Friday, January 2, 2015

Film Review: Kundo: Age of the Rampant (2014)

Kundo: Age of the Rampant (Review)
Yoon Jong-bin/Ha Jung-woo/2014
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"...a seamless blend of action, humor, and drama..."

In mid-19th century Joseon, the wealthy ruthlessly run society and a group of bandits fight for justice.

Kundo: Age of the Rampant follows this group of bandits as they fight those who take advantage of their authority. Dolmuchi (Ha Jung-woo), a poor butcher, eventually finds himself at odds with Jo Yoon (Kang Dong-won), who rules with absolute power. After some unfortunate events, Dolmuchi joins the bandits and is reborn as Dolchi. Dolchi then joins the bandits in a plot to destroy Jo Yoon's ruthless grip on the poor. The story leads to an epic climax and satisfying ending.

Kundo: Age of the Rampant is very entertaining. The story is a blend of ferocious action, effective drama, and hilarious humor. All in a lively setting with quirky, memorable characters and a western-ish theme/soundtrack. Thanks to its slick and stylish presentation, it really feels like a Quentin Tarantino film. (Likely because Tarantino's last film was a western.) Regardless, it's all-in-all very enjoyable and entertaining. The fast-paced action was very exhilarating and memorable -- very fluid and swift, I really liked it. There are a few clichés here and there, though, and some of the plot points were very predictable. The runtime is on the lengthy-side, but it's mostly used efficiently.

Ha Jung-woo is great, as usual. His performance has plenty of energy and charisma to lead. Kang Dong-won is equally impressive as the ruthless nemesis. The supporting cast is also very strong. The film is shot very well. The cinematography is beautiful, and the camerawork is fluid, especially during the action sequences. The music is very distinct for the setting, but it ultimately works -- really helps with the style of the film. Director Yoon Jong-bin, who also directed the fantastic Nameless Gangster, crafts a very stylish and entertaining action film; there are a few issues regarding the occasionally cliché narrative, but the direction is great.

Overall, Kundo: Age of the Rampant is a great film. It was a very entertaining and immersive experience. Those looking for a seamless blend of action, humor, and drama will find it in Kundo. The action alone was very satisfying. The style is also very distinct and welcomed. If you're looking for entertainment, here it is.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, some brief nudity.

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