Memories of the Sword is best described as the Korean answer to Chrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The story of the movie focuses on the 18 year old Hong-ee. She is raised by the swordswoman Seol-rang, who trains her in the art of swordplay. And with good reason it seems. Years before, Hong-ee’s parents were killed, and she wants revenge on the person responsible for their deaths. When coming face to face with one of the most powerful men of the country, king Deok-gi, certain secrets are revealed that set her on the road to a tragic fate…
Memories of the Sword is one of those movies that does nothing wrong, but fails to make a very lasting impression. There are a couple of things the movie has going for it though. The young actress, Kim Go Eun does a very impressive job in her role as Hong-ee. The way she turns the character from an innocent girl into a ruthless killer, is one of the things that i really liked in this movie. The other actor that just turns everything he does into gold is ofcourse Lee Byung Hun. His role as king Deok-gi is just nothing short of amazing, and truly that alone is making this movie worth watching.
From a cinematic view-point the camerawork is also something that deserves to be mentioned. There are some truly memorable fight scenes shot against very beautifull scenery in the background. Especially the last fight towards the end of the movie is shot in a truly breathtaking fashion. Unfortunately it is the story itself that fall short. It is nothing we haven’t seen before, and the “twist” towards the end, is something that you can see coming from a mile away. Also the swordfights, with the excessive use of wirework, though impressive to watch, reminded me too much of all those other movies that came before.
All in all though, Memories of the Sword is not a bad movie. As i said Lee Byung Hun’s performance alone is a reason to watch this one, and if you like swordfight epics you won’t be bored by this one. Just don’t expect to see something you haven’t seen before.
I give this movie a 7 out of 10 score.