August 1, 2010

The Divine Weapon: God, It's a Long Time Before The Rebels Rise to Glory

Personally, I have a hard time getting revved up for a movie about the development of the first multiple rocket launcher and the first missile (even if it's interesting to learn that both were developed in Chosun in 1430). Hearing female warrior Hong-ri (Han Eun-jeong) bark orders then pull her hair out as she tries to figure out how many millimeters an injector hole is supposed to be just isn't gripping drama to me. I prefer seeing her suitor, crafty merchant Seol-joo (Jeong Jae-yeong), in an endless series of "one man vs. a hundred soldiers" street fights. Now that's cool! And while there's plenty of kicking and sword clanging, The Divine Weapon's only really glorious match up comes at the end when the scrappy Chosun renegades -- who've been slaving over their weapon of mass destruction for two hours -- stab, slice, kick, pierce then mass slaughter their way to freedom while battling an army ten times their size. In that climactic scene, director Kim Yu-jin taps into the magnificent awe and terror that the first exploding mega-weapon must have produced among soldiers who thought, until then, that arrows were as far-reaching as you could get. For that scene alone (and you can fast forward to it if you like), The Divine Weapon is worth seeing.

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