Spoiler Alert *
Skip Spoiler Section if you don't want to know the plot*
Some films you just miss or forget about, The Pirates came out at around the same time as Admiral Roaring Currents , another film set on the high seas in ancient Korea.
With that film, I reviewed it not too long after release.
But it's now 2021 and I thought it time to track down The Pirates from 2014.
Set on the high seas at the beginning of the Korean Josen era it follows the fate of four characters, but only two are our heroes.
It all starts when a young army soldier by the name of Jang Sa-Jung confronts his superiors when they decide it would be a good idea to overthrow the current government. A headstrong Commander wants to betray his orders and take his men to start a New Korea.
Sa-Jung disagrees with this plot and ends up in a confrontation between his sworn brothers, amidst a fight with one of his brothers, Mo Heung -gap he manages to escape by the skin of his teeth...
Time passes and we are transported to the story of a Pirate vessel led by ruthless Pirate So-Ma.
His second in command Yeo-Wol ( a young and beautiful lady with impressive fighting ability), after being on a raid and reaping the rewards and saving some slaves they look to their next target.
But So-Ma is in league with government officials for high reward and plans to sacrifice some of his workforces to appease the ruling Government, which is now led by the traitorous Commander.
Yeo-Wol gets into a confrontation with So-Ma over the deal he has made and a fight ensues, when all ends it is So-Ma who ends up walking the Plank.
Elsewhere a navel ship is traveling to deliver gold and a Royal Seal which gives the ruling body the right to be the King.
When a Whale is spotted the ruthless navel soldiers decide it would be a good idea to attack and kill the Whale as they fear it might bring harm to their vessel.
Upon attacking they then find out the Whale is a youngster and Mummy Whale is on route and with a mighty crash she smashes the ship to pieces getting injured in the process but also swallowing the gold and Royal seal.
The survivors report back to the Royal Palace but dare not say that a Whale took the Seal and blame it on Pirates and Bandits.
Meanwhile, Sa-Jung has become a leader of a band of bandits living off the land, The young lady pirate is the new Captain of the ship she took over, and when they hear of the story of the Whale swallowing the Seal they are coerced or decide to go after the Whale and kill it to reap the rewards.
* Non-Spoiler Section*
The Pirates is an epic-looking film, it's not a serious film by any means, it falls in-between a historical tale and Johhny Dep's Pirates of the Caribbean.
Yes, there's quite a bit of light heart comedy thrown in, nothing too zany but some timely placed jokes and Characters who are just not too bright.
Action scenes are well shot and battles on the ships are choreographed well, they utilise all sorts of weapons and even though our young female heroine possess more a style to that of a Wushu fighter with ariel kicks and lightweight Swords it is very entertaining to watch with a good mix of slo-mo action as well.
The character of Sa-Jung is a more grounded fighter but still has that vulnerable look about him and some of his scenes would not look out of place in a classic Jackie Chan flick like Project A as he jumps about and has those facial expressions of '' get me outta here '' look on his face at times. .
Obviously, the spectacle is further boosted by some extensive CGI, there's no 80's style, lets a build a set so we can destroy it, It's all computer-generated, and just as well as some of the set pieces are quite amazing to see.
You know it's CGI but it's so well done that you just forget and enjoy the action for what it is. Some may find the camaraderie between the Pirates and especially the Bandits are at times a bit like a three stooges scene, which in a way they are, but like the old Hong Kong films of the '80s and '90s these scenes often make way for more intense and violent scenes, not that the film is over violent in any way and I think was targeted at a younger audience as well.
Then there's the Under Water scenes with the Whales these are nicely shot and bring a sense of calm and danger to the film at times, I really did feel I was Jaques Coustou watching those scenes.
There's even a quite funny scene involving a Shark.
A lot of the comedy comes from that the land dwellers don't really know of Whales or Sharks and have no sense of the scale of these sea dwellers.
The way some of the characters express themselves to get a message across is really well done, much like a stand-up comedian when mixed with the more physical humour is quite funny.
At a running time of over two hours, the film may seem like a long haul, but I found the time flew by as the different characters have good stories behind them, each has their goal and you really want to find out who will come out on top.
Even though it may borrow from many past films in that certain scenes could be one or another the main story is quite novel. What makes the film stand out is the connection between the characters, some will have to confront their past, others will lose. There are some distressing scenes for animal lovers, but that's the way to get the emotional juices flowing.
What's amazing is how the film looks considering it was filmed on a budget of just 13 Million dollars when Pirates of the Caribbean cost more than ten times that eleven years earlier.
And truth be told the quality of the film and the acting is indistinguishable between the two.
It just goes to show that USA film stars just get paid way too much money.
So is The Pirates a rip-roaring sea adventure with Sword fighting Girls, evil villains, a roller coaster, and the Fastest Sharks in the East China Seas?
It sure is and is well worth your time.
Review Date: 30-08-2021
Review By: Sertes Nake
Copyright (c) Lottel Entertainment 2014
2014 – South Korea
Directed by Lee Seok -Hoon
Production by Im Young Ho / Chun Sung IL
Distributer: Lotte Entertainment
Length: 130 Minutes
Son Ye Jin – as Yeo Wol
Kim Nam Gil – as Jang Sa- Jung
Kim Tao Woo – as Mo Heung- Gap
Lee Geung -Young – as So-Ma
A rip-roaring sea adventure with Sword fighting Girls, evil villains, a roller coaster, and the Fastest Sharks in the East China Seas!