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118 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting
Set during the second Manchu invasion of Korea, a lethal archer goes up against the Qing Dynasty to save his younger sister who was dragged away by invaders. Fans of kick-ass archery will be in heaven here. Both the protagonist and the antagonists use bows and arrows almost exclusively. The pacing is very fast, with the entire second half consisting of a...
Published on January 9, 2012 by Anticlimacus

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Some good action
I would’ve rated it a bit better but can’t stand the classic fools that sometimes, or very often, appear in Chinese martial arts movies around the hero figure, even though this is Korean. It’s a turn off when trying to watch a serious action-drama.
Published 4 months ago by CCC


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118 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, January 9, 2012
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This review is from: War of the Arrows (DVD)
Set during the second Manchu invasion of Korea, a lethal archer goes up against the Qing Dynasty to save his younger sister who was dragged away by invaders. Fans of kick-ass archery will be in heaven here. Both the protagonist and the antagonists use bows and arrows almost exclusively. The pacing is very fast, with the entire second half consisting of a footchase/shootout in a forest. Most of the action is grounded and realistic, with a few exceptions. Acting is solid too. Very exciting and totally entertaining.
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77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For someone who is not a big fan of this genre this was excellent. Best movie like this since Hero. A must see. I say A., February 1, 2012
By 
Tony Heck (Belgrade, MT USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: War of the Arrows [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
"You're now Ja-in's father, you must take care of your sister until you die." After getting into an argument with his sisters fiancé Nam-Yi leaves his village before her wedding. When he returns he is told of the attack and kidnapping of his sister and sets out with his bow to get her back and exact revenge. As many of you may know I have never really been a big fan of these epic martial arts type movies. There have been a few I liked but not many. This one may be the best one I have seen since "Hero". This movie grabs you from the opening scene and is action packed and keeps you interested the entire time. The story and action are very well done and there is not a dull moment in this at all. There are some very brutal scenes in this but it's not over the top at all and it helps the story. For fans of this genre this is a must see. For those like me who can go either way this is still a movie that is very much worth watching. Overall, one of the best of this genre I have seen. I give it an A.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie!, January 7, 2012
This review is from: War of the Arrows (DVD)
This movie is very well done. The action is intense and riveting. From beginning to end, the movie will keep you glue to the screen. A rare telling of Manchurian attempted invasion of Korea.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WAR OF THE ARROWS: A Perfect Cinema Bulls-eye, February 23, 2012
This review is from: War of the Arrows [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Without a doubt, WAR OF THE ARROWS is one of the finest period `actioners' I've seen in years; in fact, the last time I remember being this excited about a period adventure piece was probably CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. It's technically accomplished on a level with the best films that the cinema has to offer audiences. I understand from some of my reading on the film that WAR made buckets of money at the box office, and it's not hard to see why: it's a rousing adventure - one with multiple heroes waging personal battles against obvious villains - set at a breakneck pace, all coupled with a unique love story between a young couple as well as one between a brother and a sister.

The story begins in the heat of a battle - Manchurian barbarians are raiding a mountain village - where a young boy, Choi Nam-yi (played by Park Hae-il), tries to keep his sister, Choi Ja-in (played by Moon Chae-won) safe from all of the danger. Quickly, they're both rescued by their father, who implores his son to raise his sister as if he were her own daughter, before the elder archer is killed by the forces destroying their home. The siblings flee, and they're soon captured and taken in by a community of men and women. There, they find safety and grow into adults, with Nam-yi becoming a skilled archer and his sister destined to wed Kim Seo-gun (played by Kim Mu-yeol), the son of the group's leader. However, the Manchurian invaders eventually strike again, destroying the city and taking everyone hostage except Nam-yi, who escapes but soon arms himself with his deadly bow to rescue his people from the forces of evil.

WAR OF THE ARROWS is brilliantly structured. It combines popular textural elements of myth and fairy tale, feeling at times as though the story may've been lifted from a story book, and sets those elements up against the harsh, grim reality of born out of foreign occupation. The innocent are captured, their spirit broken, their villages destroyed, and the victors play incessantly torturous tricks on them, dashing all of their hopes of finding peace or complacency again. As an audience, you cheer their inevitable comeuppance once our hero sets his lone bow against theirs, becoming a kind of unstoppable, medieval `Dirty Harry.' All he wants to do is save his sister, but, before it's all said and done, he's liable to save an entire people from being destroyed. Along the way, he finds a few companions, and, together, they brave the odds to put right what's been torn away from them. It's the kind of film that's best seen with a crowd - a collective experience to hiss at the scoundrels and cheer on the heroes.

Well Go USA's presentation is sharp and crisp as the colors pop and there's very little grain to distract from the entire film. There's a sequence with a short action sequence involving a tiger (a narrative `loop' from a part early in the film's story to later events) that involves some less-than-stellar CGI composition that could've used another brush or two from the special effects department, but it's a forgivable sin as any reasonable person can understand and appreciate the danger of having a live animal attacking live actors onscreen. Also, I think it's worth noting that there's some exceptional editing throughout WAR; the pacing - especially during the action sequences, of which there are many - is superb and tight. Additionally, there are some unique tricks with sound worked on the film's track - the film is replete with sequences involving several archers - that keep the viewers interest and elevate the storytelling to accomplished levels.

Sadly, the disc comes with very few extras. There's a short, basic `making of' snippet - it plays out like a featurette and doesn't really offer any revealing information, feeling more like an ad piece. Given the fact that the story deals with moments of history between Korea and Manchuria, I would've liked to have known more; sure, I can always Google or Wiki some additional information, but it would've been nice, at least, to have some basic direction of where to begin researching some of this period on my own as I'm a history junkie when it comes to stories tied to history like WAR OF THE ARROWS is. Better luck next time, producers! Give us more than just an A+ story! <snicker snicker>

Highest recommendation

In the interests of fairness, I'm pleased to share that the kind folks at Well Go USA provided me with a screener copy of WAR OF THE ARROWS for the purposes of completing this review.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than "The Hunger Games", April 17, 2012
By 
James A. Collard (Pacific Palisades, California USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: War of the Arrows [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Having seen news reports that interest in archery has dramatically increased since the release of "The Hunger Games," I would suggest that "War Of The Arrows," would start an archery epidemic. Comparing the two films is like arguing that "Dumb and Dumber" is better than "The Godfather." One is simple (not to suggest stupidity) and the other is complex (without being difficult to understand).

If archery is your thing, "The War Of The Arrows" will completely satisfy that hunger. If you want nothing more than a great entertainment, you will not regret the time invested.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sudden death from distance, kicking it old-school, April 14, 2012
By 
H. Bala "Me Too Can Read" (Recently moved back to Carson, California, or as I call it... the center of the universe) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: War of the Arrows (DVD)
I could go into detail about this choice bit of South Korean cinema. I could mention that WAR OF THE ARROWS, set in the 17th century, prefaces the meat of the story with the King's loyal servant and legendary archer being executed on trumped-up charges, and that the archer's young son and daughter subsequently flee and gain sanctuary with their father's old comrade. Thirteen years would elapse, and, in the home of their father's friend, the son and daughter, Nam-yi and Ja-in, grow into young adults.

Except that, somewhere in the intervening years, Nam-yi (Hae-il Park) had lost his way. A bowman of some skill, Nam-yi nurses a healthy bump of self-preservation. But as the son of a widely labeled traitor, he lives a wasted life, and disillusionment has set in. WAR OF THE ARROWS (Original title: "Choi-jong-byeong-gi Hwal") goes on to chronicle Nam-yi's fight for redemption. But the thing you need to know most is this: WAR OF THE ARROWS lays down some pretty awesome archery-fu.

China's ambitious Qing dynasty and its invasion of Korea's Joseon state fuel Nam-yi's quest for atonement. The brutal attack coincides with the wedding of Nam-yi's sister Ja-in. When Qing troops abduct Ja-in (as well as 500,000 other Korean hostages), Nam-yi, tardy to the scene, embarks on a far-fetched rescue mission, armed only with his father's old bow and a supply of red-fletched arrows.

As the Qing forces and their hostages make their way to Manchuria, and as we track Nam-yi's relentless one-man guerrilla warfare, we're treated to several moments of fiendish marksmanship as the traitor's son takes out one enemy soldier after another. If you dig underdog stories, then you can't help but get jazzed when Nam-yi's exhibition of unfailing aim gradually has a demoralizing effect on the Qing troops. Even the Qing's elite cadre of bowmen begins to marvel at this determined sniper dogging their heels. Robin Hood, I think, would approve of Nam-yi who, in the eyes of his enemies, gradually ascend to near mythical status.

WAR OF THE ARROWS is an epic historical action film. It keeps you on edge with its well-staged scenes of dazzling bowmanship and the suspenseful cat-and-mouse games enacted between Nam-yi and the Qing's band of select archers. The narrative roots you emotionally, thanks in large part to Hae-il Park's transformative performance, going from disillusioned no-good-nik to selfless hero. Veteran actor Ryu Seung-ryong brings a commanding presence as the warlord heading up the elite Qing archers (I grudgingly liked the guy). Moon Chae-Won has soaked in her props for injecting refreshing backbone and feistiness into Ja-in, a character who doesn't take her abduction lying down. In fact, action-wise, her character would be pivotal in the film's climactic sequence. With its slew of dynamic moments, I think WAR OF THE ARROWS one-ups Russell Crowe's recent take on Robin Hood. I think that director Kim Han-min has managed to breathe fresh life into the bow and arrow picture. And Nam-yi is mesmerizing, both as a conflicted character and a dead-eye marksman who doesn't necessarily have to shoot straight to hit his target. Nock that shaft, Nam-yi, and let it loose crooked if you wish. The effect's the same.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies I've seen in a while, March 30, 2012
By 
B. Sounthonevichith (Antioch, Tennessee United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: War of the Arrows [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
After his father was framed for treason and his entire household are executed. Nam-yi (Park Hae-il, Scent of Love and Memories of Murder) escapes with his sister Ja-in (Moon Chae-won, Painter of the Wind, Brilliant Legacy and My Fair Lady). Now fast forward thirteen years and Ja-in is now getting married. However, as the wedding is taking place, the Manchurian army invades and kills / captures the entire town. War of the Arrows is about a brother's attempt to rescue his only remaining family member who's just been kidnapped.

This movie has some very nice acting and great costumes. The bows and arrows are authentic looking, are nicely detailed and used throughout the movie. They also have some very good scenery as there are lots of forest scenes and mountains. The movie also has a somewhat bad CGI of a tiger attack. I watched this movie in Korean with English subs, like 95% of all my foreign films. I did try out the English dub for about five minutes but couldn't take it so I switched back to Korean and never looked back. This is basically a bare bones blu ray as the only extras you'll be getting is a four minute making featurette with a very fast cast interview of the four main characters and a bunch of trailers for the movie. This is one of the best movies I've seen within the past year as I've been very disappointed lately with some of Hollywood's offerings.

I thought about giving this movie only a one star review as it didn't come with any digital copy or UV at all. Then, I decided not to as I actually watched and enjoyed it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous, intense, and just exceptionally action packed., March 1, 2012
This review is from: War of the Arrows [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
A skilled archer is betrayed by his king and is labeled a traitor. As his home is invaded, he has his children flee to the home of his best friend, Kim Min-soon (Lee Kyeong-Yeong). Before they can escape, his children witness their father's death. Thirteen years later, the archer's children have both inherited their father's archery skills. Nam-Yi (Park Hae-il) spends most of his days brooding, keeping to himself, and drinking his life away. Ja-in (Moon Chae-won) has bigger things in mind and is prepared to marry the son of Kim Min-soon Seo-goon (Kim Mu-Yeol) even if it's without her older brother's blessing. On their wedding day, Manchurian soldiers attack their village, kidnap Ja-in, and enslave everyone that isn't killed in the initial attack. Nam-Yi will stop at nothing to gain revenge and rescue his sister with his trusted bow even if it means going up against the Qing army and its remorseless commander Jyuu Shin-Ta (Ryu Seung-Ryong).

If the trailer doesn't sell you on War of the Arrows, then nothing will. The brief glimpses you get of the chase through the forest and arrows practically falling into your lap as they wisp by you should make that inner action child inside most of us squeal with delight. Have you ever been on the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland? There's a part where arrows are supposedly being shot at you and you feel gusts of air blowing from every direction giving you the feeling that you're narrowly dodging serious injury or death. I would love to see War of the Arrows in a theater with that effect when the action gets heavy. It would be one of the greatest movie theater experiences ever.

To state the obvious, there's an extreme importance lying on bows and arrows in this foreign action film. It does take place in the mid-1600s, so maybe firearms had yet to make it to Korea. It's fascinating to see a war movie like this with an absence of any sort of guns though, especially with such excellent results. The arrows are not only important as a weapon, but the types of arrows used by each individual archer usually helps identify the person shooting them. The half-pound arrow is a great example, but even Nam-Yi's red arrows make it easier for his enemy to track him.

The fast-paced action does get really heavy though and that should be the selling point. Get excited whenever somebody runs into a forest. Those sequences along with the ones in the field are the best in the film. Arrows flying in every direction, everyone hiding behind trees for cover, and blood spraying into the air as some unfortunate soul wasn't aware of Nam-Yi's awesome arrow shooting technique. It's also pretty much become the standard of all foreign films looking superb on Blu-ray. War of the Arrows is littered with luscious shades of green, red, and yellow. The film is just completely enriched with both color and fantastic action.

Complaints for the film are few and far between. The camera work is a bit too shaky at times, especially in the first half of the film. It seems like the camera man is running with the actors, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but will leave you craving a steadier shot. We probably could have gone without the barf scene, as well. The completely computer generated tiger also looks kind of funky, but isn't around long enough to be much of an issue.

War of the Arrows is beautiful to look at, has a solid story, features a strong cast, and its action is swift and intense. While the camera work is a bit wobbly at times during the action sequences, it eventually balances out. With its vibrant colors, breathtaking scenery, and accelerated chases that usually end in bloodshed, War of the Arrows is not to be missed by anyone who's a fan of action or foreign films.

Special features and extras are kept to a bare minimum. There's a four minute behind the scenes feature. The biggest piece of information you take away from it is how fast Park Hae-il was able to learn how to ride horses and use a bow and arrow. The three minute "Highlights" feature is a little odd. It introduces the characters, but also gives away several key story moments. Then there's the original trailer and the U.S. trailer. That's all the bonus materials War of the Arrows has.

War of the Arrows is currently available as a one-disc DVD and a two-disc DVD/Blu-ray combo pack. The film is rated R for bloody violence, presented in a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio in both stereo and 5.1 HD Surround Sound, and available in Korean with English subtitles or an English dub track. War of the Arrows is approximately 123 minutes long and is now available in most retail outlets and online stores.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proud of Korean Cinema, January 18, 2012
By 
Anna Cho (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: War of the Arrows (DVD)
This movie was 2011 Top movie in Korea. I had a chance to watch on the plane. Wow. Couldn't believe it was made by Korea. Perfect script, laser-like camera walk, actions, acting... can't take my eyes off from the little screen for 2 hours. Just did pre-order to watch on big screen.

True advance of Korean Cinema. I am proud of it! If you like a epic drama of a hero like "Gladiator" with Oriental touch, this movie is for you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (3.5 STARS) "To Save His Sister": Solid Period Action Movie, September 15, 2012
This review is from: War of the Arrows (DVD)
A big box-office hit in South Korea in 2011, a period action movie "War of the Arrows" chronicles the desperate attempts of a lonely archer Choi Nam-yi (Park Hae-il), whose young sister Choi Ja-in (Moon Chae-won) is kidnapped by the invading armies of the Manchu Qing Empire. Nam-yi has to catch up with the Qing army going north with captive villagers before it is too late.

Not much historical knowledge is needed to enjoy the film's thrilling combat scenes. Set in the early 17th century, the drama starts with an episode about young Nam-yi and Ja-in trying to escape from the city of Hanyang (today's Seoul) with their death-sentenced father, who gives his son a family heirloom bow. Not much action takes place in the film's first third, except the wedding of Ja-in and Kim Seo-goon (Kim Mu-yeol), where the film's story gets interesting.

Some of the film's earlier action scenes are edited choppily, with the camera moving and jolting too much, but wait a while. The action sequences get better as the Qing army's commander Jyuushinta (Ryoo Seung-ryong) enters the story, tracking down our deadly archer with his band of fearsome warriors. The film's best part is their life-or-death chase in the mountains that may remind you of the first John Rambo movie.

The storyline looks like a cross between "The Last of the Mohicans" and Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto," and the film's two hour running time is a bit too long, spending too much time on the introductory part, but "War of the Arrows" delivers its goods, a nice, trilling action movie.
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War of the Arrows [Blu-ray]
War of the Arrows [Blu-ray] by Han-min Kim (Blu-ray - 2012)
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