Woochi – film review

Korean theatrical poster for "Woochi".
Korean theatrical poster for “Woochi”.
Five hundred years ago, an ancient magical flute was still in the hands of demons wreaking havoc among the peaceful citizens of Korea. Due to the carefree efforts of an irresponsible student (Jeon Woochi), the demons were defeated and the flute was broken in half, with each half being entrusted to ancient Taoist masters: the Master and Hwadam.

Unfortunately, an evil even more ancient than the flute reawakens in Hwadam, who then kills the Master to gain possession of both. Framed for the murder of the Master, Woochi and his trusty human dog Chorangyi are entrapped by three bumbling Taoist priests into a scroll painting much to the disappointment of Hwadam. Woochi possessed the other half of the flute.

Move forward 500 years to modern times where the movie Woochi really begins. Demons are again appearing in the land and the three priests who still walk among man in disguise decide it is time to release Woochi from his pictorial prison. However, they chain him and tell him he will earn freedom only if he captures the demons. Woochi sets out to defy them, destroy the demons, and enjoy modern life as much as he can.

When Woochi meets a woman with the same face as the one that had rescued him so many centuries ago, is it coincidence or the hand of Fate bringing about a prophecy? Hwadam still walks the earth, too, and has worked his way into the political & criminal world, gaining money and power while he still plots to reunite the two halves of the flute to call forth the demon underworld.

I had never seen a Korean martial arts movie before. I wasn’t sure how it would compare to the Chinese or Japanese varieties, so I watched Woochi at first with a skeptical eye, but the stunts, settings, and characters won me over. Woochi is a fun, wacky movie. It is sumptuously filmed, with rich colors and gorgeous period clothing which stand in contrast to the neon, gritty world we live in now. The action scenes are well done. You will find this Korean twist on the martial arts genre brings a fresh scent to something that we have come to think of as cheesy.

The strength in the movie, however, is the cleverly paced and woven plot full of foreshadowing and intrigue. Lastly, Woochi, played by Kang Dong-won, strides across the screen with charm, charisma, and cheek. Woochi is a fun flick to catch on Netflix and Amazon.com instant streaming.

Release Date: December 23, 2009 (South Korea)
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language: Korean
Original Title: 전우치 (Jeon Woo Chi)

MySF Rating: Four point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 100%

Content:

Alcohol/Drugs: 0
Language: 2 (d-words h-words)
Nudity: 0
Sexuality: 0
Violence: 3 (lots of fighting, explosions, fireballs of doom)


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