When I first saw the trailer for this movie, there were two things that I noticed: go and martial arts. And as someone who grew up on kung fu movies and watching subtitled Asian movies, I was sold immediately.
One of my concerns was that I would have to find some bootleg version of the movie online or wait forever to buy the DVD and have it shipped to the U.S. However, fortunately they had a limited theatrical release in the United States and one of the theaters was only about a 35 min drive away from me. Awesome!
In case you’re planning on seeing it soon and don’t want to have any of my opinion impact your viewing of the movie, I will just say that I recommend you check it out. The only word of caution I would advise is for people who are squeamish about blood and violence. It’s not anything horrific or terribly gory (like a horror movie), but it’s certainly not completely sugar coated (like some martial art movies where the people never bleed or have injuries).
If you’d like to hear a bit more opinionated review, read on!
So while I refuse to give away any plot details since I hate when people give spoilers, here’s what I will say about it.
- Overall, the movie had elements that reminded me of “The Count of Monte Cristo,” “Ocean’s 11,” and “Thai Warrior.”
- I was worried that it would end up being an action movie with only a splash of go, but the theme of go was central to the entire movie and there was very few scenes where there were no references to go or some aspect of it.
- My younger brother (who does not play go) really enjoyed it and even has some interest to learn some more about it now.
In regards to the blood and violence, I will stress again that this movie is a bit more bloody and violent than I anticipated. In most martial arts movies (that I grew up watching), there was not much blood and blatant violence (like someone’s finger being broken while being tortured). However, it doesn’t even come close to what I’ve seen/heard about in horror movies in regards to gore and violence (i.e., there are no scenes of people’s heads getting sliced off or scenes of a person being gutted and the insides spewing out). In fact, the violence is used more as a means of showing the pain the characters are going through instead of for sheer gore factor.
Overall, I had a great time watching the movie and enjoyed it. I’m sure that a movie connoisseur can pick the movie apart for X, Y, and Z reasons; but if you approach the movie as a story centered around go while having martial arts and showing some cultural insight into the gambling go scene in Korea, it should be an enjoyable watch.
Definitely a movie I would recommend and one that I hope to add to my collection in the near future!