Monday, July 7, 2014

Review: A Tale of Legendary Libido (2008)

A Tale of Legendary Libido (Review)
Shin Han-sol/Bong Tae-gyu/2008
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"It'll definitely be for you if you love Korean women..."

During the Joseon Dynasty, rice cake seller Byeon Gang-soe (Bong Tae-gyu) is ridiculed by the village women for his limp libido... until he turns the tables.

A Tale of Legendary Libido is a fairly simple story. Gang-soe is ridiculed by a sex-starved community of women for being impotent. Gang-soe seeks a potion buried in the woods that may aid him. The potion works with huge results and a ridiculous libido rise. And, that's about it. The most original aspect of the story is the setting, but the story itself is filled with a lot of clichés and predictable elements. The ending was decent; bizarre, especially if you're not accustomed with the humor, but decent.

In fact, most of the humor in the film is bizarre, ridiculous, and raunchy -- most of it being slapstick. Much of the humor was really on the stupid side. Before you call me pretentious, though, let me explain. Some of the humor is stupid in a funny way; you'll have a laugh at how stupid it is and move on. The other type of stupid humor this film has is borderline "Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer" stupid -- this is the type of humor that'll raise eyebrows and roll eyes. So, the humor is really hit-or-miss.

The story felt half-baked. It doesn't really go anywhere, it has no flow or consistency. And, it loses momentum during the second half, so it has a fair share of dull moments; this is more noticeable because of its long runtime. Fortunately, aside from some laugh out loud moments, the film is also filled with gorgeous Korean women -- and who doesn't love Korean women? The sex and nudity is very, very gratuitous. I'm not complaining, but it's worth noting. (i.e. Don't watch this with an insecure loved one.)

Bong Tae-gyu, who also stars in the excellent See You After School, is good; he doesn't have the same quirky charisma he had in See You After School, but he's still very humorous. The rest of the acting was decent; none of the roles are demanding, though. (It's a comedy, so I don't fault it too harshly.) The music didn't stand out most of the time. The set design and costume design were good; its not Masquerade quality, but it helps in creating a distinct comedy. Writer and director Shin Han-sol has a mixed bad of comedy; it's occasionally funny, and occasionally boring. Han-sol missed every opportunity to craft a unique comedy, though -- he has the setting and characters, but he still misses.

Overall, A Tale of Legendary Libido is a decent comedy. The concept and setting are creative, but the story is riddled with clichés. I laughed out loud a handful of times, but was equally bored, otherwise. Bong Tae-gyu is good, but has been better. If you liked raunchy and random comedies, this might be for you. It'll definitely be for you if you love Korean women, though.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood, excessive sex and nudity.

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