September 18, 2011

Blade of the Phantom Master

This story starts out with Munsu, an Angyo Onshi warrior, wandering the desert on the brink of death. He is found by Mon-ryon, a young man whose aspiration is to become a secret agent for the now fallen country of Jushin. Mon-ryon shares with Munsu that his girlfriend Chunhyan is being held captive by the lord of his country. Shortly after, Mon-ryon and Munsu are ambushed by desert demons and Mon-ryon is killed. Munsu decides to continue Mon-ryon's quest to rescue Chunhyan. After confronting the lord with his phantom army, Munsu successfully rescues Chunhyan, and she in turn becomes his bodyguard. The two begin wandering the land together to confront the evils that have caused the Jushin country to fall.
After watching this movie, I had to stop and think hard about what exactly the plot of this story was. There were so many elements present, I was struggling to find out how everything fit together, and what the writers were trying to key in to as the primary plot focus. For an hour and a half, there was a lot happening, so much so that it was borderline confusing. There was a great deal of emphasis on the story but very little on the actual character development. I found myself struggling to relate to and understand the characters, this caused me to lose some of the connection with this film as I was watching it.
There were many strong elements to this film that I should mention. Two that really stood out were the creativity in the concept of the phantom army. It would have been nice to see this aspect used more thoroughly and developed further in the film. For a person who loves action, this aspect would have helped me to connect with this film a little better. The second item is the art work. The animation in this film is beautiful. Right from the beginning there was very vibrant and bright color along with clear ind detailed drawings. This was one of my favorite aspects of this film and it really got me invested right from the opening credits.

Overall, I think that Blade of the Phantom Master was an entertaining movie and worth the hour and a half to watch. There were a lot of elements present, perhaps too much for the time span that the movie ran, however, this demonstrates the potential that this film could have if it were drawn out into a series and given a proper opportunity to develop some of the richer concepts further. I recommend watching this movie for those who are seeking light action, drama, and elements of social justice.

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