19th Mar2017

Cine-Sunday: ‘The Sword With No Name’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Jae-jin Baek, Jae-woong Choi, Noe-jeon, Seung-woo Cho, Su-hee Go, In-gu Heo, Su-Ae | Written by Ya Seol-Rok | Directed by Kim Yong-gyun


When a young woman of noble birth embarks on a dangerous cross-country journey, she encounters an infamous bounty hunter who, honour-bound, becomes her protector and, against all odds, falls deeply in love with her. A few years later, in order to fulfil a sacred promise, she enters the royal court and ascends to the throne as Empress, leaving behind the man who would willingly and unconditionally give her his all.

However, when aggressive Japanese forces gather against the Empress and her nation, the bounty hunter finds a way to once again stand by her side as a devoted bodyguard. As the conflict escalates to all-out war, her irrepressible leadership manages to sustain her people and to give them the hope of victory. But tragically, as her reputation spreads, she becomes a target for assassination and only one mans courage will provide her with the strength to face her destiny.

The Sword With No Name, from director Kim Yong-gyun (The Red Shoes), is another of what seems like an endless line of historical epics hailing from the Far East this time telling the story of one of Korea’s national heroines, the Empress Myeongseong. Like a lot of the Eastern historical epics the film is absolutely gorgeous to look at even if it does rely too much on CGI at times and theres a substantial story, but unlike the truly great historical epics theres something lacking in the film.

Perhaps its the terrible attempts at slapstick humour from our hero Moo-myeong, perhaps its the slow-pacing, perhaps its just that weve seen this type of film before but done better, or perhaps its just that Im getting epic-weary, but this film just didnt click with me. Give me a more-action packed historical epic such as 14 Blades rather than the slow-moving The Sword With No Name anyday.


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