With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

MEMORIES OF THE SWORD reviewed; streets today

Well Go USA
Memories of the Sword / Hyeomnyeo: Kar-ui gi-eok
Directed by PARK Heung-Sik
South Korea, 2015, 120 minutes

Memories of the Sword  is a fine swordplay revenge tale that makes its home video debut on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD today, Tuesday, January 12, 2016 from Well Go USA Entertainment. I watched the Blu-ray version.

Directed by PARK Heung-Sik Children of Heaven) the film is set during Goryeo Dynasty (918–1392), when "tea, riots, and swords ruled the land." Hong-yi (KIM Go-eun (Coin Locker Girl, A Muse) is a young woman with a mission, namely to avenge the deaths of her parents years earlier.

Pung-chun, her father, was one of the Three Great Swords who led a revolt on behalf of the people. His sword set goals. The other two leaders were Duk-gi (LEE Byubg-hun, War of the Arrows), whose sword gave protection and helped achieve the goals, and Sul-rang (JEON Do-yeon (Secret Sunshine), whose sword fought injustice. Duk-gi and Sul-rang also were dear lovers.

In a fierce battle, Pang-chun captured LEE Jon-bok, the son of the local governor. When the Three Swords confronted the governor with their petition on behalf of the commoners, an act of betrayal resulted in the death of Pung-chun and his wife, and the apparent death of Hong-yi.

But she survived and was raised in the martial arts by a blind woman who, besides being a master tea brewer, was also a swordmaster. Hong-yi, unable to resist an opportunity to demonstrate her martial prowess, disguises herself as a man and enters a competition. This brings her to the attention of General Yu-baek, formerly known as Duk-gi. He has suspicions about this mysterious warrior, suspicions that threaten to reveal Hong-yi's true identity and prevent her from achieving her goal.

There are several fine action scenes, some of which employ wire-work. At times these approach the graceful elegance of similar wire-work in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and at other times they resemble classical wire-fu from Hong Kong martial arts films of the '60s and '70s.

Disc Specs:
-- Audio Options
   -- Korean 5.1 DTS HDMA
   -- Korean 2.0 Stereo
-- Subtitle Options
   -- English
   -- Off
-- Extras
   -- Trailer
   -- Previews
      -- The Assassin
      -- Assassination
      -- Kundo

AsianCineFest Rating: 3 out of 4 stars, a good, solid swordplay revenge tale with a nice surprise twist at the end.

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