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War of the Arrows

War of the Arrows (2011)

August. 10,2011
| Drama Action History Thriller

13 years after the King Injo Revolt, the Chosun Dynasty is attacked by the Chung Dynasty of China. A young man named Na-mi leaves his demolished village to find his young sister, Ja-in, and her finance Su-koon, who were to wed on the very day of the attack. While on his mission to rescue her, he is being traced by Jushinta, a fierce Chung Warrior, and his band of malicious men who are out to stop him. Na-mi has but a day to rescue his sister before she is taken away to be a slave. When Na-mi finally finds his sister, Jushinta comes between them and a fierce battle between two of the finest warriors unfolds.


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A lot of fun.


It's entirely possible that sending the audience out feeling lousy was intentional

Bluebell Alcock

Ok... Let's be honest. It cannot be the best movie but is quite enjoyable. The movie has the potential to develop a great plot for future movies

Erica Derrick

By the time the dramatic fireworks start popping off, each one feels earned.


After watching an earlier disappointing film, and contemplating bed on a Christmas Eve, I took a chance on this film.It was 1.30am when I started and I figured that if I got bored I would simply turn in for the night.I'm writing this right after the film at 3.52am which hopefully indicates that it did far more than send me to sleep.A cracking film with a simple story, likable characters and top draw action scenes. The choreography and accompanying music in the chase scenes were electric and really ramped up the tension and excitement.What a wonderful Christmas surprise this turned out to be. See it if you can.


I feel like I wasted 2 hours on this movie. It supposed to be an action thriller, but my heart wasn't pumping with anticipation. Here are my reasons.1. I wasn't sure how the brother/sister's family became traitors. 2. The brother (Nam Yi?) looks too old to play the part. 3. The Netflix description mentioned Mongols but in the movie, the villains were Manchurians. 4. How could the brother know there was a tiger nearby? He kept screaming for the tiger. He was a stranger in foreign land in China. 5. How come the tiger only attacked Chinese (Manchuians) while sparing the Korean? Why Chinese tiger only attacks Chinese? 6. How can someone pull an arrow out of his wounded heart and still managed to shoot it accurately? 7. I think it's bit too harsh to burn the Manchurian prince alive. He didn't do anything to the girl. He didn't deserve such a horrific death. 8. I think it was too easy for the brother to find and rescue his sister and overcome the fierce looking soldiers. It reminds me of Rambo. 9. The endless supply of arrows.To be honest, I felt more connected to the main villain.


War of the Arrows is a somewhat mediocre entry into the swollen ranks of Asian action-adventure war epics. In Arrows, a disgraced Korean archer must rescue his sister and brother in law from ruthless invaders from the North. The odds are ugly, and he may have to go Braveheart to prevail.Arrows is entertaining, but shamelessly cliché, never bothering to try to explain or apologize for its over the top melodrama. For example, early on in the movie, Manchurian raiders burst in and begin slaughtering villagers left and right. And yet throughout the prolonged attack, most townsfolk are shown still engaged in their day to day business apparently oblivious to the massive army of horsemen stampeding through their town until the very moment they get chopped down. Even the main characters at a wedding, who are depicted as perceiving the attack relatively early on, are still standing around like Christmas trees by the time the enemies actually reach them.And the battles, at least in the first half, are laughably one sided. During the village ambush, the raiders trample every single feeble Korean warrior in their path. The casualties appear to pile up at about a 20 to 1 ratio. Yet later, during an insurrection, those same pathetic Koreans (now unarmed and in a weakened state) are apparently invincible while the Manchurians drop like stormtroopers.The arrow duels are entertaining (but still not all that original). The skirmishes have the feel of a John Woo gun fight. I almost expected the characters to stand off at four feet, each gripping a loaded bow in either hand.One thing I did particularly like was the costume design. In particular, the elite squad of Manchurian death hounds looked fantastic. They appeared to be a mash-up of shao-lin, samurai, ninja, archers-- somehow it all worked and ended up being one of the more memorable aspects of the film.


War of the Arrows is a story about a young man in hot pursuit of a marauding Manchurian army that has captured and enslaved his sister and her groom on their wedding day in 15th century Korea. Wayward though the young man may be, he's a savant with the bow and arrow and he puts his deadly skills to use as he relentlessly pursues the attackers.Although it doesn't involve the gun battles typically associated with the genre, this film is really more war movie than action flick. The film rarely deviates from the harried cat-and-mouse game between the marauders and the ostensible hero and could mistakenly be seen as taking place in real time. Therein lies one of the film's problems. The chase sequences and flurry of arrows piercing the air are relentless and absorb nearly all the film's running time, leaving little room for plot or character development. This film is all style over substance: it's barbarian Manchurians (the baddies) vs. salt-of-the-earth Koreans (the goodies).We know the Manchurians are the baddies not just because they throw Korean babies down wells but because they're the cool ones, with their brass-studded leather coats, shaved heads or razor-edged mohawks, and general exhibition of badassery. They are lead by a playboy prince who prefers to spend his time ravishing newly captured women in a garish mobile bordello; he leaves the details and actual fighting to his uber-macho uncles and the elite squad of warriors they personally command. But little else is known about them. Is their attack part of an all-out invasion of the Korean peninsula or a quick raid across the border for booty? Why is the pampered prince, who appears to have no military role, even there? Certain early scenes suggest the possibility of a strained relationship between the young prince and his all-warrior business uncles, but it's never explored. There are no strategy sessions between the prince and his commanders or among the uncles and their elite warriors that might flesh out the characters.As for the Koreans, little time is spent preparing us for the mayhem that ensues. At the onset, the hero is a teenager who barely escapes his family's destruction with only his little sister and his father's prized bow and arrows in tow. Flash forward thirteen years and the hero is a wayward fellow with mean archery skills who reluctantly allows his sister's marriage to their benefactor's son to proceed. The relationship between and among these characters is barely explored. There are no tender scenes between brother and sister or the betrothed that make us yearn for reunification after separation and much bloodshed. Ironically, one of the film's best sequences involves the pampered prince attempting to have his way with the pretty sister. Her feistiness and the fact that she speaks his language intrigue him. He likens seducing her to tanning a tiger's hide, as her roughness will become supple under his handiwork. The brief battle of wills between these two characters, and the mild sexual tension elicited, provide a much-needed break from the pure action-oriented sequences that predominate. Unfortunately, the prince is killed-off far too soon and the rescue of the girl half-way through the film leaves the finale somewhat anti-climatic. The final confrontation may be dramatic by virtue of the manner in which the arrow battle is executed but, emotionally, it falls flat.The failure to adequately develop the plot isn't the only flaw with this movie. While the cast is for the most part good, the lead male is woefully miscast. Aside from possessing superior archery skills, there's little to distinguish the hero from the other household staff who are caught up in the mayhem. Quite simply, he lacks the charisma and screen presence to carry this film, which is propelled almost exclusively by the baddies. They possess the macho physicality and exhibit the serious badass 'tude required for their roles. Although the story compels me to feel something for the hero, I found myself far more interested in the invaders. I enjoyed the film for what it was, but was left emotionally flat-lined at the end because of its flaws.