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9th London Korean Film Festival Review

Kundo - Age of the Rampant

Fans Wait to get a glimpse of the stars in London's West End

Starring :Ha Jung-woo ,Gang Dong-won

Directed By: Yoon Jong-Bin


KUNDO -Age of the Rampant

9th London Korean Film Festival – Opening Gala

November 6th 2014 saw the 9th London Korean Film Festival get under way with the opening gala and the screening of KUNDO''Age of the Rampant'' .

The film stars Ha Jung-Woo ( Nameless Gangster, The Unforgiven ) and Gang Dong-won ( Woochi the Taoist Wizard, The Duellist) in the lead roles with a host of famous faces in the supporting cast. Directed by Yoon Jong Bin ( The Unforgiven, Beastie Boys) , this is the directors fourth film as director of which have been cast with his friend and University colleague Ha Jung Woo.

The film set in the Joseon Dynasty of Korea shows a battle between the classes , as the wealthy live the high life the poor are cheated out of their lands and sent into slavery.

But this robin hood story about a group of bandits who steal from from the rich and give back to the poor has that added touch of panache that makes this one of the most exciting films your see in a long while.

Ha Jung-Woo plays a butcher , who is also the son of a butcher , and thought of as the lowest of all the classes in the Joseon era.

On the other hand Gang Dong-won plays Yoon Jo the illegitimate son of a wealthy nobleman, though Yoon Jo is brought up with concubines ,he eventually is allowed to take his place by his father , but this is short lived when his father has a son with his wife , leaving Yoon Jo out in the cold.

Of course this makes Yoon Jo bitter and twisted , he has no claim to his fathers wealth or position as long as his half brother is alive , or for that fact any legit member of the family.

When a tragedy strikes and Yoon Jo's half brother dies leaving his Young wife ,who just happens to be pregnant on the run . Being saved by a group of bandits who live in the hills who call themselves Kundo.

Yoon Jo is desperate to find his late brothers wife ,of course so he can have her dealt with so that no other heir is left alive.

To get the task done he gets his aid to take up the job of finding someone for the job , just so happens the local butcher would be a good fit as he is used to hacking up animals ,so why not a human.

The Butcher ( Ha Jung Woo) meets with Yoon Jo and agrees to do the dastardly deed. Of course when push comes to shove and the butcher finds the girl he can not go through with it , and it's here he will first meet the bandits of the hills .

Of course Yoon Jo won't be made a fool of and sends out his men to set a example by killing the Butcher , by capturing him and his family he is tied up with them and left to burn .

Awaking to find his home destroyed and his family dead he sets out to take revenge for them.

But his endeavour won't be a easy task as his nemesis is expert in swordsmanship and is well known to dispatch multiple enemies at a time.

It's here the film really kicks into action and the action comes fast and frequent but not at detracting from the story.

Playing like some Spaghetti Western the film pits our two leads as each others nemesis. With a spellbinding soundtrack that you will be humming when you leave everything about Kundo spells out one thing, ENTERTAINMENT .

But it's not just Ha Jung Woo and Gang Dong-won that get to shine , the band of bandits that try and live a harmonious life whilst robbing the corrupt rich and feeding the poor are very character driven individuals, from a mature leader Dae-ho played by Lee Sung-min , the monk Ttaeng -choo played by Lee Kyeong Yeong and Ma Don-Seok as Tianbo.

There's even a bow and arrow expert in the form of Yoon Ji-hye as Ma-hyang.

Each have their own style of fighting and it's this that gives us a comic book feel to some of the characters which from the outset of the film get to shine in their roles..

Director Yoo Jong-bin has crafted a a fine piece of cinema, Kundo introduces you to each of the characters and shows their life style and reasoning behind their actions. The film has moments of comedy which lighten the tone film in the beginning , but this soon changes as the actions of Yoon Jo lead the film into a much more sinister and darker place. .

But each of these actions is a lead up to another fine piece of action within the film , each action scene depicts another fresh way of either full frontal engagement ,or stealth based attacks on guarded buildings .

And just when you think your about to see get some conclusion to the story ,your taken in the other direction to throw you off guard.

I would not call Kundo a epic film , it's action scenes are on a smaller scale ,though cleverly done. It's more about the one on one battles and there are only a couple of scenes where the amount of people on screen exceed twenty or thirty.

Though there are some amazing vistas used within the film , especially the bandits village in the hills.

There was more then one occasion whilst viewing that brought a big grin to my face, and even a few which nearly had me cheering at the screen .

To sum up Kundo Age of the Rampant is a film made to entertain, it's historic setting could have been used in any era and people looking for a film with historical accuracy about the Korean Joseon era will be let down.

But if you want to laugh,cheer and be amazed at the constant action then Kundo Age of the Rampant is film which will fill that criteria , it's a film that's easily re -viewed due to the amount of on screen action.

Score out of Ten= 9

Reviewed by : Sertes Nake

Review Date : November 8th 2014


Alternate Posters and Stills

                               The Stars at LKFF 2014


Being the opening gala we where privy to the appearance of the director Yoon jong-bin , producer Han Jae-duk and actor Gang Dong-won.


 Tony Rayns being interviewed on the Red Carpet



Introduced by the festival programme adviser and Korean film aficionado Tony Rayns.





Gang Dong-won on stage


All three were a bit jet lagged having just flew in , Gang Dong -won from Hawaii where he was at another festival.

After the film they held a interview and audience Q&A and a hand printing ceremony on stage.


With most of the questions coming from Young female Korean fans ,some of which dealt no connection to the film. It was quite funny at times ,even though most was done through translation.

But Gang Dong-won did try and use his English on a few occasions ,but in the end gave up , but he did get some applause for trying.

Yoon Jong-bin was talking about the action and how Gang Dong-won's ability allowed him to perform all the action within the film. Gang actually trained for five months to portray the expert swordsman.

But Gang Dong -won did iterate that he had most fun when doing the action scenes ,though hard .

Even though he had played a swordsman in the film The Duellist from 2005.

Considering Yoon Jong-bin has only directed four films , it's amazing what he has achieved with Kundo.

The fans in the cinema where very enthusiastic to see Gang Dong-won in the UK , the female fans definitely let him know they where pleased shall we say.

Once again the London Korean Film Festival gets of to a great start.



Director  Yoong Jong-bin


Actor Gang Dong -won


Producer Han Jae-duk






Directed by Yoon Jong-bin
Produced by Yoon Jong-bin
Yoo Jeong-hun
Written by Jeon Cheol-hong
Story by Yoon Jong-bin
Starring Ha Jung-woo
Kang Dong-won
Music by Jo Yeong-wook
Cinematography Choi Chan-min
Edited by Kim Sang-beom
Kim Jae-beom
Distributed by Showbox/Mediaplex
Release dates
July 23, 2014
Running time 137 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean
Budget US$7 million


 Cast / Character list


 Ha Jung-woo as Dolmuchi, a former butcher

Kang Dong-won as Jo Yoon

Lee Geung-young as Ttaeng-choo

Lee Sung-min as Dae-ho

Jo Jin-woong as Lee Tae-ki

Ma Dong-seok as Tianbao

Yoon Ji-hye as Ma-hyang

Ju Jin-mo as Song Young-gil

Song Young-chang as Jo Won-sook

Jung Man-sik as Butler Yang

Kim Byung-ok as Toposa

Kim Jong-gu as Choi Hyun-ki

Kim Sung-kyun as Jang

Kang Hyun-joong as Park

Kim Jae-young as Geum-san

Im Hyeon-seong as Yeom-tong

Woo Jeong-guk as Citizen 1

 Choe Yeong-do as Citizen 2

Park Myung-shin as Choi's wife

Cho Seon-mook as Foreigner

 Kim Sam-il as Jang's father

Noh Gang-min as young Lee

Eom Ji-seong as Joong-man-yi

Nam Da-reum as young Jo Yoon

Jang Woo-jin as Warehouse constable 1

Park Song-taek as Warehouse constable 2

Yeon Jun-won as Kundo 1

Eom Ji-man as Kundo 2

Kim Tae-su as Jo Yoon's slave 1

Yoon Kyeong-ho as Jo Yoon's slave 2

Ri Min as Tribute government official

Heo Ji-hye as Former gisaeng

Jeon Seong-ae as Former midwife

Jeong Dae-yong as Oksa elder

Kim Hae-sook as Dolmuchi's mother

Han Ye-ri as Gok-ji

Lee David as Jo Seo-in

Kim Kkot-bi as Jung-shim



 source : wikipedia




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