Sword and Flower

Sword and Flower (2013)

Your Rating:
Ratings: 6.3/10 from 535 users
Reviews: 11 users

Knife and Flower, an action/spy/romance drama, is set in the Koguryo period. It is about how Moo Seol, the daughter of King Young Ryu, falls in love with Yeon Choong, the child Yeon Gaesomun had with a concubine. But Moo Young debates whether she should have her revenge, as Yeon Gaesomun is the man who killed her father.

Yeon Choong, was born between a father of noble blood and a servant mother. read moreDespite his talent, he finds he cannot rise higher in rank due to the fact that he is a concubine′s son. He is later ordered by his father to kill the person he loves, he defies his father’s orders to murder the daughter and travels between his love for his prey and his fealty towards his father.

  • Native title:

    칼과 꽃
  • Also Known as:

    The Blade And Petal; Kalgwa ggot; Knife And Flower

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22 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Sep 7, 2013
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
Shades of history mingle with Shakespeare in this exquisite drama depicting the final days of Gorguryeo. Knife and Flower may not be for everyone, judging by low ratings and apparent lack of online buzz. But for those who love divine cinematography, tremendous acting, or stories made beautiful by the telling, don't miss out. This is a sageuk wholly unique from others in its genre. Be forewarned the first episode is shockingly bad; read more everything in this drama seems experimental in one way or another, but the initial offering equates to the lab exploding just before the scientist achieves unexpected success.

What makes Knife and Flower most alluring will be cinematography. Only full length films can compare with the high quality and artistic direction which can be seen in this drama. Occasionally I tilted my head at an edit, but these moments can be counted on one hand. The world looks deep and authentic, though colors dictate mood and atmosphere. And how about the action scenes, you ask? More than impressive, since most of the actors appear trained and capable.

Like the introduction implies, Knife and Flower marries literary archetypes to elements of reality. Many characters actually existed and several events portrayed actually took place (albeit embellished for dramatic effect). The historical backdrop imparts solid atmosphere, bolstering weaknesses with varying potency. I loved how brutality and unrest, definitive of the times, was neither gratuitous nor shied from; the elegance of the story shines because of the deep tragedy marking it. Some problems exist, admittedly. As in Romeo and Juliet, the love line begins dubiously due to chemistry. The entirety of the "Golden Flower Agency" felt underdeveloped, despite its necessity to plot motion. Execution of the time skip initially had me frowning. In the end, everything comes to maturation with surprising clarity and beauty. The viewer will doubtlessly be bitten and drawn in before they even realize.

Performances in Knife and Flower are incredible, many perhaps even award worthy. Choi Min Soo, in his turn as infamous Yun Gae So Mun, hits the master class. He is mysterious, compelling, and intimidating; if a glance could kill, the entire region would drop dead. But the nuance Choi brings to the role could make even the real thing proud. Uhm Tae Woong and Kim Ok Bin are masters of speaking with the eyes. Reserved silence is required of them, but what isn't said is almost as powerful as the implicit. Others of note include No Min Woo (Nam Sang, of beautiful appearance and withered heart) and Ohn Joo Wan (Bo Jang, a more sympathetic echo of Hamlet).

Music must enhance, not get in the way. After the quirked eyebrow misses of the first episode, the soundtrack honestly excels at this. Orchestrations hit the right notes, especially those tied to suspenseful or moving scenes. Wax provides the tearful anthem "Dear Love," and with lyrics so lovely, whether or not it played meant the difference between dry and wet eyes.
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13 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Sep 14, 2013
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 5.0
I liked Sword and Flower aka Blade and Petal, but it's not for everyone. Though the romantic couple were important, romance was not. The driving force in this drama is a combination of revenge, political intrigue, and of course backstabbing. All 3 were done well. There was much about the production including the sword fights that reminded me of a Spaghetti Western or Wuxia series. It was a very good production with read more few glaringly obvious contiunity problems. I appreciated the cinematography espcially the angles and shots in a few scenes, the staging, and the costuming. The cast is good and solid, Even No Min Woo's (who seriously needs to gain weight) overacting of the crazy was entertaining. I think the supports, especially Choi Min Soo, Kim Sang Ho, and Ohn Joo Wan carried the series. The ending was lacklustre and strange, but appropriate with the somewhat artsy vibe of the series. Admittedly, it should have been different, but I guess they wanted to pay hommage to Shakespeare.

What I didn't like was the romance. The leads weren't charasmatic and lacked chemistry. They both were much better in scenes with other actors. Together, they were annoying. Uhm Tae Woong is a much better actor than what he was in this. They introduced a couple of really great characters in the last few episodes that should have been introduced earlier. The series would have been the better for it. A few scenes could have been a little tighter and crisper.

All in all, I am glad I watched Blade & Petal. I was looking for revenge & fighting and I got it. I would rewatch scenes, but not the entire series. If you read a synopsis and thought it would follow the classic Romeo & Juliet path with romance seeping out of it's pores, go back and read it again because you missed something. If you appreciate a talented cast and good (not great but good) writing, and a production in it's totality, give it a whirl.
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Comments (7)

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  • Reply
    MinaVIP Jan 23, 2017

    This drama is terribly bad ...like episode 1 is just staring....slow motion rotation camera, more Walking....staring...no talking. The same scene from 1000 different angles. I'm sorry if this is your favorite drama, but I just can't....it was just so so horrible in my opinion X_X

  • Reply
    Nana Mar 12, 2016

    ...If you wanna lose your time with a boring, unrealistic and super predictable drama. This one is for you.

    Even the edition is lame...

  • Reply
    Intimation Jun 20, 2015

    the beginning and ending of this show are so hilariously bad. I was addicted all the way though

  • Reply
    WEPserioja Jul 25, 2014 - edited
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      Weirdestone Apr 17, 2015
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      Intimation Jun 19, 2015 - edited
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    maboksan May 15, 2014

    I saw this drama in the underrated drama list by cheer, so I thought of giving a try. But it seems the score in MDL wasn't great and from the recommendation and comment quite opposite of what I thought after reading the article. So....should I give it a go or not...?

  • Reply
    soumatra Jan 10, 2014

    this drama have a lot of negative points but one of its positive ones is Choi Min-soo, his acting is really something else, he have such presence that without a word can give the chills lol

  • Reply
    Merong Nov 3, 2013

    Imho it's overrated,

    The script is unrealistic and childish. Take for instance the Geumhwadan, they are supposed to be a SECRET group of warriors protecting the royal family, but already at the beginning we know how many they are, who they are, their skills, temperaments even their romantic relationships, there is absolutely no mystery to make the plot more serious, let alone interesting.

    Fight choreography is mediocre.

    As for historicity it should be branded fantasy instead because they don't stick to Korean tradition of that epoch, it looks like a cake of leftovers, they picked cool things from many civilizations (Japanese, Chinese even Roman...)

    I pity the actors because no matter how good they are, the result sucks.

    • Reply
      DiaNine Nov 4, 2013

      How is it overrated when the ratings were so horrible?

    • Reply
      Merong Nov 4, 2013

      According to MDL scoring scale, Five which corresponds to "Average" is the least score given by the reviewers to this show, and user's scoring is 6.48, between fine and good, these ratings are far from "Horrible" which corresponds to two. Yet there are comments stating that it's underrated. Well, I don't think so.

    • Reply
      Merong Nov 4, 2013
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    Bladey Oct 14, 2013

    Seems underrated on MDL. Beautiful and intelligent but definitely not for everyone. If you don't like slow development, don't bother as this show takes a little while to develop as the director REALLY tries to focus on the feelings of characters through many intimate shots and a lot of attention paid to cinematography and camerawork. There is too much of it in the first two eps perhaps but it later becomes more balanced and the story picks up very soon. Otherwise develops as a genuine RomeoXJuliet story. Kim Ok Bin is a revelation to me. Other characters are very strong too. Great cast with some authenthic acting. If you're expecting another TPM, you better find another drama. This is unlike TPM. I find it superior to TPM in everything. Except they really overdid it at first with camerawork and some music choices may be surprising at first but later they kind of fit. Good story.

    • Reply
      bettyboo Oct 15, 2013

      Totally agree with you. I'm still not over it. But since historical dramas are not always full of romantic feelings and the plot is more about political battles, they can't be loved by everyone. Maybe some of the viewers should check (I do it mostly with wikipedia) about the historical events of the era and then they'd know more about the show and especially the characters portrayed in it.
      To really love a saegeuk based on real events I think you must know the story behind it.

    • Reply
      Bladey Oct 15, 2013
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      Bladey Oct 15, 2013
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    R1N7B Sep 18, 2013

    Just finished the whole series. I must say, this series is VERY under rated. Though it's not for every one, I'm glad I stuck through with it. Kim Ok Bin did not disappoint. :)

  • Reply
    Cheer Sep 15, 2013

    I will have to agree with everyone else: in the terms of cinematography and directing, this drama is top-notch. I knew that it was based on real events so I was expecting the ending and never mind it. I understand why this drama would be avoided but I don't agree with the low ratings.

  • Reply
    sunflower63 Sep 15, 2013

    I found out that this drama was based on real history only at the end of the last episode. I really thought this drama was beautiful mostly for the incredible cinematography, music and costumes. The acting was also brilliant but not so much that of the main leads as that of the General and other side characters like the evil Nam Saeng (I had never seen No Min Woo before and I can say that he was incredibly good at playing the villain here). Unfortunately this drama had low ratings in Korea probably owing to the fact that it was a different saeguk than usual and also that it was shown on the same days as TMS. I gave it a 9 mostly for how it was produced technically rather than for the story in itself which was in any case more romantic than many other saeguks seen before.

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    risingsun Sep 9, 2013
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    knightwalker Sep 8, 2013

    the ending is horrible ><

  • Reply
    mazingerhunter Sep 7, 2013

    The ending...I can't even. O_o

  • Reply
    Razar Sep 7, 2013

    I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this show. The first two episodes didn't catch your attention as much because it was executed differently then other historical Korean dramas which left a bad first impression. I dropped it and resumed because of No Min Woo. I really liked his character because it's dark and edgy which made me anticipate to see what he will do next. It was different, but not for everyone.


  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

  • Episodes:

  • Aired:

    Jul 3, 2013 to Sep 5, 2013
  • Aired On:

    Wednesday, Thursday
  • Network:

  • Duration:

    1 hr. 4 min.


  • Score:

    6.3 (scored by 535 users)
  • Ranked:

  • Popularity:


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