Distributed by Lotte Entertainment, War of the Arrows is directed and written by Kim Han-Min. The film is something I’ve been wanting out of Korean films for a long time: an epic action film that keeps you on your toes but also has a great story line. The original film premiered in South Korea this August under the name: Arrow: The Ultimate Weapon (최종병기 활). Personally, the new English name seems a lot more fitting.
Seeing that this film only cost about $8.5 million USD is absolutely mind boggling. My wife watched the screener with me, and we had figured that this would cost somewhere around $80 million. And when I saw the trailer, I was immediately thinking a Zhang Yimou crossing with Red Cliff.
The story is about the Manchuria occupation of Korea where an Joseon archer, Nam-Yi (played by Park Hae-il) takes on the invading Qing forces and eventually an elite archer squad led by Jyushinta (played by Ryoo Seung-Ryong). What’s fascinating about the entire story arc is that each of the characters actually use a different style of bow technique. Nam-Yi fires a lighter arrow that is faster and stealthier and good for guerrilla style warfare while Jyushinta likes a heavier arrow that is more of a brute force frontal assault.
While I’m personally not a huge film buff when it comes to Korean films so I don’t know all the hot new stars, the acting was definitely on par with what you would expect with the big budget American films. If you haven’t had a chance to see it yet at the US premiere in Los Angeles, never fear. There’s still plenty of US locations that are going to play this epic film. You heard that right. E-P-I-C.