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Showing 1-10 of 36 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 48 reviews
TOP 500 REVIEWERon August 30, 2014
Maybe the word "incorrigible" was invented 500 years ago so people could hang the most fitting adjective on Jun Woochi. 500 years ago would plant Jun Woochi in the Josean Dynasty. He's the sort of scamp who, when tasked by his Tao master to run errands, would instead hie himself to the royal palace to make a fool of the king. See? Incorrigible.

It's a South Korean fantasy action film that released in 2009. It's written and directed by Choi D0ng-hoon who this one time shrugged off his habit for making popular heist pictures. I don't know enough about Korean folklore, so I couldn't tell you if the fantasy elements in the film are thus rooted. Anyway, it's a complicated mythology. So let's roll with this: 500 years ago there was a mystical flute and these ancient supernatural creatures who'd forgotten themselves and now walk the world in the shape of man. The hint for the flute brings together disparate parties. Three old wizards. A demon or two. The learned physician Hwadam (Kim Yoon-seok). And our scamp Jun Woochi (Kang D0ng-won), his shape shifting dog Chorangyi (Yoo Hae-Jin), and their wise master (Baek Yoon-sik). Inevitably, sh-- goes down.

Maybe I should insert a SPOILER alert for this paragraph... How many martial arts flicks are there where the master gets killed and the student seeks vengeance? It's what's up here. Jun Woochi is charged with his master's murder. Passing sentence, the three old wizards consign him (and his dog, too!) into a scroll, there to languish 500 years.

Five centuries later we catch up to modern-day Seoul. Those three old wizards are still hanging around. And when demons (all two of them) terrorize the city, what's left but to spring Woochi from his parchment prison and sic them on the monsters? I'm sort if judging the old wizards' decision making here. From what we've seen of Woochi so far, he seems more chaotic neutral than straight-up hero. Jun Woochi pays lip service to doing their bidding, but what starts out as a hunt for the demons immediately segues into a sightseeing, beer-guzzling expedition of Seoul circa 2009. His dog laps it up.

Kang D0ng-won is celebrated more for his darker, more serious roles (Maundy Thursday, Voice of a Murderer, M), so it's a bit jarring to see him so offbeat here. Jun Woochi is a peculiar hombre, son. The script works it so that much of what he does and says plays for comedy. Honestly, I found it hard to embrace the character. He is primarily this c0cksure antihero who is so full of himself. And this trait never eases up. Still, when he does go for those comic moments, he's pretty funny. I knew Kang Dong-won was a terrific dramatic actor. It's a measure of his overall talent that he's equally strong in comedy. So I didn't care for the character but am impressed by the actor's talent.

Matching Kang Dong-won for sheer presence is Kim Yoon-seok whom I just saw in The Thieves. Kim Yoon-seok gets the less showy role but he's masterful in it, lending dangerous flair to a hackneyed, underdeveloped part.

It's a movie that doesn't dress up as anything more than what it is: a campy, fun fantasy action film. There's a crapload of fancy wire work and plausible CGI. There are some really cool visuals. I love Jun Woochi's fighting style, especially when he decides to really get down to business. His style is a blend of martial arts and Tao wizardry. It's a neat touch that Woochi is dependent on his parchment amulets to enhance his magic, and, yeah, the only moments we ever catch him wearing an "I am so screwed!" expression are when he's without those amulets. It's how the narrative ramps up the suspense because an unfazed, amulet-having Woochi is very formidable. The violence is stylish and exaggerated and there's a ton of gravity-defying Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon leaps. It's worth 2+ hours of your life, if you like odd in your film and those fish-out-of-water moments, and if you can forgive the lack of clever plotting or character development or that freaky sequence where Woochi's incarnated once-widowed ladylove, Seo In-kyung (Im Soo-jung), goes from a demanding actress' sweet assistant to a junk-shriveling siren with wicked eye-liner make-up. "A widow ruins the household!" remarks one matronly assassin several times in her attempts to rub out Seo In-kyung. It's kind of apt. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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on November 9, 2015
Just for a fast paced fun movie...this is one. It's Korean and basing stories on centuries old beliefs & superstitions they can come up with some really fun stories. This begins 500 years ago and leaps with crazy fun laughter into the present day Korea. The young man who plays the character Woochi is fun to watch and his side kick who spends most of the movie dreaming about becoming a man...well his future turns around on him. The three elder priest...who they think they have all the answers up until the end...then... :)
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on February 9, 2014
This South Korean film throws everything into the mix - good actors, wild stunts, cool special effects, nasty demons and goofy wizards and sages trying to save the world, or at least Seoul. Pulled from his imprisonment, Woochi is yanked into the 21th century to battle immortal demons who have lived since his own ancient times of wizardry. Woochi needs to adjust to modern times before he cam battle the savvy shape-shifting demons and the grand wizard who wants to control the human world
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on August 22, 2017
Really great movie subtitle are great TOO
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on October 23, 2016
funny, very good first half, second drags a bit but worthwhile none the less
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on July 4, 2016
I was pleasantly surprised by the extras on this DVD! I love this movie and the Behind-the-Scenes features and cast interviews just made it even better.
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on November 19, 2016
Everything you could ever want in a magical-action-romance-comedy Korean film.
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on December 8, 2012
This was a great sorcery martial art film. It had some great fight scenes and cool sorcery and some funny humor. Woochi is worth the price.
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on June 20, 2013
VERY slow beginning. I felt that much of the starting plot could have been condensed. Once Woo Chi enters the modern world, the plot picks up and things get interesting. Overall, good movie. The actor is incredible; the main character Woo Chi is portrayed as a trickster and I feel the actor captured this very well. Worth watching again.
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on April 14, 2013
There are Asian films that do not surprise me at all as to why and how they became so successful in their native country. However, there are those that do make me wonder why they became successful in the first place. I do understand just how sometimes the transition of a film from one country to another is not that successful, since several factors can become lost in translation. Well, I guess this may be the case for "Woochi the Demon Slayer" (aka. Jeon Woo Chi: The Taoist Wizard), I can see how it can be one of those crowd-pleasing affair that usually makes a good box-office return in Korea. Despite the fact that it is the kind of movie I would usually like (magic, special effects and ancient legend), I found Woochi to be a little too uneven, and would've used a lot of smoothing over its screenplay.

Mixing up Korean folklore and Mozart's "The Magic Flute", "Woochi" is a film that injects martial arts, a different turn for its devices, and adds a lot of special effects to drive its story. The film begins in the past where magic and evil spirits are set in a place of power, there lies a magical flute that could control the beasts. Lost in time, the flute has fallen into the hands of one of the evil ones and in the guise of humans, the beasts have been released to wreak havoc upon the world. Now, 500 years in the past, the flute is sought after by many as it can change the balance of power. Among those who seek the flute is Jun Woochi (Kang Dong-Won), who has been tasked by his master (Baek Yoon-Sik) to recover the flute. Woochi is such a trickster that he got the attention of another mystic, Hwadan (Kim Yoon-Seok) and his three Taoist wizards. This sets forth a series of events that ends with Woochi being blamed for his master's murder and the lost of the flute.

Now in the present, Woochi has been awakened along with his companion, the dog-horse-human Chorang-Yi (Yoo Hae-jin) to try to combat the chaos being brought forth by the beast-spirits in exchange for their freedom from the Taoist scrolls. What begins as a hunt for goblins and spirits in the guise of humans, has become more of Woochi trying to get used to this strange new world. He also meets a woman (Im Soo-Jung) with a familiar face from his past, as his new adventure begins...

The screenplay of "Woochi" makes a good move in creating a story that happens in between two different timelines, that even part of it happens within a painting. I do appreciate the efforts written in by Choi Dong-hoon (who also directs), as it deals with Woochi's origins up till the 47 minute mark. To try and reach out to its viewers, it tries to explain a lot and sets its groundwork, but the efforts feel a little impenetrable as two timelines collide in its screenplay. Choi Dong-hoon did an exceptional job with "Tazza The High Rollers" and "The Big Swindle", here he tries to depart the crime drama genre, and instead does a film that relies on fantasy elements and special effects to dictate the flow of the screenplay. The result is a little incoherent for my tastes (sure, it worked in his other movies), and while it does have that quirky, goofy allure that can appeal to its viewers, much of the film made little sense. It is intentionally cartoonish as it transitions from one scene to another. It jumps around with very little development of the devices in its plot, and the viewer is left to take in its quirky charm and forget coherency in its script. Think of it as an anime feature on steroids.

It is also filled with outrageous character performances and decent stunt work. When the film does get going with the action sequences, it does get going. The choreography has that hyper-stylish editing that have become the staple for Korean fantasy films. People fly around (with the impressive wire work) as the camera work goes in and out of the fights. The editing is pretty good and the set designs are impressive. The battles utilize the effects to its maximum impact. Martial arts and magic are always good things to watch, and "Woochi" is no different. Though a little too stylish for my tastes, and the fights did have the right intensity for its tempo. I do have to say that while most of the CGI were good, there were times that they looked rather soft and you could tell that they were fake. There is one ugly giant Rat-like creature that fights like a human, another who seems like a grotesque looking Easter bunny, but they were all for show, and the "how" and "why" of how these ghouls appear as such were never developed in the script.

Now, despite its flaws, the film does manage to entertain. The quirky and goofy humor did make me snicker quite a few times. Yoo Hae-jin and Kang Dong-Won connected in their roles and their antics can be funny. The three Taoist wizards also gave some good bits of humor, and Yeom Jeong Ah and Im Soo-jung served their purpose. Actress Kim Hyo-jin also makes a welcome cameo. Baek Yoon-Sik also managed to become a good baddie, despite the fact that he was a little too underwritten. The performances were a little crazy to balance out with its tone and cartoonish flow.

The best way to describe "Woochi The Demon Slayer" is a breezy, comical and frenzied entertainment that one needs to surrender to its outrageous execution and forget absorbing the details of the plot. It is a little hard to follow, but it is rather unique. Outlandish action, comedy and oddball characters are helped along by its manic editing and good special effects. If you pay too much attention to the script then you will see a lot of holes, so the best way to approach it would be to just accept it for what it is. Think of it as a trip to a "Fun House" where logic barely makes sense, and allow your senses to take you for a ride. Timid Recommendation to fans of Korean cinema and a RENTAL to everyone else. [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

Picture Quality and Audio: Fantastic picture transfer and DTS-HD sound. It also comes with an English dubbed version as well the original Korean language with excellent subtitles.
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