Monday, August 25, 2008

Musa the Warrior review

In 1375 China, the new Ming dynasty is still troubled by the previous Mongol Yuan regime. Korea sends a group of soldiers and delegates to make peace with the new empire and they are labeled as spies and exiled into the desert. While marching, Yuan soldiers kill the Ming, but spare the Koreans leaving them free but trapped in the desert. After discovering the Yuan are holding a Ming princess captive, and with little choice for getting home, the Koreans decide they must save the princess to get home safely.

The Good?
Technically, this film is quite involving with its stark yellow color palette and breathtaking desert cinematography. The audience joins the group on their journey in this world engulfed in a pale, yellow hue from the sand to the sky and water.

A handful of memorable characters in the group with striking conflicts, from Jung Woo-sung as a skilled spearman slave with no master, to Ahn Sung-kee as a low ranking expert archer who has more charisma and authority over the group than the actual general in charge, played by Ju Jin-mo.

Great fight scenes with a grittier, historical edge that recalls Gladiator and Lawrence of Arabia .When the likable characters are involved in the action, it’s an exciting ride.

The Bad?
Sadly, there are only a few memorable characters, while the rest of the traveling group is simply fodder for the Yuan army to slice through. We have little sympathy for most of the other Korean soldiers.

While there is some good development for a couple key characters, the flaws are prevalent among the others and make for an uneven viewing. As a result, the movie lacks the heart of Lawrence or Gladiator because we aren’t nearly as invested in the fates of most of these characters, and the ending is not as effective as it could be.


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