Film #222: THE RESTLESS aka JOONG-CHEON
The Restless (aka Joong-Cheon)
3 out of 5 stars
Gorgeously shot and sporting an ungodly amount of CG, this South Korean fairy tale is often compared to films like HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, HERO, and CROUCHING TIGER, but the comparisons are misguided. Those films, with their sweeping narratives and expert martial arts choreography, were epic tales told with visual flair and a genuine kinetic energy. THE RESTLESS, while incredibly pretty, suffers from a muddled and overly-complicated script (with far too many sub-plots and way too many flashbacks out of - and leading - nowhere). The fights scenes are more quick-cut editing & wire-work than any real martial arts prowess. It’s more CHARLIE’S ANGELS than LEGEND OF THE BLACK SCORPION, if you know what I mean. That said, the film is still an eye-pleasing little diversion (much like Tsui Hark’s SHU SHAN ZHENG ZHUAN aka LEGEND OF ZU aka ZU WARRIORS was) and fans of Korean filmmaking will not be wasting their time in watching it.