Legend of the Shadowless Sword, The (DVD)
A Wuxia adventure out of South Korea, The Legend of the Shadowless Sword
is a handsome martial arts epic by Kim Yung-jun (Flying Warriors
). The film's simple story allows for exceptionally creative action sequences about every three to four minutes, while simultaneously building a noble tale full of faith, love, and sacrifice. A beautiful female warrior named Yeonsoha (Yoon So-yi) goes in search of the last, living prince of the Balhae dynasty and its kingdom, overrun years before by the Geordan empire. The prince, Jeong Hyeon (Seo Jin Lee), has been in hiding 14 years as a black market trader, concerned primarily for his own safety and deeply cynical about any thought of going back to retrieve his family's throne. Yeonsoha, however, proves persuasive, especially in light of the many attempts on Jeong's life by a gang of assassins. The shady killers are led by a vengeance-seeking Kun (Hyeong Jun-Shin) and his assistant, (Ki-Yong Lee), another sword-wielding babe who gets into plenty of wild skirmishes with Yeonsoha.
The story essentially follows Jeong and Yeonsoha's efforts to get back to a waiting army of Balhae exiles awaiting a king's leadership. As the hours and days pass, Jeong gets in touch with the man he once was, a fearless warrior whose exploits on the battlefield are well-known to Yeonsoha, whose connection to the prince seems mysteriously personal. The film's numerous fight scenes are never redundant, employing all manner of props and ideas for exciting fights. But it's the performances that really hold everything together, the deep if understated emotions and the excitement of watching two mismatched lead characters slowly realize how important they are to one another. --Tom Keogh