By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –
Here’s a rule of thumb in regards to Korean costume dramas. If they clock in under 2 hours, or 2:15 just to be safe, they’re probably not good. Age of Blood is 1:46.
I predict TV cameras.
Age of Blood is adapted from a manga about reluctant warrior who faces off against a group of badass rebels because it’s his job, and maybe deep down he feels it’s his responsibility to protect his king or something.
The hardcore manga opener is bloody and nasty and maybe makes the case for this whole thing having been animated. It’s no surprise this film came from a comic book, and it admittedly does have some pretty good fight scenes, particularly the archery ones. The fight choreography overall is solid, so if you’re coming just for that you may be satisfied.
The film also boasts some typically lavish period sets and costumes. Joseon Dynasty-era movies almost always look amazing.
Want your movie to look like cheap garbage? Two words: CGI blood. Despite the money sunk into sets, costumes, and weapons, they couldn’t afford damn squibs, and the times the blood splashes the camera lens are just insult to injury. Whyyyyy suggest the presence of a camera in your period piece? More than five times?
For all the super bloody opening and general torture and mayhem, Age of Blood pretty quickly establishes that it’s a comedy, I think? Certainly lead actor xx thinks so. One of the great things about Korean cinema is how it tries to be everything at once, and when a film like The Wailing pulls together all of the disparate tones it’s going for, it demonstrates how nobody is better at this than Korean directors. However, when they fail… it’s a trainwreck.
It’s really difficult to tell just what is going on or who we’re supposed to care about in this film. The rebel badass team of warriors trying to free the good-looking rebel leader undergoing torture are the bad guys? The villain-bearded king and his flunkies who stab people instead of fighting fair are the good guys. Why am I supposed to care about any of these characters?
Did I say I liked the archery fights? Well… one of them does end in one of the dumbest and most implausible setpiece endings I’ve seen in many a moon. Our hero is trapped in a paper-walled room by two archers, and using… Jedi mind tricks?… gets them to fire arrows directly across from each other at exactly the same time that he vaults over mid-air, after which they slam into the two archers, killing them. What the what?
Age of Blood is a dumb, bloody mess with some quality action scenes and a bunch of plot that’s strung together as an excuse to make it feature-length.
Age of Blood (2018) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever somebody mugs for the camera
Take a Drink: whenever the little kid speaks
Take a Drink: for splashes of CGI blood
Do a Shot: whenever that CGI blood hits the camera… why?