The Sword With No Name (2009)

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When the liberal attitudes of newly crowned Queen Ja-Yeong threaten the isolationist dogma of the ruling royalty her father-in-law plots her assassination leaving an ex-bounty hunter devoted to her service as her sole protector.

This Korean historical adventure contains all the usual ingredients of similar Asian martial arts films, namely an honour bound warrior, unrequited love and political machinations regarding the corruption of the country’s way of life by outside influences. However The Sword With No Name has many qualities that raise it above the crowd; roguish Seung-woo Cho is just enough of a scoundrel to make a fun and charming anti-hero, Soo Ae makes a more intellectual and feisty heroine than most and the politics are more sophisticated then the usual “all foreigners are bad” xenophobia of a lot of these types of film. The character dynamic of the love triangle is also better realised than most and the romance more sincere making the film a little reminiscent of The House Of Flying Daggers with a dash of Hero. A couple of the fight sequences are a little CGI heavy making it resemble a game of Soul Calibur in places, and the ending does succumb to sappiness.

But the journey there is consistently entertaining thanks to some very likeable performances and an above par script.

6.5/10

 

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