Another movie that really didn’t belong at the Dark Bridges Film Festival as there really wasn’t anything different about it. War of the Arrows is basically another ancient Asian war/battle epic that deals with honour. Set against the Manchurian invasions of Korea, it is the story of a brother and sister who have been disgraced and forced from their home to live with another clan. They are then separated again when the Manchurians invade and take the sister (Ja-In) and her new husband into captivity. The brother (Nam-Yi), an accomplished marksman with a bow, sets out to rescue her.
Unlike many Asian epics, this has very little in the way of martial arts. Instead, most of the action is guerilla warfare and pursuit of Nam-Yi by the Manchurians. Visually, the film is very appealing. There are lots of scenic shots and the camera work is very steady and easy to watch during the action sequences. I thought the action was quite well spread out and it is very realistic. While there are a couple of instances where it slows down a bit too much, there is enough comic relief to break things up a bit. There are a couple of instances where the effects were subpar (the tiger is one) but it isn’t enough to take away from the movie.
I think the best part of this film though is its ability to bring out emotions for all of the characters. Not only does the viewer really want to see the hero and heroine win, they also will likely care about what happens to the Manchurian villains. I found myself hoping for some sort of mutually beneficial resolution at the end. The film makers did a fine job all around in bringing depth and reality to characters that didn’t really need it.
See it. It is definitely worth the time.