masterly master lee

a home for forgotten and famous korean pulp, its heroes, its heroines, and its pulpeteers

The Resurrection Of The Butterfly 그림자 2007 review

It’s been a while, but Master Lee is finally back from his secret assignment about which he cannot say a word to you. He suffered a lot lately and he is tired beyond imagination. So what’s better than a great sword movie about bad Japanese samurai and good Korean women? Yup, that’s exactly what Master Lee thought as well. So he got out a bottle of coke, put a pizza in the oven and settled down to enjoy The Resurrection Of The Butterfly. Yes, he knows. He should have known better. The resurrection of what? The only excuse he can come up with is that he only looked at the Korean title 그림자 or ‘shadow‘. Anyway, it was too late now. Armed with a cold bottle of coke and a hot pizza and sitting in his easy chair in front of the TV in his lair, there was no way he was going to get up and get another DVD. So he didn’t. And he paid the price.

Instead of swords and fights, Master Lee got Japanese samurai fluent in Korean and a horror spin on the classic story of Non’gae, the kisaeng who killed Japanese general Kimura during the Japanese invasions at the end of the 16th century by jumping from a cliff with him in her enticing arms. Great stuff for a movie, but what the hell happened here? Samurai speaking Korean and behaving in a distinctly Korean way, samurai armor that is kinda wobbly (if you’re going to use plastic armor, at least make sure it doesn’t wobble right in front of the camera! Steel is supposed to be, well, steel), samurai striking a pose before they really strike. It’s got something to do with a butterfly, with revenge and stitching up wounds, but Master Lee fell asleep when the movie quickly degenerated in a clichéd paranoia fest in which tough samurai are reduced to blubbering psychological wrecks, everybody started to scream at each other and in which generals leading an army go out a night alone, wielding their Japanese überswords. Did they run out of extra’s or what? And this was only the first part of the movie. The second part is set against a contemporary background, but same characters, same mind numbing, fast-forward-thumb triggering gobbledygook. The only difference is the presence of a goateed middle-aged man looking for a flower. No, don’t ask.

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