The Restless [중천]


The Restless [중천]
Jeong Woo-Sung, Kim Tae-Hee, Heo Jun-Ho, So Yi-Hyeon, Park Sang-Wook
Directed by:
Jo Dong-Oh
Written by:
Jo Dong-Oh
Martial, Action, Romance
South Korea
102 mins


It is AD 924, at the end of the United Shilla Dynasty. Continuous riots sweep the land ruled by a corrupted government. Evil forces are rampant and malicious demons roam the land. YI Kwak, born with the powers to see spirits, joins the royal demon hunting squad, ‘Chuh-yong-dae’ after losing his fiancée, Yon-hwa to evil demons. YI Kwak excels as the most talented warrior of Chuh-yong-dae and the royal squad seems to gain momentum as powerful fighters against the forces of darkness. Then one day, YI Kwak drifts into Joongcheon, the world of the dead through a strange shrine. Joongcheon, the intermediate world between Heaven and Earth, a place souls remain for 49 days, preparing for reincarnation.



The Korean “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”.
Breath taking visuals and special effects, along with a sweeping musical score help to lift this movie higher than its stuttering storyline can take it.   The ember effects of when a “person” get’s killed while in Mid-Heaven are amazing, and really caught my eye but in fact all the effects were really well done and polished.  Joong woo-Sung (“Daisy”, “Sad Movie”, “Muttboy”, and “Musa”) played the dashing hero part well enough but was far from one of his best performances.  Kim Tae-Hee (“Love Story in Harvard”, “Stairway to Heaven”) also did likewise but she seemed more detached throughout the movie than need be.  It wasn’t until the end that she (abruptly it seemed) warmed up.  Since Yon-hwa didn’t have any memories the love story part of the film seemed disjointed and forced.  Had there been a scene where she suddenly got a flood of her old memories back, only to have to go at the end would have made the whole thing more heartfelt.
I felt that the history of Yi Kwak and his comrads in the Chuh-yong-dae as well as their ensuing conflict of having to kill/fight their own friend should have been played up more as that would have added a bit more depth to the story in terms of emotional tension.  The end battle where Yi Kwak faces overwhelming scores of demons was very well choreographed and could have been straight out of a “Dynasty Warriors” game.  I felt the ending battle with Yi Kwaks mentor was a bit short and could have been played up more to reach a higher climax.
The biggest detractor for this movie was the confusing ending. He came back alive, then died, than came back alive again only to die?  I’m still trying to figure out what happened, and if he was already in Mid-Heaven where did Yon-hwa go?  I expected a scene at the end where he wakes up at the shrine again…after all he only went to sleep.  Overall it was a movie worth watching, but it’s obvious that the money spent went into the great visual effects, and not enough into the story.  Regardless, the effects alone make this movie worth watching.