Woochi: The Demon Slayer (2009)

woochi

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Dazzling special effects mixed with the trademark Korean-style wuxia action and some comic relief results in this fun action comedy from director Choi Dong-Hoon.

Centuries ago, humans and beasts co-existed. However, monsters have been imprisoned in the heavens and on the 3,000 day, the mysterious Pyohundaeduck must play her flute to control the monsters. The monsters were released one day early and gained control of the flute, causing Pyohundaeduck to disappear.

Rival Taoist masters vie for the flute. One is Hwadam, who takes his mastery seriously and is well-known within the empire. The other, Chun Kwan, sees potential in his student, Jeon Woochi. However, Woochi would rather get his name famous and shows off, causing trouble. When Hwadam kills Chun Kwan to get his hands on the flute, Woochi is framed and is forced to remain in a scroll.

Fast forward to modern day Korea. A pair of goblins disguised as humans have been wreaking havoc. Three reincarnated masters must release Woochi from the scroll to stop the goblins. However, in his quest, he runs into In-Kyung, the assistant of a conceited actress who is the reincarnation of a widow he once fell for. Even more the dangerous, Hwadam has been reincarnated and seeks the flute so he can become the ultimate Taoist master.

Based on a legendary folktale, Choi Dong-Hoon came up with the story of bringing a mischievous warrior to modern day Korea and it actually works. The film is a perfect blend of action and comedy thanks to the performances of the cast.

Kang Dong-Won is great as the titular Woochi. He breathes mischief as he constantly wants to get his name known, even if it means he has to humiliate the King, hit on women, and show off his skills for his own personal glory. It is revealed that while he was imprisoned in the scroll, his powers had increased and he becomes the only one capable to stop the goblins in modern-day Korea. He seems like a fish out of water, but he loves his new surroundings and has an obsession with In-Kyung, the lowly assistant who resembles the widow he falls for in the past.

The comedy highlights go to Yoo Ji-Tae, who plays Woochi’s sidekick Charong, who is actually a dog with the ability to turn human. At times, he becomes a horse. What is great is that the transformation sequences from human to animal and vice versa are done in a different manner than most. If you are a lover of Japanese anime, the transformations comes in the form of a puff of white smoke, which look great.

Korea’s top action director, Jung Doo-Hung, worked on this film as he trained the cast in various weaponry and wirework. What is outstanding is that the cast managed to perform most, if not all, of their own stunts. There are some nice wuxia-style fights and archery skills necessary to stop the goblins. The villain looks quite nifty with a fan while Woochi has the ability to change his hands into various forms by either using an amulet or focusing his mind enough.

Woochi is a fun action-comedy that has great wuxia-style action, some funny scenes, and an interesting plot. Definitely worth a rental.

WFG RATING: B+

CJ Entertainment presents an Opus Pictures and United Pictures production in association with BK Pictures, Legendary Entertainment International, Zip Cinema, and CJ E&M Film Financing Investment Entertainment and Comics. Director: Choi Dong-Hoon. Producers: Eugene Lee, Katherine Kim, and Lee Tae-Hun. Writer: Choi Dong-Hoon. Cinematography: Choi Young-Hwan. Editing: Shin Min-Kyung.

Cast: Kang Dong-Won, Lim Soo-Jung, Kim Yoon-Seok, Yoo Hae-Jin, Song Young-Chang, Joo Jin-Mo, Kim Sang-Ho, Seon Woo-Seon, Kong Jwong-Hwan, Sook Lee, Park Nam-Hee.

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