A band of pirates and a group of bandits fight to catch a gray whale that has swallowed a royal stamp.A band of pirates and a group of bandits fight to catch a gray whale that has swallowed a royal stamp.A band of pirates and a group of bandits fight to catch a gray whale that has swallowed a royal stamp.
Having seen more hours of this kind of film from China over the years, I'm surprised I hadn't ventured into the Korean historic martial arts scene earlier. J pop may be both alien and compelling to me but this genre is like walking into a room full of 80's Shaw Brothers films I'd somehow missed. What a deliciously tasty feast Pirates is to someone like me, it assumes you are familiar with all the significant bits of the culture and story, so don't lumber the film with a lot of klunky exposition as in some films that aspire to being seen at some point in the west. While my Korean is non existent, the easy to read sub titles ( that's important too ) seem to allow the original script's concepts and plot points to come through without the usual over simplification and ham fisted translation into western ideas that haunt many other such films. Most recently I saw a Korean anime that I'm sure was brilliant in the original tongue but was so badly dubbed it went from funny for the first 15 minutes to too painful for my brain to process. I'm sure this may in fact be the principle reason I might have steered clear of the genre till now.
Pirates deserves better distribution, a proper name in English and as mentioned somewhere else, is an object lesson for anybody considering making a film about pirates. There is more Errol Flynn 1940's fun factor here than the confused drive-by muggings of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels churned out for the sole purpose of parting gullible people from their money. I will go so far as to suggest that in the event a DVD of this comes available in near the future, fans of martial arts films add this to the must have list.
- Jan 23, 2015