't fit? when you are watching "house of flying daggers" their love is believable, I know that sounds corny, but it's true, and that's why it had an impact on me, (I still cry every time I watch it!) but the love in this film is rather weak and non-convincing, as a result the film falls apart for me, because if you don't believe that she loves him or he indeed loves her back, then the reasoning behind their actions doesn't make sense.
Another thing that annoyed me or rather ruined the film for me was the way the bad guys just sprung up out of no-where, for example in one scene, they had fled the baddies and were in some underwater cavern type place and woah and behold the bad guy springs up out of the water to fight them! It was so stupid I wanted to turn it off there and then. Or there are times when the baddies are waiting for them on ahead etc.
I think the main problem with the baddies is that there is no tension built up, instead of biting your nails and feeling pannicked, your just like, "oh, there's another bad guy" it's just that simple.
Then the fight scenes, ah the fight scenes, well I wouldn't call them that, rather cheat scenes, instead of seeing some fine choreographed artistry what we get are a multitude of camera angles, that constantly change to give the impression of action, and some extreme close-ups of...wait for it...A FOOT CHANGING POSITION! WOW! or...wait for it...A HEAD TURN! amazing! it does get annoying after a while...

The film definitely looks stylish and has an expensive quality feel to it, but it's definitely a case of style over substance, there is nothing moving or deep about it although it tries to be, you may have been looking at "the restless" or "the promise" if you are looking at this, and with those films at least we know they are fantasy and are not taking themselves too seriously so they tend to get away with the style over substance thing, but as this wants to be a serious and epical film it just doesn't cut it. there's nothing there, it's like buying a hot dog, but finding there's no meat in the middle when you take a bite.

Get it if you want to see for yourself or just to take in the lush visuals, maybe if you haven't seen any other wuxia film then you'll like it more, but when there are films such as house of flying daggers, curse of the golden flower, hero, etc out there then you really don't need to bother with this.

Also check out the warlords that's pretty good, and An empress and a warlord, (something along those lines) looks decent but I haven't watched it yet, will review it when I have!

Thanks for reading. x
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on 6 December 2009
Cinematographically excellent. Martial arts choreography also top class. I agree with other reviewers that the main characters had to work hard with an unimaginative plot but this might be a culture blindness on my part. For me a classic that I will watch again and no doubt see more each time.
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on 5 October 2014
This is a very good period Korean film at a time of conflict between various "clans" as to who would be king with a son whose father was executed by a deceased king for insurrection now in collusion with rebels to kill everyone of royal descent and to establish his own kingdom. The last surviving prince in hiding is protected by an excellent soldier as she brings him to meet his loyal subjects with the killer clan on their heels and being betrayed by his friends they have a number of adventures as the Prince re-discovers his true nature. This disc with Korean / German language and German subtitles does not have English subtitles but a blu-ray disc of this film from Bit Wel (aTaiwanese company) does.
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on 17 September 2009
One of the best martial arts films I have seen . Anyone who loved the 'Water Margin' on T.V will probably love this film , because in some respects it's like a modernised , hi-tech version of that series ; featuring male and female heroes and villains performing unlikely feats of physical prowess and skill in the story of a 'power struggle' set in the 'middle ages' of the orient .
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on 13 November 2012
Great action film, excellent photography and a fine cast of actors. Love films of this nature, and the asian cinema seems to be able to get all this without the massive amounts of money that goes into Hollywood. I am always interested in this type of film especially when there is a female lead. Apart from their acting skills, they carry their beauty with them and this shows even when they are put under pressure from their acting. Will look for more of the same as it comes along, although I have already an extensive collection of Martial Arts films
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on 23 April 2011
After watching and loving the Korean martial-arts movie Bichunmoo I couldn't wait to see that director's next movie "The Legend Of The Shadowless Sword". Unfortunately I had to wait years before this was released in the UK but I can say I was happily not disappointed.

As a rule I'm not fond of lots of wirework, gravity-defying martial-arts and the fantasy elements in films like this and Bichunmoo but there are always a few very good exceptions. I won't tell you that I think the fight sequences are anything special, they are decent for this type of film. I will say that they serve the plot and story very well .

It's really the story, the characters and the acting that makes this a very good film (much like Bichunmoo which I would highly recommend if you haven't already seen it). I found myself getting caught up in the story and caring very much for the characters.

Also just like Bichunmoo this movie has some lovely cinematography making so much of this film look great to the eye. Basically if you like films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Hero; House of Flying Daggers etc etc This should be right up your street.
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This Korean entry to the eastern cinema's wonderful catalogue of fantasy/historical epics is in my view an instant classic. Visually astonishing, it isn't let down by poor plotting. The characters are vibrant, played superbly, and the viewer actually cares about them; you are not simply waiting for the next action setpiece. Not that it fails to provide in the action line, with some splendidly choreographed battles. But this film manages to be more than just exciting, it is funny, touching, and thoughtful. Great entertainment.
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