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DVD Reviews: Bichunmoo                                   Genre: World Movies: Korean: Action

The Final Say!

Review Score
Reviewed by Sacha Chambers
Review Date: August 2004
Distributed by:
Madman Entertainment
Running Time: 118 mins





  One of the great things about watching a film you know is bad when you hire it, is that you can revel in the sheer crappiness of it. You have no expectations that you will see anything of quality so you can relax and just laugh.  Bichunmoo is one of these films in which you can revel in said crappiness, but unfortunately the slick advertising deceives you into thinking you have a good film on your hands. This deception leads to a huge feeling of letdown when you realize how bad the film is, which colors the rest of your viewing experience.  

  Bichunmoo is plagued with mind numbing clichés, transparent dialogue, bad characterizations, a shockingly bad score and sets that are far too clinical and obvious to ring true.   The hero (Jin-Ha) is the gimpiest one on record, with an emotional acting range that a newborn could better (think current model Michael Jackson pretending he could wield a sword and slay some baddies).

  The purported villain (Namgung) doesn’t really act like a villain, and when the real villains do actually show their colors, they come from out of leftfield making a mockery of the plotlines witnessed to this point.     

   Bichunmoo tells the story of Jim-Ha who is love with his childhood sweetheart, Sullie.  They are in 14th century China, where Sullie is a concubines daughter who is promptly taken away from the idyllic existence they share to a capital city far away.   There she is courted by Namgung (the purported villain) who learns of Jin-Ha’s love for Sullie and eventually sets out to murder him with the help of an army.  Sullie believing him to be dead marries Namgung.   Jin-Ha has or course survived and comes back stronger, eventually taking over Namgung’s compound and exacting revenge with his black caped warriors in tow.  Sullies son (which is actually his own progeny), swears to claim vengeance on him, not realizing he is actually his own dad.  Eventually Jin-Ha overcomes his oppressors, saves the day and reconciles with his son.     

 On the back of the DVD cover it paraphrases someone who has previewed this film.  This paraphrase ends with “this is on par with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I was in floods of tears.”    I have to say that  I too,  was  in floods of tears at the end of the movie, but tears of anger that such an obviously lacking film could even be remotely compared with one of the greatest films of the genre.   I understand that the marketers are obliged to paint their film in the most positive light, but this was a little excessive and downright insulting to viewers who know their movies.  

  There is one good point to this film, and this the fight scenes.  They are crisp, interesting, varied, and spectacular. There are some great wire scenes, especially on the river, but later in film it gets to a point where the wire work almost feels like its being done for the sake of it, rather than for any purpose. This small gripe aside the fight scenes by themselves are worth 6/10 as a score for this feature.  Unfortunately nothing exists in a vacuum and this mark is dragged down by the rest of the film to the final tally of 4/10

   Given a help with scripting, more attention to realistic scenes, and time to develop his cinematic style, the writer/director KIM YOUNG-JUN may possibly redeem himself and produce a film that will really turn heads.  I get the feeling that somewhere in the future KIM, may well produce a film which would be compared favourably to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Until that day, watch this film with your fingers on the fast forward button and the sound off.


16:9 Anamorphic widescreen.  I cannot fault the reproduction for this film, it is flawless with some of the cleanest, brightest colors I have ever seen. Job well done!


Korean 5.1 and 2.0 only, with English subtitles on and off.   

  This is by far one of the worst soundtracks you will ever hear. The soundtrack sounds like a very very bad American-made-for-TV-special with the music being far too clichéd, and overbearing.  When I say overbearing, this is because the music detracts from what is going on with the scene, it is either too loud, or just really inappropriate.    Good music selection should enhance the experience, complementing what else is happening on screen. This just does not happen anywhere in this film.

   The ambient effects for the movie itself were pretty good, it’s just a shame they are overshadowed by the score.


It seems a fair but of work went into these extras, with some really useful and interesting extras.

 - Open the Eye: this feature has a red eye coming up on your screen during the movie which if you select it you get to see that scene again with out sound and colour enhancements. Interesting.

 - Film highlights- a recap and further explanation of what went on in the film

 - CG clips: how the computer generated clips were made from actual shooting to finished product. 

 - Music Video- See AUDIO section for details

 - Theatrical trailer- This trailer is very good, and full credit to everyone involved for making this film look interesting and exciting.

 - Easter Eye trailers- EE montage, Princess Blade, Infernal Affairs, Volcano High, The Grudge.

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