Starring: Lee Seo-Jin (“Damo”, “Phoenix”),
Yoon Soy (Arahan), Lee Gi-Yong,
Shin Hyeon-Joon (Bichunmoo, Guns and Talks)
Directed by: Kim Yeong-Joon (Bichunmoo)
Written by: Kim Tae-Kwan, Sin Joon-Hee
Runtime: 104 min.
In 926 of this fantasy era the country of Georan invaded Balhae and took over their capital. One year later the country is overrun and nearly all of the Balhae royal family has been assassinated by the vengeful Gunhwapyeong and his Killer Blade Army. The downtrodden and enslaved Balhae are desperate for a saviour, but where can they turn when they have no king, no one to unite the people and rally them against their enemies?
One lone prince remains, the heroic Jeong-Hyeon, famous for leading the army to but exiled 14 years earlier for some (apparently secret) political reason. Ace swords-woman Yeon Soha is dispatched to fetch the lost prince and bring him back to save his homeland. The Georan have also discovered his location, though, and send Gunhwapyeong’s number one hench-woman, Mae YoungOk, to capture him. They want him to help them control the masses; Gunhwapyeong just wants him dead.
Caught in the middle of this mess is Jeong-Hyeon, now going by the name Sosam. The future king is not exactly a morally upright guy who wants to take on the baddies and save the people who kicked him out. No, he’s pretty content with his current position as pawnbroker to the dregs of society. After all, which would you rather have gunning for you: a few disgruntled customers, or a group of sadistic and merciless psycho killers? Needless to say, Soha’s arrival is far from welcome. Torn between joining her and gaining her protection, or facing Mae and her gang on his own, the prince agrees to follow her as far as his mother’s grave.
Shadowless Sword is essentially a fun action flick with a thinly veiled message about responsibility and finding your place in the world. For those keeping track, there are numerous plot holes and dropped scenarios, for example, Soha and Mae seem to have a past, but it’s never explained. Soha has some secret connection to Jeong-Hyeon that isn’t actually revealed until they run the credits, a BIG editing mistake! It’s pointless to discuss the acting (adequate) because Shadowless Sword is mostly about the fighting! Can you hold a sword? Can you look cool holding it? Do you mind wearing a lot of mascara? That’s all we need to know!
Like Bichunmoo, the action sequences are heavily influenced by Hong Kong films (though those who expect it to be a wuxia film would do well to think of it more as a live-action anime). Many scenes are infused with unexpected bits of humour which echo any number of anime of the same genre, and it just makes it plain old entertaining! Sure, there is alot of unnecessary posing and some silly romantic elements, but over all, a good time. Bottom line? Shadowless Sword is an enjoyable movie with cool weapons and costumes, decent though emotionally shallow characters, and fun fight sequences, which never slow down or drag.
… and there’s a lot of mascara. Which, essentially, we could do without! 😛
edited by Saharial