August 27, 2008

Musa - The Warriors: Once Upon a Time in 1375 A.D.

You can call it an historical epic, a period war movie, a Medieval costume drama, or an Oriental homage to Peckinpah. You could also call it a horror flick in disguise. How's that? Well, Kim Sung-su's suspenseful Musa - The Warriors can go bucket for bucket with many a slasher film plus its combat scenes are filmed in today's reigning jittery style. Heads fly off when you least expect it; red sprays from throats, bellies, backs, eye sockets, severed limbs and mouths wrenched in pain. More thrilling than chilling, Musa - The Warriors furthermore follows a typical genre thread by connecting all carnage by way of psychotic pursuers. The runaway princess (Zhang Ziyi) rescued by Korean envoys disrespected by the Ming dynasty to which she belongs are stalked, hunted, and taunted by various bloodthirsty Mongols ready to resort to any means necessary to get the girl. Too bad for the bad guys, the general (Ju Jin-mo) has eyes for the noblewoman. Too bad for the general, so does a slave (Jung Woo-sung). By the time these two reconcile their differences, any hope for survival has been obliterated. Like any good fright flick, the one warrior to get out alive (Ahn Sung-kee) sails out alone in the shadow of hopelessness. Genius!

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