Heung Boo: The Revolutionist (2018) poster
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 129 users
# of Watchers: 535
Reviews: 1 user
Ranked #53614
Popularity #11428
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Yeon Heung Bu is an author of popular novels. He writes a novel to find his lost older brother. Heung Bu then meets Jo Hyuk. Jo Hyuk is a nobleman and takes care of people. Heung Bu finds enlightenment from Jo Hyuk. Meanwhile, Jo Hyuk’s older brother is Jo Hang Ri. He is completely different from Jo Hyuk. He will do anything to gain more power. Heung Bu decides to write a story about the brothers Jo Hyuk and Jo Hang Ri. Heung Bu completes the novel “Heungbu and Nolbu”, and the novel is a success. Its popularity soon spreads all across Joseon. Jo Hang Ri takes advantage of the situation and plots to gain absolute power in Joseon. (Source: IMDb) Edit Translation

  • English
  • magyar / magyar nyelv
  • dansk
  • Norsk
  • Country: South Korea
  • Type: Movie
  • Release Date: Feb 14, 2018
  • Duration: 1 hr. 45 min.
  • Score: 7.4 (scored by 129 users)
  • Ranked: #53614
  • Popularity: #11428
  • Content Rating: 13+ - Teens 13 or older

Cast & Credits

Photos

Heung Boo: The Revolutionist (2018) photo
Heung Boo: The Revolutionist (2018) photo
Heung Boo: The Revolutionist (2018) photo

Reviews

Completed
ElBee
0 people found this review helpful
16 days ago
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 6.0

An interesting modified adaptation of one of SK’s longest-lasting pansori performance folk tales

Crafted much in the same style as Shakespearean tragic comedies, this film (which was adapted from a popular folk story that is performed to this day in pansori, theatre musicals, and more) entertained me for its hundred or so minutes and ultimately made me want to watch Ran (samurai story in the style of King Lear), Throne of Blood (retelling of Macbeth in feudal Japan), or even The Bad Sleep Well (crime noir film built on Hamlet).

While the writing was not as dazzling or sharp in wit as I would have liked, it makes up for it in execution by the cast led by Jung Woo (playing the title character), beloved, much-missed Kim Joo Hyuk ?? whose character Jo Hyuk gives up his comfortable life of wealth to care for orphans whose parents were killed, and classic sageuk veteran Jung Jin Young who plays Jo Hyuk’s greedy brother Jo Hang Ri, the key antagonist. Jung Hae In, while not playing a particularly interesting king, is nice eye candy, and Jung Sang Hoon and Kim Won Hae are a solid backbone for the tonal shifts. Chun Woo Hee is an endearing young assistant who is like a daughter to Heung Bu, and we also get small appearances by Jin Goo playing Nol Bu, the guardian of the people (and long lost brother of Heung Bu), a nearly-unrecognizable Kwak Dong Yeon, and a little epilogue cameo of Kang Ha Neul.

The story itself is small and lacking in some of the rich story depth of others employing theatre troupes like The King and Clown, but not all stories need to be visually stunning to make their point or highlight an important folk story though this veers very far from the original in terms of storyline while keeping important details, adapting them into a story with a bigger scale of impact, a greater gap in wealth and status between brothers.

While this does not (sadly, to me) follow the original story to its end, it does showcase how a good person standing in opposition to a terrible one can, even with odds stacked against them, have their good will rewarded in time, even if not in traditional ways. Apart from this using politics as a component instead of telling the more simple story of drastically different brothers with life lessons, this uses different characters to represent Heung Bu and his brother while having this Heung Bu be a storyteller who uses his own name and his brother’s name to instead tell of Jo Hyuk and Jo Hang Ri.

Jo Hyuk in the film represents the original story’s Heung Bu, Jo Hang Ri representing Nol Bu… it is best to go in ignoring this for the 105 minutes since otherwise the names can seem odd as the story published uses the names of the greedy and selfless brother while the characters with those names are, for the film, loving brothers separated during a time of conflict that left many families dead, Heung Bu publishing racy erotic novels as a means of making his name known so he can locate his brother. This does, though, keep important elements of the original like the poor disowned brother being slapped in the face with a rice spoon at his brother’s luxurious home, commenting that it is delicious, and asking to be struck again. The original tale has Heung Bu go to his brother’s home to ask for rice as the brother-who took the entire inheritance-has a surplus of it; Heung Bu in the original gathers the grains of rice on his face carefully to feed his hungry children whereas this has Jo Hyuk go there about a last bit of property, land he and the ones he saved had successfully farmed to feed themselves and the kids in their care they were also teaching, the rice slap happening on his way out because there was excess rice spoiling and a servant “dared to” prepare the rice and feed her child with it rather than leave it to rot.

What is left out: the original tale (apparently a common bedtime story, known by me because it is one of few classic pansori tales still performed in many forms, no doubt with nearly infinite variations) dives into a story of the poor brother saving a swallow [the sign of spring coming in the film] with a broken leg on his way home with the handful of rice and his hungry children being happy to nurse and feed it until it is well enough to fly back to its home. In the original, the swallow returns to them with a pumpkin seed that produces three enormous pumpkins. The pumpkins, when cut into, are full of treasures. The greedy, already well-off brother learns of this sudden wealth, inquires about how Heung Bu came by it, then tries to replicate it with a key distinction that he breaks the bird’s leg then tends to it… in that story, the bird also returns with a seed, but that seed’s harvest is full of destruction: a dokkaebi (goblin) that beats and chides him for his greed, debt collectors swarming in demanding repayment, and his home being flooded with muddy water. In that version, Nol Bu, who has lost all his property and money, asks for forgiveness from Heung Bu who is more kind… or more of a sucker… than I could ever be. Then again, it does exist to teach lessons, and Korean folklore doesn’t have that biting “you got what you deserved and I’d just as soon use you for stew meat as call you brother again” tone of what I grew up learning (maybe you can partly blame that-or watching Alfred Hitchcock and works similar to Stephen King films growing up-for the deep love of sarcasm and dark, often scathing, humor).

I rate this an 8. As a one-time watch, a-ok! I could quickly grasp what it was aiming for both in substance and style, and I rarely rewatch titles as it is, but I can see some watching this again if they were fairly casual “just ingest and process minimally” viewers the first time. It did take me half a dozen years to watch it because I needed enough distance from Kim Joo Hyuk knowing how much it hurt to watch Argon not nearly long enough after his passing to not be thinking about it between episodes and sometimes during them (I also kept delaying watching Believer for that reason). This felt way too short, probably because I am so accustomed to dramas and lowkey want an elaborate 20-hour version of this with the energy of Rebel: Thief who Stole the People (which is the more historically “accurate”-ie based on the real Hong Gil Dong, not the pure folklore variant). I want the erotica plot line! ;) I want more of his assistant and beloved Park Sang Hoon searching for his bro! More would benefit this… cause it is a bit surface-level-feeling in storyline. Okay, I’ll just say it: the story is kinda shallow, underdeveloped feeling. I still liked it, but I can’t ignore that fact. Simple can work, but this left me wanting more depth.

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Heung Boo The Revolutionist with English subs? by mags_tam 1 0
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Details

  • Movie: Heung Boo: The Revolutionist
  • Country: South Korea
  • Release Date: Feb 14, 2018
  • Duration: 1 hr. 45 min.
  • Content Rating: 13+ - Teens 13 or older

Statistics

  • Score: 7.4 (scored by 129 users)
  • Ranked: #53614
  • Popularity: #11428
  • Watchers: 535

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