Director Yoon Jong-bin’s (Nameless Gangster) new film, Kundo: Age of the Rampant may be martial arts epic set in 19th century Korea, but by all appearances it has the distinct flavor of a Western (Spaghetti and otherwise). It’s not just the score, by frequent Park Chan-wook (Oldboy) collaborator Jo Yeong-wook, which sounds reminiscent of Luis Bacalov’s work on the original Django – with a little Raymond Wong from Kung Fu Hustle thrown in. It’s also the premise which deals with revenge – admittedly, a popular theme in Korean cinema – a rowdy gang of outlaws, and a struggle against authority figures.
A group of Robin Hood-like bandits called Kundo roam the land, taking from the corrupt rich and giving back to the embattled poor. Dol Moo-chi, a lowly butcher, finds himself embroiled in an assassination plot hatched by the young prince Jo Yoon, what wants to put himself next in line for the throne.When he backs down from committing the deed he is sentenced to death and in the nick of time, Kundo come to his rescue, subsequently recruiting him within their ranks. Together they try to bring a stop to the cruel Jo Yoon, who also happens to be a formidable swordsman.
Kundo: Age of the Rampant opens in the U.S. today – August 29, 2014 – in select theaters. Check out the trailer below; and be sure to turn on subtitles if you don’t speak Korean.