Memories of the Sword, Korean movie (2015)

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.

D-day, Korean drama series (2015)

Korean drama series, or K-drama’s as they are more often called, are becoming more and more popular. One of the big advantages of these shows is the fact that they are series that usually run for just one season. As so many shows these days get cancelled on cliffhangers, you don’t run any risk of that happening with a K-drama.

The series i am about to review, D-Day, is one of those shows you just have to binge watch. Yes, it really is that good. In D-Day the capital city of Seoul gets hit by a violent earthquake. It then focuses on the brave men and women of the rescue-services and a hospital that are left behind to deal with the effects of the aftermath.

Let’s first talk about the special effects on this show. Usually effects on tv shows are mediocre at best, simply because of budget restraints. However that was definitely not noticeable on D-day, because when the earthquake strikes, it can stand up to the effects used in big Hollywood blockbuster movies. Even more striking are the effects that are used more subtly throughout the show, like small cracks on roads and buildings. All these help to make you believe that there really has been an earthquake that destroyed most of Seoul.

However it is not the effects that makes this show so great. No that right is reserved for the wonderfull cast of characters and the actors that portray them. Every single character, from the main characters to the lowest sub characters, has it’s role to play in the unfolding drama. The lead character is doctor Lee Hae-Sung, a doctor who is known to be reckless in his pursuit of saving human lives. The natural charisma of him (a credit to actor Young-wang Kim) makes you rooting for everything he does all throughout the show. He is soon joined in the series by the young female doctor Jung Ddol-mi, another character you will fall in love with as the series progresses. She provides most of the comic relief, a thing that is well needed in what would otherwise be a pretty bleak and depressing show. The list of characters is very big and to name them all is just not something i am going to be doing here. However my review would not be complete to not at least mention the hospital director Park Gun. I don’t think i have ever seen a person that i hated more in a tv series than this loathsome man. Trust me when i say that you will come to hate him as well. But oh wow, is he played well by actor Kyeong-yeong Lee.

The series will take you on a rollercoaster trip throughout a total of 20 episodes. It will make you laugh, cry and sit on the edge of your seat, and once you start it will be hard to stop watching it. Is the show perfect? No ofcourse not. Yes there are some moments in the show that feel forced, or in which there are some overacted scenes of emotions. I also read some reviews that did not like the ending of the series. That ofcourse is, as it is with most things, a matter of opinion. I for one loved the ending, which i am not going to be spoiling here.

Overall though i loved this show and give it a 9 out of 10 score.

Michels Book/Boardgame/Movie review Blog

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