The year is 1859, feudal Joseon is plagued with numerous natural disasters, poor harvest, poverty. hunger and death. But the rich nobles are only concerned with their own wealth and continue to exploit and persecute the poor. In this dark period, KUNDO, a righteous group of thieves, was a single shred of hope for the poor, an entity which can be the subject of fear to unjust nobles.
Joo Yoon is theson of a wealthy nobleman, but his mother is a concubine. Even though he excels in martial arts, he isn't recognized for his talents because of his lineage. After killing poor butcher Dol Moo Chi's mother and sister, millionaire Joo Yoon commands absolute power over him. Clouded by vengeance, Dol Moo Chi is accepted as a member of KUNDO and unsheathes his sword for the weak.
Cast & Credits
There's nothing new under the sun, the film is about a Ronbin Hood-like gang who steals from the corrupted rich and gives to the helpless poor. Set in the twilight years of Joeson period, the film is a hybrid historical piece about martial arts, nobility and revenge. The plot takes its time to make the main character meet his destiny but the remaining space wasn’t wasted at all; the screenwriting always focused on the remaining characters and some colourful dialogues in between.
Kundo depicts a strong combination between the usual Asian melodrama and martial arts’ style. It was successful at portraying both flying fighting scenes as well as the characters’ feelings within. It also focused on inserting some pretty nice dark humour sequences without disregarding the serious melodramatic tone of the period piece. The over use of explanatory narration might come out wrong in few sequences. The screenwriting over-focused on some trivial side stories but it managed to come back into the right track soon enough.
Led by the overly charismatic Ha Jung Woo, the acting department was impressive. The main character had a very rough start that made him a part of the Kundo tribe, his journey was pretty much enjoyable and Jung Woo was too darn good at making it feel real – except the age part of course, there’s no way he looks 18 to 22 year-old.
On the other hand, Kang Dong Won was the freaking king of the action department in this film. Being used to swordsmanship due to his other period action films; he did the whole remarkable martial arts himself without resolving to stunts; that’s in itself is too wonderful for words. Other than that, he was amazingly good at playing the role of the dangerous villain. Of course, the back story provided to his character was extremely helpful at setting an unbreakable ground for what he has to portray. It’s been a long time since I last saw a very detailed back story of a villain; as if they’re making you think that any monstrous thing he does is legitimate.
Other actors were pretty good; they were fit to each character they played especially the Kundo group where Ma Dong Seok, Jo Jin Woong and Lee Kyeong Yeong are only few to mention.
Inspired by Kurosawa and Tarantino’s filmmaking, director Yun Jong Bin pulled off a memorable piece. His directing style was poignant with top notch technicalities. It’s a fact that visuals worked so well for this film, the lavishing designs and well-chosen colours were a great plus for this film’s cinematographic appeal. Even the polished sceneries, well-crafted aristocrats’ mansions and clothes were very well handled.
-You like dramatic period pieces with action.
-You like combination between Asian and western filmmaking.
-You like the main actors because Ha Jung Woo and Kang Dong Won were extremely good.
Do not watch if:
-You dislike historical pieces.
Despite some minor flaws, Kundo Age of Rampant is a very pleasant period film that’s well-worthy of the domestic success it witnessed upon its release.
The performances were solid but not exceptional. Funnily enough i felt more drawn to the villain played by Kang Dong Won ,maybe it was his eyes or beautiful costumes but I found myself getting annoyed at the hero and wanting the villain to be reformed and join our group of bandits.
It's a decent movie and it sticks to the genre pretty closely. Don't expect any surprises or surprise revelations the plot is very simple and straight forward. The only surprise was how much they swore (at least in the subtitles) and how many balls/penis innuendo there was.
Watch this if you like martial arts, a good Robin Hood retelling or are a fan of any of the stars.
It was ok , but nothing more .