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[Movie 2011] War of the Arrows / Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon 최종병기 활

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War of the Arrows

Directed By Kim Han-Min
War-or-the-Arrows-thumb-1600x900-c-defau
 
The highest-grossing Korean movie of 2011, this is an epic chase film that gives audiences a taste of just how rad a Green Arrow movie would be.
 
Park Hae-Il (The Host) and his sister are sent into hiding after their father is accused of being a traitor and murdered. Thirteen years later, Park has become something of an archery prodigy, while his sister (played by TV star Moon Chae-Won) is in love with the son of their host family. Park is furious at her choice, but he can’t stop the wedding. Even worse, it comes on the exact same day that China’s Qing Army invades Korea. The family lives in a border town, and so the Qing military stops off at the wedding first, where they prove to be totally uncool guests: trashing everything, taking Moon and her husband-to-be hostage, and then continuing into Korea, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.
 
Park barely escapes with his life, but now he has a mission: with only his bow, he’ll follow the Qing army and rescue his sister. Along the way, the Qing warriors start to realize that their men are being killed one by one by a lone archer, and so a task force of Manchu archers, wielding heavier, more powerful bows, are assembled to take out Park. The Qing conquest of Korea in 1592 is one of the most crushing defeats in world history—after only two months Korea’s king surrendered and gave his son to the Chinese as a hostage. War of the Arrows tells this story, but rather than writing it on an epic scale, it focuses on just a few people fighting to survive: a bride, her groom, and her brother.
At 122 minutes, you might think there’s some fat on these bones, but once the emotional core is forged, it becomes one massive chase sequence, studded with masterful set pieces that involve everything from man-eating tigers to a battle on the side of a cliff. If you were ever a kid who pretended to be Robin Hood, this one’s for you. Director and writer Kim Han-Min has made a blockbuster that does for archery what The Dark Knight did for bats.
 

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‘War of the Arrows’ a consistently entertaining Korean historical epic

By Rob Simpson

war-of-the-arrows-209x300.jpg

War of the Arrows
Directed by Han-min Kim
Written by Ham-min Kim
2011, South Korea

Director Han-min Kim’s film The War of the Arrows is something of a rarity in the international image of Korean cinema as its focus lies on the second Manchurian invasion of Korea, the Joseon Kingdom in particular. In layman’s terms, the War of the Arrows is about the second Chinese invasion of Korea.

Personalizing history by focusing on the children of a Korean traitor, we follow Nam Yi (Hae-Il Park, The Host) and Ja-In s1-300x150.jpg(Chae Won-Moon). Receiving a family bow and a message for the elder brother to look after his younger sister as he would a daughter, they both barely escape certain execution in Seoul. Fast forward 13 years and Ja-In is getting married despite her older brother doing everything he can to prevent it. As the wedding nears, Nam Yi wanders off and notices something out of the ordinary on the horizon: a Chinese army heading for the castle where his sister is getting married. Forces clash, people die and Ja-In and her would be husband are kidnapped. Barely escaping with his life, Nam Yi acts on his pride and uses his skills as a hunter and a master archer to track down his sister and kill those responsible.

jyuu-shin-ta-ryu-seung-ryong-leads-the-pThe resulting conflict may be a pointless waste of life, but at the same time it is representative of how the Korean people grew and developed as a tiny nation surrounded by three massive, wealthy and powerful nations. The bow, which is still a national icon, completes this cycle of Korean history and the honour that comes with standing up to insurmountable odds.

During this invasion, the first use of the on screen caption is used a somewhat anachronistic trope to adopt in a historical and non-documentary piece, which begs questions as to what the director is trying to achieve; is he trying to bring a greater awareness of Korean history, or is he trying to create meaning in the senseless loss of life? Nevertheless Han-min Kim has ingrained the Korean psyche and their people’s subjugation into the film, a subjugation that is only briefly touched upon; this is not Come and See or City of Life and Death, as entertainment is the indisputable aim.

Ironically for such a historical piece, it only plays a role in the first act and a small part of the second with the film. The value of the War war_of_the_arrows-300x199.jpgof the Arrows comes from the cat and mouse chase in the second half, which sees Nam Yi being tracked down by a Chinese specialist squad after he consistently makes a mockery of the invading force’s lesser members. This is where the significance of the arrow comes out of the Korean historical subtext and becomes the primary tool used in the action sequences.

Traditionally the bow and arrow is used for long distance battle sequences as a means to thin out numbers before getting close and personal with each other to hack off bits with swords and the like. The way they are used here is unique: the bow is used as a primary weapon, which presents many set-pieces or shoot-outs where a frenetic energy akin to 1980s John Woo is employed. Where other films lose meaning in the shaky camera work, here it adds energy to express the weaknesses of Nam-Yi, emphasizing that he is just one man as he is pursued through the beautiful sparse forests, which are a cinematographer’s dream.

arrows_10-300x199.jpgWhen a face to face battle is necessary, the pace calms down and the tension of the hunt kicks in, waiting for the other person to make a mistake. This unpredictability adds another unique angle to the chase – it’s not just about the cat preying on the mouse, as sometimes the mouse strikes back. Even if one of these incidents is cheapened by a terrible CG tiger, the constantly shifting power dynamics exhilarate more satisfyingly than seeing limbs and innards being splayed as per genre expectations.

War of the Arrows has its share of problems, of which the resolution being negated by neglected characterization and the aforementioned captions stand high. Mercifully these problems are relatively minor. Hae-Il Park is a brilliant leading man and there’s an imperfection to the cast that makes them infinitely more interesting than their well-travelled archetypes. Han-min Kim has implanted the Korean lifeblood into The War of the Arrows, a unique and consistently entertaining historical epic.

credit: http://www.soundonsight.org/war-of-the-arrows-a-consistently-entertaining-korean-historical-epic/

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’Arrow’ aims for new horizons

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By Lee Hyo-won

Finally, a film that ties enduring soul-searching themes with exhilarating action and dashes of tasteful comedy, all set in a familiar yet exotic backdrop.

“Arrow the Ultimate Weapon,” a well-directed and craftily edited “kill all with a single arrow” period piece, could have consulted a better VFX supervisor. Still, it offers thrilling, multi-textured entertainment that makes modern snipers seem boring. Strong box office sales are highly probable along with ancillary potential overseas as distribution rights have been sold to 13 countries.

Director Kim Han-min does an excellent job of telling a very simple story in a very involving way, by harnessing the talents of its exceptional cast to full cinematic ends. The prolific actor Park Hae-il eases into his first period piece with finesse as the spiritually torn archer during the 17th-century Joseon Kingdom.

In a society dictated by oppressive Confucian rules, Nam-i has inherited from his father not only fiendish archery skills but also the title of traitor when the throne changes hands. After witnessing his father’s death, the prepubescent Nam-i manages to escape with his little sister Da-in (Moon Chae-won) to find refuge in the home of old family friend Kim. Thirteen years later, he is leading a futile existence in which his talents are useful only for hunting game. His only reason for living — protecting his sister — remains intact, in keeping with his late father’s last request.

When the well-meaning gentleman Seo-gun (musical actor-turned-emerging screen star Kim Mu-yeol) asks for Da-in’s hand in marriage, Nam-i decides to leave town. However, Qing Chinese soldiers break up the wedding and take Da-in, Seo-gun and some 50,000 other Koreans as hostages to Manchuria.

Here the film gives a cinematic twist to the historic event. Equipped with only his father’s old bow and handmade arrows, our protagonist sets off to save his beloved sister. What makes the film more intriguing is that Da-in is not the typical damsel in distress; Moon brings to screen a fresh heroine that is at once feminine and feisty, which is rare in Korean cinema.

Seasoned actor Ryu Seung-ryong plays yet another villain as Jushinta, the head of a group of deadly bow-and-arrow-equipped assassins, but brings a more mature characterization and commanding presence.

Moreover, Ryu, Moon and other members of the cast make an attempt to speak Manchu. Initially there is something “Gag Concert”-esque about the actors articulating the near-extinct language, but the film employs the linguistic glitches as an effective tool to push forth the narrative.

The film skips over unnecessary details in depicting the loss of innocence and establishing the reason why Nam-i so singlehandedly braves the mission, and presents instead one sequence of heart-thumping sniper scenes after another. While foreshadowing elements involving a tiger and the lone heroic fight invite inevitable comparisons to Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto,” this film brings something more.

“Arrow” points to a promising future for Korean cinema amid the opening of big-budget films one after another only to offer fast, forgettable entertainment. It demonstrates that honest and original writing for the screen is still possible by weaving thoroughly Korean values and sentiments into Hollywood scenarios — but here the Korean preaching of forgiveness is not a hindrance for non-Koreans but a uniqueness that differentiates itself.

For a film that cost 9 billion won ($8.5 million), “Arrow” has exceptional production values crowned by impressive sound design that capitalizes on the versatility of the titular weapon. Sure, the audience has seen Russell Crowe wield the bow and arrow as Robin Hood, but the director, who says he grew up near an archery range, inspires newfound appreciation for the traditional weapon.

Kim previously attempted to fictionalize a 1980s murder case in “Paradise Murdered,” a muddled concoction of horror and mystery, before delving into twisted behavioral patterns in “Hand Phone,” which could have toned down the contrived drama. Kim’s more focused direction in “Arrow” demonstrates the strengths of both those flawed films.

Three-and-a-half out of four stars.

credit: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/art/2011/08/141_92183.html

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WAR OF THE ARROWS aka “Arrow: The Ultimate Weapon (Choejongbyungki Hwal / 최종병기 활)”

Asian Korean KCC Cultural Centre London Film Festival 2011 Poster Translation

Film: Arrow: The Ultimate Weapon (Choejongbyungki Hwal / 최종병기 활)

Alternative Title: War Of The Arrows [화살표의 전쟁]

Year: 2011

Director (& Writer): Kim Han-Min

Venue: The May Fair, London

Cast:

Park Hae-il
Moon Chae-Won
Ryoo Seung-Ryong

Running time: 122 minutes

Plus Q & A

Other Info: Special advanced preview

Further Info: Opening Film for LKFF (London Korean Film Festival)

The London Korean Film Festival 2011

The KCC (Korean Cultural Centre), London

LKFF ASIAN KCC Korean London Film Movies Far East Robin Hood West Epic

[Note: It was thought appropriate to abridge Mini Mini’s original review to include various updates, including this film’s recent accolades, festivals, mention of this title (and it’s extras) coming to DVD, as well as any other points on which it was felt required a little tweak]

Film Festivals Include:

2011 (16th) Busan International Film Festival

2011 (6th) The London Korean Film Festival

2012 (14th) Deauville Asian Film Festival

2012 (28th) Imagine: Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival

Film Awards Include:

2011 (48th) Daejong Film Awards

Best Actor (Park Hae-Il)

Best New Actress (Moon Chae-Won)

Best Visual Effects

Best Sound Effects

2011 (31th) Critics Choice Awards

Best Cinematography

Best Technical Achievement

2011 (32nd) Blue Dragon Film Awards

Best Actor (Park Hae-Il)

Best Supporting Actor (Ryoo Seung-Ryong)

Best New Actress (Moon Chae-Won)

Best Technical Award

Audience Choice Award for Most Popular Movie

2011 (19th) Korean Culture Entertainment Awards

Grand Acting Award (Park Hae-Il)

Best Acting Award (Ryoo Seung-Ryong)

Excellent Acting Award (Moon Chae-Won)

And the not-so…

… Excellent Reviewing Award (Mini Mini Movie)…

… Well, it’s represented below.

Yes.  The opening of this virtual envelope begins here:

With my freshly collected Press Pack and goodie bag (including a “War Of The Arrows” t-shirt) at my feet, it was time for me to bow down for director Kim as he took to the stage, to introduce this Korean box-office-smash of a movie.

However, the question to ask myself, if approaching Kim… is “Do I take a bow?” [as in bow & curtsy] or “Do I take a bow?” [as in bow & arrow].

We start with some ‘Slow-mo Beginning’ shots. Seen it all before? Maybe, but not in this style.

There’s a girl, whom due to circumstances occuring with the Manchu and their latest invasion of South Korea, must leave her known life. This is essentially the life she knows with her father. Amongst all these invasions the girl is forced to be almost adopted by her very close relation [played by…]. The conditions under how this happens are painful to the involved characters, albeit feelings and scenes we’ve experienced in other movies. Many of them.

Asian Korean Film Festival Bow Girl Hangul LKFF

Next… A marriage proposal. But whom to whom? Well, either way, a very familiar and tried & tested situation is upon us. Indeed, the father of the girl insists that she will NOT marry the proposee… Unless… Wait for it… Mr Right meets certain demands. What would these be? Well, in a film based around wars and fighting surely it would be by some kind of duel.

Mini mini was sitting there thinking why such demands, and therefore duels have to ensue to allow any loving relationship to start? Is it to prove that one is a real man? A protector? I mean, we’ve seen this so many times in films, even if it is true of it’s time or era.

But, just when the predictable was appearing before my eyes in the obligatory fight scene, a shocking or even sickening change of events occurred. This was indeed unpredictable. But… my lips are sealed – perhaps it would have been better if one of these two fighter’s lips had also remained closed… That’s all I’m saying.

“Why is there all this war?” I hear you (war)cry. Well, as I mentioned before, essentially it’s an overall battle against the Manchu. And, you know what? I found it ironic that what with this being about battles within South Korea and against the Manchu & having seen another seminal Korean war-related film recently, that two familiar words should resound with me, as they are shouted at one point in the movie. “Freedom”; “Hurrah” we hear. Ironic? Yes, because the seminal film celebrating the Korean war (albeit against the Japanese not the Chinese Manchu) was recently viewed by yours truly. That film? “Hurrah! For Freedom”… of course [Review up soon].

Korean Film Box Office Japanese Asian LKFF KCC Terracotta Third Window Premiere Film

Throw in a tiger and you have all the markings of a modern made, historical epic. This is no Gladiator though, and I’m actually happy it’s not. For a start it doesn’t have Ridley Scott’s speedy editing [or Riditing, as I like to call it]. Yes, it has some fast editing but not a great deal and not to Scott’s extreme.

This maybe because it’s not essentially about sword fights or samurai-sword fights. No, this is about the bow and arrow, or as the director later mentioned, the Arrow & Bow.

When the arrow shots, and therefore the majority of mini battles are upon us we witness other kinds of (film) shots. Are these ‘shots’ [literally, either way] made of real arrow firing or special effects? Either way, they look and sound spectacular. In fact, much has been said about it’s great use of sound.

The cinematography should also be gently applauded, as it does shine on the big screen…whether this be in landscapes or even in the characters’ clothing.

Korea Korean South Seoul LKFF London KCC Asian Movie Film Films Movies Pictures

And so what if it a tad veers into Mission Impossible territory near the end, it’s great to see South Korea’s chance to shine, both historically and with such unique weaponry.

Yes, this is not about the fastest gunman in the west but arrowman in the east… And, sure it’s as formulaic as the-no-doubt-to-be-slightly-compared-with “Robin Hood” variations out there, but stylish. It’s a tense movie also, almost all the way through.

Take a Bow, director Kim… that’s Bow, not Bow…. Oh you know what I mean…!

Special Preview of the London Korean Film Festival 2011
credit: thekccuk
 

Director Q & A:

Amongst questions covered – the answers to which are perhaps too involved to include also – was ons about the use of sound and another regarding how much of the film was based on ‘true’ events.

Further points were raised about how different this is from Kim’s other films and a good question was brought up about a line in the film, concerning the arrow being ‘not for killing’.

Almost lastly, but hardly least…

For DVD fans in the UK and fanatics of behind the scene detail, I would recommend checking out the extras on the Cine Asia* release.

  • Aiming for the Bullseye: an interview with director, Kim Han-min (Cine Asia Exclusive) [This is really good – pretty much a whole 30 minutes of the director explaining the film… Insightful and delightful.]
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Making of
  • Showcase
  • 2 Trailers – UK Trailer and Original trailer [I prefer the original, incidentally]
  • Audio Commentary by Bey Logan

*Cine Asia is a part of the Showbox Media Group

Finally…

A Mini Mini (Music) Movie (i.e. Trailer)


War of the Arrows Music Video
"Moon's Shadow" - Kim Moo Yul
Official CGV Cinemas Channel

credit: http://miniminimovie.com/2011/10/07/arrow-the-ultimate-weapon-choejongbyungki-hwal-최종병기-활-aka-war-of-the-arrows/

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War Of The Arrows

The opening gala movie for the next London Korean Film Festival is a taut-paced action-historical drama that hits the target, dead centre…

Please note: When this review was written the UK title was to be Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon. Surprise surprise (no doubt helped by some of my comments below) it’s now War Of The Arrows

Unveiled at the press launch last week and due to be the opening gala film for this year’s London Korean Film Festival, Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon has been extremely successful at the Korean box office, despite a new English title that makes it sound like TV’s Deadliest Warrior programme – it’s original English title War Of The Arrows made much more sense.

At the time of writing it’s currently trailing only Sunny as the biggest film of the year, but quickly catching up. A taut-paced, historical action movie, like last year’s Festival opener The Man From Nowhere, itself the biggest film of the previous year, it follows more of a Western pacing and appeal – which makes its success all the more interesting. Is it a reaction to exposure from Western movies, or an attempt to appeal to Western audiences, or maybe both?

Set in the 17th century, the story centres on Nam-yi (Park Hae-il, End Of Animal, Moss, The Host, Memories Of Murder), a young, talented bowman who has looked after his sister Ja-in (Moon Chae-won, Road No. 1, My Fair Lady) ever since their father was disgraced and assassinated in the King Injo Revolt.

Now 13 years later she is to wed her childhood sweetheart, Seo-Goon (Kim Moo-yeol, After the Banquet, The Scam), on the very day their village becomes victim to the Second Manchu invasion of Korea. Nam-yi returns from a hunting trip too late to save her, finding the village devastated and all survivors captured by the Manchu. (Hunting on his sister’s wedding day? Yeah, I know, but Nam-yi has some issues to sort out, know what I’m saying?)

Nam-yi quickly heads off to save his sister and her fiancé, only to find himself pursued by Jushinta (Ryoo Seung-Ryong, The Front Line, Blades Of Blood, Bestseller, Cruel Winter Blues), a fierce Chung warrior, and his men. Just as well Nam-yi’s a nifty shot then…?

Right from the outset director Kim Han-min sets the pace for what could, frankly, be a load of guys standing around, well, firing arrows. His previous experience in the thrillers Paradise Murdered and Handphone stand him in good stead, introducing arrow-fuelled ‘face-off’ scenes that wouldn’t look out of place in a contemporary thriller. He also gives his main protagonist a neat trick – the ability to send his arrows round corners, Wanted style. (Well, at least it’s a bit more possible.)

Kim Han-min’s film has much in common with the historical dramas to have come out of Korea and Hong Kong China before. There’s a real labouring of historical notes about when the film is set, the hardships that Koreans faced on mass, all informatively run in titling on screen. As with many of the Chinese films that have come before, it’s a bit hard to take considering how many liberties have been taken with historical fact.

It’s almost as if the ramming home of these facts jars with audiences abilities to let go and just enjoy a ripping good yarn. We weren’t expecting a history lesson from an action film, and we don’t really want one either. And why, oh, why is there always an effeminate rouge prince running around at the heart of all these historical dramas?

At least Kim Han-min has the good sense to pulls the reins on the sentimentality that so often gets out of control in Asian films. If anything, he often pricks it at the sloppiest moment with a mischievous hint of good humour. It’s Kim’s humorous touch throughout that helps make this film so enjoyable.

There are strong performances from the leads, with Park Hae-il giving a solid performance as Nam-yi. Sadly, the initially feisty character of Ja-in given to Moon Chae-won gets overshadowed in the second half by the chase between Nam-yi and Ryoo Seung-Ryong’s equally strong performance as Jushinta. (At points it seems to hint she hardly needs her brothers protection!)

Imagine this, if you will, as a Sword With No Name done well. The attempts by the director to add historical depth to the film feel a little forced, but that can’t stop it being a ripping good yarn…

Question is, are we going to see more films like this from South Korea? I think the success speaks for itself… whether or not that’s a good thing only time will tell.

credit: http://www.easternkicks.com/reviews/war-of-the-arrows

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Blu-ray Review: WAR OF THE ARROWS


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Kim Han-min's War of the Arrows (Arrow, the Ultimate Weapon) was the second highest grossing homegrown film in Korea in 2011. Normally, such an achievement wouldn't impress me much, as I'm the last person on this earth to equate financial success with quality, however, in this case I'm genuinely happy. War of the Arrows is a top notch period action epic, on par with anything out of Asia in the last few years, and certainly less overtly tainted with politics than most films of its ilk from the region. Well Go USA will release War of the Arrows on Blu-ray/DVD combo on February 21st, and if you've a fan of Asian action, I definitely recommend you make a little space in your budget for this one
 
War of the Arrows begins in media res, as we discover our characters in the midst of a battle which leaves a great archer and rebel dead and his children orphaned. The son, Choi Nam-yi (Park Hae-il from Memories of Murder and The Host), is tasked to protect and care for his young sister, Choi Ja-in (Moon Chae-won). They seek refuge among a community of rebels fighting against Manchurian incursion and grow strong and quick with a bow. Nam-yi is intent on fulfilling his father's legacy of defeating the Manchurians and creating a stable life for his sister. There to assist is Kim Seo-gun (Kim Mu-yeol), Nam-yi's good friend, and Ja-in's future husband. When the antagonists attack their refuge and kidnap Ja-in, Nam-yi and Seo-gun take action, and the battle is on.
 
Unlike many other Asian historical epics, the local history and politics in War of the Arrows provides no real barrier to understanding. In Hong Kong and Chinese historical films, there is a pronounced jingoistic slant toward either the Communist party in China or anti-Japanese sentiment in Hong Kong. These political undercurrents often interfere with the pure adrenaline rush that the films are created to provide, which in turn can alienate overseas audiences. Granted, overseas revenue certainly doesn't account for the bulk of their fortunes, but it is becoming more and more relevant as companies like China Lion and Well Go attempt to spread the gospel in new and aggressive ways.
 
War of the Arrows is based on a period of Korean history which is very important and formative to the psyche of the Korean people. The Manchurian invasions were but one of many attempts, often successful, to subjugate the Korean peninsula under foreign rule. It was the Manchurians in the distant past, the Japanese in the recent past, and even still the threat of invasion exists in South Korean, however slight, from above the 38th parallel. Luckily, in War of the Arrows, all that you need to know is that somebody took a girl, and her brother and husband are bound and determined to get her back. The end.
 
This simplification of the political subtext is welcome, and helps to create an inviting experience in which the audience can lose themselves. The action comes hard and heavy, and if a war of arrows doesn't sound incredibly engaging to you, trust me, this is one time you're wrong. The film manages to make the battle sequences remarkably thrilling and heavy hitting. Even though there is very little hand to hand combat, the long distance fighting via bow & arrow, spear, and any other throwing implement you can think of is riveting. There are a number of crazy set pieces that keep the action flowing, and the only time it slows down are to provide bits and pieces of exposition and character development that never feel overly expository or unnecessary.

I firmly believe that this is among the most well-rounded action films that Well Go USA has released in the last year, up there with The Man from Nowhere and Shaolin. It doesn't suffer from the propaganda that puts a slight damper on films like Ip Man or Legend of the Fist, but still manages to deliver the goods in an epic fashion. War of the Arrows is the real deal, and despite not having any huge names in the cast, it is a fantastic film, and probably the most exciting Korean film I've seen since Man from Nowhere.  Highly recommended.

The Disc:

Well Go's Blu-ray presentation of War of the Arrows is robust and quite impressive. The image quality on the disc is excellent, and showcases some killer photography and archery effects. The only piece that was even the slightest bit awkward was a slightly crude piece of CG with a tiger, but even that was not a distraction, as the pace of the film makes it work. The real star of this disc in my opinion, though, is the audio track. War of the Arrows' DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track is a monster. If I'd had to guess beforehand, I wouldn't have pegged an archery centered action film as my favorite audio experience of the year so far, but there you have it. The surround channels are extremely active with arrows and other projectiles whizzing by your head at all times, and there are lots of galloping horses doing the same. The LFE experience is intense, and this was almost enough to get my heart pumping all by itself even without the stuff going on on-screen. This is one you're going to want to crank up, people. Definitely a winner.

A bit disappointingly, the only extras are a very brief making of featurette (less than ten minutes), and a trailer. I know that with foreign acquisitions like this, distributors are often at the mercy of the license-holders when it comes to bonus materials, but I wanted to know more after enjoying this film so much.  That being said, I'd rather have a great film with few extras than a crappy film with mountains of extras, and War of the Arrows definitely fits into the former camp.  Buy it!
Special Features:
- Behind the scenes
- Theatrical and US trailers
- Trailers for other Well Go USA films

credit: http://twitchfilm.com/2012/02/blu-ray-review-war-of-the-arrows.html

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DVD of the week: War of the Arrows

by Kenneth George Godwin

war_of_the_arrows_03.jpg

In 17th Century Korea, two young children, a brother and sister, see their father killed and barely escape with their own lives. They seek shelter with the family of one of their father’s friends and grow up as outcasts, their father called a traitor.

The boy, Nam-Yi (Park Hae-Il), grows up embittered, developing the skills of a great archer as well as those of a drunken brawler, while his sister Ja-In (Moon Chae-Won) wants to belong to normal society. She agrees to marry the son of their guardian, Seo Goon (Kim Moo-Yeol), although his mother remains somewhat hostile to the two exiles.

war_of_the_arrows_01-212x300.jpg

On the wedding day, Nam-Yi rides away from the ceremony, only to be drawn back when he sees a raiding party of Qing soldiers from Manchuria heading for the village. Under Prince Dorgon (Park Ki-Woong) and his general Jyu Shin-Ta (Ryu Seung-Ryong), the invaders massacre many of the villagers and take the rest, including the young bride and groom, prisoner; they begin a long trek to the north, making for the border.

Nam-Yi and two companions set off to track their enemies and wage a war of attrition as they try to rescue the prisoners.

Apart from occasional large-scale fantasies like The Lord of the Rings, Conan and the like, Hollywood has pretty much abandoned the kind of epic filmmaking that the studios used to be proud of. This is not so much because the audience for such films has disappeared as it is that western filmmakers have lost the ability to take romantic epics seriously. Heroes today need to be cynical, there are no just causes left to fight for … gone are knights in armour and questing Norsemen.

But Asian cinema has been more than willing to fill the niche, and in the past decade or so a number of international successes have come out of the East, films like Zhang Yimou’s Hero (2002) and House of the Flying Daggers (2004). With thousands of years of complex history to draw on and a rich tradition of romance and martial arts, these films offer the kind of narrative pleasures that in the West are now generally relegated to fantasy. Not that fantasy is absent from many of these Asian movies; new technologies have made it possible to push traditional tropes far beyond earlier limits and it’s a rare martial arts film which doesn’t see its characters flying as much as they wield their swords.

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Recent films like Tsui Hark’s Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2010) and Yuen Woo Ping’s True Legend (2010) have overt magical elements woven into their stories, and even John Woo’s magnificent historical epic Red Cliff (2008-09) relies extensively on CGI to create its sense of epic scale. But the new Korean film War of the Arrows (2011) dials back the visual effects and focuses on a story rooted in 17th Century history, in the process conjuring up some of the most gripping and visceral action to come along in recent years.

Director Kim Han-Min starts things in the middle of a tense action sequence. We don’t know who any of the characters are yet, but the fact that armed men are chasing a young boy and girl with vicious dogs, obviously with the intention of killing them, rouses the audience’s emotions from the film’s first moments. Nam-Yi, almost paralyzed by fear, is trying to protect his little sister Ja-In, but he’s too young and inexperienced. The sudden intervention of their father, the great archer General Choi, enables them to escape from their pursuers. From their hiding place, they see their father overwhelmed and killed. Traumatized, they make their way to a remote village where, not entirely welcome, they are raised in secrecy.

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We never learn all the details of the backstory, but what can be pieced together is that King Gwanghaegun has submitted to the Qing rulers of Manchuria and that General Choi and his family were ordered executed for “treason” because he opposed foreign rule.

After the raid by Prince Dorgon’s men, the entire film is a running fight between Nam-Yi and the Qing forces under the command of the effete prince who spends his spare time raping the female prisoners. Nam-Yi, like his father, is an expert archer. At first, the Qing commanders can’t believe that he can be much of a threat, but gradually contempt gives way to fear, and finally – after the prince is killed – a desperate fight for survival.

Kim handles the relentless pace and stages the action with great skill; once the story gets going, it never loses its grip on the audience. Characters are well-drawn, with shadings of complexity on both sides, which helps to maintain our emotional engagement. Kim’s use of landscape, his attention to the physical details of the chase, the mechanics of archery, give the film a visceral impact which differs from the dance-like action common to many martial arts films. There’s a brutal sense of realism to the action here, which falters only once, in the film’s one CGI sequence involving an unconvincing tiger attack. But that scene paradoxically serves to reinforce the sense of realism that marks the rest of the action.

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There has been some criticism that Kim Han-Min, who both wrote and directed, has merely come up with an uncredited remake of Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto (2006). There are similarities, certainly, but Kim’s film is firmly rooted in Korean history. What matters is not so much the surface similarities to Gibson’s film, but the rich attention to the specific details of this particular story, these characters, and this place and time. As an epic of action filmmaking, War of the Arrows satisfies on all levels.

credit: http://www.cageyfilms.com/2012/02/dvd-of-the-week-war-of-the-arrows/

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War Of The Arrows Review

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Overview

War of the Arrows is a South Korean historical action film starring Park Hae-il, who most notably featured in 2006’s The Host, whose success has warranted a sequel (currently in production) and inspired a planned American remake. War of the Arrows was first released in August, 2011 and has won a total of 14 awards, including numerous best actor nods for Hae-il. The film finally made it’s way onto Blu-Ray this past October in Australia under Madman’s ‘Eastern Eye Asian Cinema’ label. Does the release hit its target? Read on to find out.

Story

The film begins on a chase scene, so right off the bat, you get a feel for the pace and tone of the rest of the story. Choi Nam-yi (Park Hae-il) and Choi Ja-in (Moon Chae-won), brother and sister, are fleeing from guards as it is revealed that their Father, an officer of King Gwanghae, has been branded a traitor. Now, what wasn’t too well established from the get go is that the film is set during the Manchu invasions of Korea in the early 1600s. In knowing that, you’d discover that King Gwanghae was dethroned via a coup. Then all the pieces start to fall into place. A bit of a neglectful start, but really the only sore spot of the script.

War-Of-The-Arrows-Screen-05-e13544514574Oh, so everyone thinks they can be an archer now…

The siblings escape, but not unscathed as Choi Nam-yi fends off a vicious German shepherd after witnessing his Father’s death in an ensuing battle. I should point out that, for any animal lovers out there, this film may not be for you…especially the opening 7 minutes of it. Of course, no animals were really hurt during it’s making, but if it were higher profile, PETA would certainly have a field day. Anyway, Kim Mu-seon takes the children in, and time flashes forward 13 years. Nam-yi has becomes the best archer in Joseon and Kim Seo-goon (Kim Mu-yeol) is asking him permission to marry Ja-in, his Sister.

Nam-yi is over-protective and refuses, however Ja-in goes through with the marriage plans regardless. But, on the wedding day, while Nam-yi is up in the mountains hunting deer, he and the rest of the village feel a rumble. The Qing army has arrived, beginning the second Manchu invasion of Korea, slaughtering many and capturing the rest…including Ja-in and Seo-goon. And so begins Nam-yi’s quest to find them, release them, and get revenge in the process.

War-Of-The-Arrows-Screen-03-e13544513428You’re wedding day is about to be ruined…if only you knew!

Further description would enter spoiler territory, but let’s just say that I never would have expected an action film to keep my interest with the bow being the main weapon used. There is some sword play, but the recent trend of bow-and-arrows being a primary, showcase weapon continues, and with great effect. The action is tense, and the pacing throughout is brilliant. The acting is solid across the whole cast and although the script may have it’s usual moments of melodrama, I was enthralled with Nam-yi’s journey from start to finish. A great film with some dramatic action sequences.

Visual

War of the Arrows looks stunning in its 16:9 (actually 2.35:1) widescreen, high definition Blu-Ray transfer. The image is vivid, sharp and detailed. The colors are accurate and the black levels are great. I was really pleasantly surprised by how consistently phenomenal the picture is.

War-Of-The-Arrows-Screen-01.jpgThe Manchurian ‘Mangudai’ siege unit.

In terms of cinematography and visual editing, I didn’t like the disorienting slow-motion blur of the film’s opening scene. I know it was meant to evoke that sense of disorientation and panic, but I didn’t feel it was necessary at all and just looked ugly at times. I also couldn’t help but scoff at the poor special effects of the tiger in the third act. It really stood out like a…well, like a poorly, digitally superimposed tiger! Although I’m sure it was 100% digital. Otherwise, the film itself was shot very well.

Audio

The audio on this Blu-Ray is very good, and is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0.There is an English Dub, however I’d be lying if I said that I gave it more than a few minutes worth of a listen before going to the default Korean language track. This isn’t because it was particularly bad, but I never watch foreign films with English dubs. If you’re really too lazy to read subtitles, then ok, but otherwise there’s no reason for it. Expectedly, Korean and English are the only language tracks with English being the only option for the subtitles.

War-Of-The-Arrows-Screen-02.jpgYou should see the “half-pounders” used by the Qing great commander Jyuushinta!

Sound effects are mixed in perfectly with the whizzing of a passing arrow panning as expected. It really adds to the immersion of the film, and the soundtrack is also very fitting in its mood building for each scene. In regards to the sound-editing of the film itself, there were a few moments of silence that felt out of place and like they were just there to be artistically dramatic. Also, there were a few errors in the subtitling and inconsistencies with the translation itself between common scenes in the film and the extras. These are all very minor points, however.

Extras

War of the Arrows’ special features list is so bare, that the English dub was added to it just to make it seem meatier. It’s the only aspect of this Blu-Ray that disappoints. Out of the four (real) special features, three of them are in standard definition. The only one that isn’t is the International Trailer, and, let’s face it, no one watches the trailers on home media releases. The Original Trailer is a worse, uglier version and the Highlights are just pointless…I have never seen a home media release feature highlights from the film itself. What’s the point? There is none. Most frustrating is the fact that the Behind The Scenes feature – which could have been the saving grace of the set – is 4 minutes long. There are brief moments of insight, but 4 minutes is just not long enough to learn much of anything.

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Overall

I’ve always been a fan of South Korean cinema, and War of the Arrows is a great example of their film-making prowess. Usually on a smaller scale, the South Koreans like to tell personal stories on a more intimate scope and level. But War of the Arrows proves that China isn’t the only Asian nation that can pull off an action blockbuster. The transfer on this Blu-Ray is beautiful and crisp and the audio is well mixed and clear. If it weren’t for the abysmal extras, this Blu-Ray would be near perfect. However, to experience the film itself is worth the purchase.

8-0-capsules-out-of-10

credit: http://www.capsulecomputers.com.au/2012/12/war-of-the-arrows-review/

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Review for War of the Arrows

9 / 10

Introduction


When was the last time you saw a decent bow and arrow movie? I've thought as hard as I can, and can only come up with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which is more indecent than decent, with its CGI arrow POVs, and arrows that fire two bows nonsense. Modern warfare and combat invariably boils down to guns and variations thereof, but when it comes to historical combat, you'll usually see the archers only as they unleash a sea of arrows at the start of a battle, while the actual meaty, character developmental stuff will be either sword-fighting, or it will be good old martial arts hand to hand combat. The personality of the archer rarely makes it onto screen. These characters are usually just there to add to the body count. What's ironic is that in history, the archer was the most important combatant on the battlefield; indeed the first Japanese Samurai during the Heian period were more likely to be archers on horseback, than they were sword-wielding foot soldiers. It's high time that these unsung warriors got some screen time to themselves. Fortunately, that's where the Korean movie War of the Arrows comes in, arriving in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray courtesy of Cine Asia. I get to look at the rather delectable Blu-ray for this review.

 

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Brother and sister Nam-Yi and Ja-In had a traumatic childhood. The overthrow of the previous king meant that their family were marked as traitors and purged as a result. Their father's final words to Nam-Yi were that he should protect his sister until the end, his final gift, the bow whose inscription would come to inspire Nam-Yi's life. The two siblings managed to escape to the country, where they were taken in by their father's friend. 13 years later, Nam-Yi has grown up to be resentful, unruly, and un-ambitious. Not surprising when you consider that as the child of a traitor, he has no future in the country. He is though a highly skilled archer, and peerless as a hunter.
 
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It's his awareness of his family's position that makes him reluctant to bless the wedding of his sister to their childhood friend, and he chooses to go hunting on that day. But all of that falls by the wayside when the forces of the Qing dynasty invade. The Chinese are ruthless and without mercy, tearing through the border villages with ferocious intensity, taking many prisoners, and killing all that are left behind. Nam-Yi races back to protect his sister, but he's too late. She and her new husband have been taken by the invaders, and are being marched, along with several other captives back to Manchuria. Joseon law is that anyone who crosses the border for whatever reason is considered a traitor. None of that matters to Nam-Yi, whose only goal is to rescue Ja-In. But he's just one man, against an entire army. To make matters worse, Ja-In catches the eye of the lecherous Manchu prince. If that wasn't bad enough, the prince's own elite archers are on Nam-Yi's tail.
 

Picture


There's an Islamic philosophy, that only God can attain perfection. For this reason, you'll find Islamic artists and artisans deliberately leaving a single flaw in their creations to pay tribute to the perfection of divinity. I feel that Cine Asia approach their Blu-ray releases with the same philosophy. War of the Arrows is nigh on perfect in high definition, save for a fraction of a second where the camera pans up to a patch of sky, and some digital banding becomes obvious. Other than that, there are no nits to pick with this transfer. The 1080p 2.35:1 widescreen image is breathtaking. The image is crystal clear throughout, bringing the detail, the colours, and vivid depth of the cinematic experience across to stunning effect. The film's astounding production design, the exquisite costume design gets the best possible treatment here, while the action is pretty amazing, although it does get bogged down with the odd lapse into shaky cam clichés.
 
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Sound


You have the choice between DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Korean, and DD 2.0 Stereo in the same language, with optional English subtitles. I stuck with the DTS track for the duration, and was as happy as I could be with its great representation of the film's sound design, Action sequences are suitably dynamic, the quieter scenes impress with their subtlety, and the traditional styled music drives the pace of the film along well. The dialogue is clear throughout, while the subtitles are free of error and accurately timed.
 

Extras


The animated menu follows the usual format for Cine Asia discs, a bar of options at the top, with scenes from the film playing in the background.

On the disc, you'll find in the trailer gallery an HD presentation of the UK trailer, and the SD version of the International trailer. There are trailers for twelve other Cine Asia releases in another menu on the disc.

Under the extras menu, you'll find a couple of short featurettes presented in SD format. Behind The Scenes lasts 4 minutes, and offers soundbites from the cast and crew about the film. The Making Of lasts 8 minutes and is simply b-roll footage, some of it repeated from the Behind the Scenes featurette. The Showcase lasts 3 minutes and acts as an extended trailer.
 
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This would be slim pickings, were it not for the Aiming for the Bullseye featurette. Subtitled An Interview with Director Kim Han-Min (Cine Asia Exclusive), this lasts 32 minutes, is presented in 1080p HD, and here the director speaks in depth about the film, the history that inspired it, the casting process and the actual making of the film.

Finally, there is the Bey Logan audio commentary, in which he tells us everything we need to know about the film, the actors, the story, the history, Korea, China, the secret of life, the universe and everything. Bey Logan commentaries are the best bit about the extra features on Cine Asia discs, and on occasion they can be better than the movie itself, and the one on War of the Arrows is no exception.

Conclusion


It's just like Titanic. No, don't run away. You see Titanic was a fictional love story set against the background of a genuine historic event. In the same way War of the Arrows is a nail-biting action movie set against the genuine events that took place in Korea at the start of the 17th Century. Here the overthrow of one king and the purge of nobles that accompanied it, followed sixteen years later by the second Manchurian invasion, and the capture of 500,000 Koreans, taken back across the border to be slaves for the nascent Qing dynasty, serve as the backdrop for one man's mission to rescue and protect his sister. It's also one of the best action movies I have seen in many an age, with engaging characters, a sharp story, plenty of twists and turns, and action sequences that had me on the edge of my seat. There are cliff-hangers aplenty in War of the Arrows, and thrilling set pieces with an eye to realism, that strongly contrasts the sort of action cinema that you usually see from places like Hong Kong.
 
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It's hard to envisage just how exciting archery as presented in this film actually is. After all the weapon is practically silent, is used at a remove, and involves more stillness, patience and cunning than it does hyper-fast movement and kinetic violence. Perhaps the best analogy to the modern era would be a movie about snipers. Snipers operate at a distance, and when you get a movie about two snipers pitted against each other, it becomes a tactical chess game punctuated by intense moments of action, it becomes about the personalities, the psychological strengths and weaknesses of the combatants, and done well it can be gripping stuff indeed.

In War of the Arrows, Nam-Yi has grown up wedded to the bow. Despite his family being purged during the overthrow of the last king, despite his acceptance that his life will never be allowed to amount to much, he still takes on the last commandment of his father, shoulders his legacy, and becomes a skilled archer in order to protect his younger sister. But aside from his skill, he's pretty much grown up as a delinquent, and isn't too pleased when his sister decides to get married. All of these petty concerns are thrown aside when the Manchurians invade, slaughter his adoptive family, and kidnap his sister. Then it becomes all about finding and rescuing her. The thing is that the Manchurians are reputedly the best archers in the world. So instead of two snipers facing off against each other, it turns out to be Nam-Yi versus a whole army of snipers. To make matters worse, before he even learns of his sister's fate, he bumps into the invading Manchurian prince and his elite guard. So now, not only is he chasing after his kidnapped sister, he's pursued by the best archers in the Manchurian army. It's the ultimate chase movie.
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War of the Arrows is brilliant stuff. I was hooked from beginning to end. It's got it all, drama, comedy, plenty of action. It has scenery chewing villains, charismatic heroes, its combat action sequences are stunningly well choreographed, and I was glued to the screen. Hollywood can only dream of making action cinema this engrossing. I can't recommend War of the Arrows enough.

I've just thought of another decent movie about archery. It's also a Korean movie called The Bow, although it's more of an art house piece, as far from an action movie as you can get.

credit: http://www.myreviewer.com/Blu-ray/148248/War-of-the-Arrows/148249/Review-by-Jitendar-Canth

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War of the Arrows

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

The more I watch Asian cinema, the more I realize that the filmmaking system in that part of the world is much better than that of the United States. There, studios seem to back the odd projects - where in the U.S., they steer clear of them. Domestically, they're looking for a proven product, a sure thing. But over there, they're allowed to make whatever they want. For example, a movie like 'Battle Royale' would never be made by a U.S. studio unless it was based upon a wildly popular teen book series and there was a void of a teen-fueled franchise - like 'The Hunger Games,' an American teen-friendly rip of 'Battle Royale.' With the 'Harry Potter' film franchise having wrapped up, Lionsgate is chomping at the bit to take its place in pop culture as the next big series. But would any American studio touch a story about government-forced child death matches had it not been based on proven material? No. But Japan did back in 2000 and it was called 'Battle Royale.' They had the stones to make it fresh, creative, original and gritty. 'The Hunger Games' appears to be nothing more than an expensive probably PG-13 version of it that wouldn't have existed had it not been for Japan tackling it first.

What does all this have to do with 'War of the Arrows?' Considering how much the U.S. was bombarded with and burned out by expensive epic movies in the last decade, 'War of the Arrows' is a refreshing outsider's take on the genre that returns us to pre-CG epic movies made on limited budgets – and it's absolutely awesome. Had an American studio tried making this movie, it would be an effects-filled fiasco just like many of the others, but as it is, it's brilliant.

'War of the Arrows' opens with an intense sequence showing a village being raided. Soldiers of the new villainous king are cutting their way through this small town hunting down a few specific opponents of the king deemed as traitors. This scene is made uniquely intense because we basically see it from the point-of-view of a little girl, the daughter of a hunted "traitor." She and her teenage brother are not only running from the soldiers, but also from a pack of trained enemy dogs. Be warned, if you don't like seeing animal cruelty on screen, you probably won't enjoy this opening sequence. Several dogs are shown being killed by swords, arrows, and repeated bashings with blunt objects.

When their father knows that he's not going to make it out alive, he distracts the soldiers long enough for his kids to get away. But before doing so, he commissions the son with acting as his little sister's protective father figure, telling them the location of a secret village of dissenters who can teach him the art of archery.

Cut to 13 years later. The older brother, Nam-Yi, is now a fool. He's become a self-loathing drunk. He doesn't mind his leaders and has no self value. His now-grown sister, Ja-In, is very beautiful, but because Nam-Yi is more protective than he ought to be, no man has the courage to ask his permission to court her. Only making matters worse is the mindset that Nam-Yi carries. He believes that no one will want to marry her because she's the daughter of a traitor. But everything changes in a 'Braveheart' sort of way when she marries a good man without his permission. During the wedding festivities, the village is discovered and raided by the king's men – much like the scene from the opening of the film.

Wanting nothing to do with his sister's wedding, Nam-Yi hunts in the mountains with his friends while the raid occurs - but he and his friends don't go unscathed. Some of the prince's best archers spot them leaving the trees and engage them in battle. Being the first time in a life-or-death situation since the tragedy 13 years earlier, Nam-Yi's instincts and training instantly kick in stronger than they ever have before, but it's only enough to keep himself alive. When he gets back to the burned out village, he learns that his sister has been taken to the prince – but Nam-Yi's not going to stand for that.

The first half of 'War of the Arrows' establishes the characters and gets Nam-Yi to a point where he can rescue Ja-In. The second half is comparable to that of 'Apocalypto,' focusing on Nam-Yi's smart attempt at getting the hell out of dodge. It's fun, cool and stylized, filled with plenty of tension and violent action - all with a minimal budget and very little CG.

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

Well Go USA has put 'War of the Arrows' in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. The blue vortex keepcase, which houses both the Region-A BD-25 and DVD of the film, slides vertically into a cool black matted cardboard keepcase. As with most Well Go Blu-rays, a slew of unskippable videos play before the main menu, including an FBI warning, a vanity reel and trailers for 'Let the Bullets Fly,' '1911,' 'A Better Tomorrow' and 'The Man From Nowhere.'

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

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'War of the Arrows' has been given a nice 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode. Despite the case claiming that the film is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, it's actually shown in 2.35:1.

What you will immediately notice is the great sharpness and clarity. Despite being set in the dark dead of night, details are powerful and precise in the opening sequence. You'll see individual specks of blood splatter as arrows pass through the bodies of innocent villagers and chomping dogs. Sadly, the second thing you will notice is the banding, which actually occurs more than a handful of times throughout the film. Banding isn't the only compression flaw found on the disc. Flickering aliasing occasionally appears in close-ups of hair and in tightly woven clothing patterns.

Despite the black levels being very strong, there's a small amount of crushing that occurs in the middle of the film. Fleshtones are natural and contract is consistent. 'War of the Arrows' isn't wildly colorful, but the colors are featured are natural and not overly saturated. The red of blood is deep and strong. There aren't any traces of digital noise, DNR, edge enhancement or artifacts.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

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While there are both lossless Korean and English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks, I recommend going the Korean route with subtitles because the English dub is so inorganic and flat that it's an unnecessary distraction.

Much like the sharpness of the video, the high quality audio is immediately noteworthy upon starting the film – only it's flawless. All channels are constantly in use with well-mixed effects and music, making this the very best and most dynamic use of sound in a Well Go USA release that I've seen to date.

The opening raid is a demo-worthy sound sequence. The footsteps of armed enemies rushing the village adds to the intensity. The speakers are also lit up with barking dogs, crackling sounds of burning torches, chinking armor and swords and screaming civilians. The great use of bass and LFE also adds to the panic attack-inducing tension.

This great mix never lacks. The calm scenes feature just as noteworthy audio as the action ones. Seamless imaging becomes a central character as the bow and arrow fighting becomes more prevalent. Many shots playfully feature arrows whizzing past the camera's point of view. Each time, the mix truly makes the arrows sound as if they're soaring past your head.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

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  • Behind the Scenes (SD, 4 min.) - This short featurette feels more like the intro to a making-of special feature than an entire feature itself. It teases certain things, but never explains them in full detail. For example, 'War of the Arrows' used filmmaking and stunt techniques that had never been done before in South Korea. What are they? I'm not too certain about because it's a topic barely touched upon. The statement is made, but never explained. The subtitled English translation also features grammatically bad and improper English.
  • Highlights (SD, 3 min.) - Imagine an extended trailer that reveals a lot, but not the ending. That's what this feature resembles.
  • Original Trailer (SD, 1 min.) - A short low-definition tease for the movie.
  • Trailer (HD, 2 min.) - Featuring praising quotes from large domestic reviewing outlets, this is the trailer that was seen stateside. If this doesn't entice you, then you probably won't enjoy 'War of the Arrows' as much as I did.

     

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are no HD bonus features.

Final Thoughts

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'War of the Arrows' is a refreshingly original and creative take on the epic movies. It takes the genre back to its low budget, low CG roots. Instead of banking on huge sequence with hundreds of background actors and CG hoards for your entertainment, it establishes a story and characters worth caring for. With very few special effects, the action is still able to get your heart pumping enough to make you sit on the edge of your seat. The extremely sharp and crisp definition of the video is only lacking because of compression issues – banding and aliasing, to be specific. The audio, however, isn't lacking at all. The five-star demo-worthy lossless track is just as impressive in the down-time than it is during the intense battle sequences. Despite a void of worthy special features, 'War of the Arrows' is still a recommended Blu-ray.

credit: http://bluray.highdefdigest.com/6217/war_arrows.html

 

 

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War of the Arrows

original title: Choi-jong-byeong-gi Hwal

Comparison:

  • Theatrical Version
  • Extended Cut

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Release: Jun 01, 2012 - Author: azog - Translator: DaxRider123 - external link: IMDB
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Comparison between the Theatrical Version and the Extended Cut, both included on the Korean Blu-Ray/DVD released by Art Service.

Just as you would expect it from the name " Extended Cut", this version of the movie is a little longer, however, does not really add anything tremendously new to the movie, nor does it alter the course of action too much. Due to the limited number of extensions the high pacing of the movie stays intact.

What is noticeable is that some violence was added to the movie due to which one might assume that some scenes had to be cut out for the theatrical release in order to receive a lower rating: The EC's rating is higher (18) than the rating of the theatrical version (15).

The Korean Blu-Ray special edition includes both versions, however, only the theatrical version is included in HD. As is often the case with Korean movie releases, the main feature includes English subtitles, however, the bonus material doesn't.

The dialogue and the names were taken from the subtitles of the Extended Cut.
 
 
 

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