ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – W – Woochi (2009) Movie Review

Director: Dong-hoon Choi

Writer: Dong-hoon Choi (Screenplay) Ho-min Ju, Park Myeong-Chan (Comic)

Starring: Dong-won Gang, Soo-jung Lim, Yook-seok Kim, Hae-jin Yoo, Young-chang Song, Sang-ho Kim

Plot: Jeon Woo-chi, an undisciplined womanizing Taoist from the Joseon era, ends up in present day Korea causing mayhem with his knack for magic.


Tagline – World beware. The wizard is coming.

Runtime: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Fantasy Adventure

Story: Woochi starts as we enter a world of goblins which become life sized animals like rats or rabbits and wizard of ancient times, where Woochi (Gang) a mischievous wizard that has great power to calmly take over the king if he needs to, he is wanted amongst the world with his trusted sidekick Chorangyi (Yoo) who could be transformed into any animal.

On Woochi’s latest quest he comes to save a widow Seo IN-kyeong (Lim) only to find himself in the middle of a battle between the goblins and the pipe that would give them control of the world, with Master Hwa-dam (Kim) the most powerful wizard in the land trying to take the pipe.

When Woochi is trapped within a painting for five centuries, he is summoned back after the goblins have returned for the pipe, now in the modern day Woochi must continue to master his skills to save the world from destruction from the Archgod.

Thoughts on Woochi

Characters – Woochi is a young wizard, he likes to cause trouble with his powers, he believes he is the most powerful wizard in the land, even though he isn’t and wants to use his powers to do the odd criminal action against bad people, he does get put in his place by his master, and trapped in a world that he isn’t prepared for needing to fight for the right thing once again. Seo In-kyeong was the widow in the ancient times, the woman Woochi falls for, in the modern era she is an assistant to an actress who finds herself caught in the middle of the battle, having no knowledge of what could come her way. Hwa-dam is a master wizard, the most powerful in the land, he does become consumed by the power the goblins could give him, wanting the pipe for himself, it is against him Woochi must prove his own power. Chorangyi is the sidekick to Woochi, he is a dog that has been turned into a human, with the ability to turn into other animals too, including the trust horse.

PerformancesDong-won Gang as Woochi is great to watch, he embraces the cocky side to his character which only is meant to make him look foolish, without being a fool and makes us see that the confidence he brings to the role helps his character overcome the odds. Soo-jung Lim gets to play two different characters both from different eras which does make her show off the change in how the woman was perceived between the eras. Yoon-seok Kim does well through the film as the evil master wizard, showing his ability to adapt to both worlds too, while Hae-hin Yoo will bring us the most laughs through the film as the dog figure.

StoryThe story follows a cocky young wizard that gets caught up in the middle of a battle between humans and goblins for control in the world, where he gets frozen in time to continue the battle five centuries later. This is a story that is based in fantasy and does established early on and is one we can take into what we are getting into. The idea of moving to different era does help add something to the story because of the fish out of water idea and with the lack of belief in the former traditions or mythical enemies that could come towards the modern day. We do have a character that needs to learn his place in the world and learn to use his power for good instead of just being cocky about what he could do.

Action/Comedy/FantasyThe action in this film is entertaining, it is big just like you would expect it to be, using the fighting techniques to increase everything, while using elements of the comedy to lighten the mood and the fantasy to show us the world we are in.

SettingsThe film does use to eras for the settings, first the ancient world before hitting the modern era which helps show how out of place the Woochi looks in it.

Special EffectsThe effects are wonderful to see, we get to see just how many are used for the fights which do include the elements being used, transformation through flat services too.


Scene of the Movie – The first goblin fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does have a moment of confusion in the final battle.

Final Thoughts This is a fun adventure that embraces the fantasy world we are entering and with make you laugh along the way.

Overall: Entertaining from start to finish.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – N – Valhalla Rising (2009) Movie Review

This is under N because of the director Nicolas Winding Refn.

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Writer: Nicolas Winding Refn, Roy Jacobsen (Screenplay)

Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Alexander Morton, Stewart Porter, Maarten Stevenson, Matthew Zajac, Gordon Brown, Gary McCormack

Plot: Forced for some time to be a fighting slave, a pagan warrior escapes his captors with a boy and joins a group of Crusaders on their quest to the Holy Land.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: What Was This?

Story: Valhalla Rising starts as One Eye (Mikkelsen) is forced into fights to prove his owner has the strongest fighter, waiting for his chance to escape, he does joined by The Boy (Stevenson) the two go in search for something more, when they join Kare (Lewis) as a Crusader heading to the Holy Land.

As the journey continues, One Eye slowly sees the Crusaders start to lose their own minds, believing they are doing God’s will, with their blind following, while One Eye proves just how dangerous he is.

Thoughts on Valhalla Rising

Characters – One Eye is a slave in early mankind, he is forced into fights, where he always kills the enemies, after he escapes, he becomes a warrior that leads people in a direction they aren’t ready to go down. He doesn’t say a word. Kare, Gorm and Eirik are Christian Vikings from the Crusades looking for the Holy Land, they each believe there is something different in the message sent to them with One Eye, which sees them lose control between themselves.

PerformancesMads Mikkelsen is the highlight of the film here, he keeps his character looking mysterious, while also being deadly. The rest of the cast might handle the dialogue which fills in a lot of the story, they don’t do much else in the film.

StoryThe story follows a slave kept for fighting that breaks free going on his own adventure leading a group of Crusaders into the depths of a place they haven’t been to before. This is a story that doesn’t seem to get very deep, with most of the story being travelling and see how blind the Crusaders would be in their beliefs and see one man break free and becoming a leader, the ending will leave you scratching your head though.

Action/FantasyThe action in the film follows the fight sequences that One Eye goes through, though a lot of action is being held back from what could happen, with the fantasy side of the film showing us just how the world doesn’t seem as real as the characters believe it is.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the new discoveries that the character go on along their journey.

Special EffectsThe effects are used for the brutality of the fights, which show us just what is going on in the fights.


Scene of the Movie – One Eye’s first fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – There is a lot of walking.

Final Thoughts This isn’t the most engaging film you will see, it seems to have plenty of walking and symbolism around the early era of the Crusades.

Overall: Something or Nothing.

Michael Caine Weekend – Harry Brown (2009) Movie Review

Director: Daniel Barber

Writer: Gary Young (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Charlie Creed-Miles, David Bradley, Iain Glen, Sean Harris, Plan B, Jack O’Connell

Plot: An elderly ex-serviceman and widower looks to avenge his best friend’s murder by doling out his own form of justice.


Tagline – The law has limits. He doesn’t.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Intense and Gritty

Story: Harry Brown starts as we meet mild-mannered ex-marine and widower Harry Brown (Caine) who is living on a London estate where his only friend Leonard Attwell (Bradley) spend time in the pub where they play chess at get worried about the local youth that are always causing chaos, from small harassment to murder.

After Leonard is murdered by the gang, the police Alice Frampton (Mortimer) and Terry Hicock (Creed-Miles) visit and inform Harry of the news, which soon turns Harry into wanting his on form of defence, which sees him looking to take on the gangs, while Alice is charged with trying to find the mysterious vigilante.

Thoughts on Harry Brown

Characters – Harry Brown is trying to live a quiet life of retirement, hoping his wife gets better, having one friend on the London estate, after losing his wife and his best friend gets murdered, Harry uses his past as a marine to look for answers, taking out anybody he sees as part of the problem. D.I Alice Frampton has just been transferred to the area, she comes off more approachable than most members of the police force, she is trying to get things done without needing to turn to name calling. She seems to be the only person trying to solve the case. D.S Terry Hicock has been working the estate for years, he has become warned down with the crimes, making him distant in his behaviour towards the incidents. Leonard Attwell is the best friend of Harry’s the two spend most afternoons together in the pub, though Leonard has started to fear for his life more as he is being targeted by the youth in the neighbourhood.

PerformancesMichael Caine is fantastic in the leading role showing a grittier performance than we are used to seeing from him. Emily Mortimer does show us a much calmer officer than we are used to seeing in the police force. In the supporting roles everyone is strong with the younger cast getting their chance to shine.

StoryThe story here follows a retired marine that decides to come and take a stand against the local youth problem that murdered his friend. We have seen the vigilante taking a stand before and it is nice to see a version that still kept the story looking fresh, with a new spin on it, by having a veteran needing to fight back against young people causing troubles, this could reflect real life with the gangs keep giving problems to the local people. The way everything unfolds is given a nice slowly built up moment which shows how Harry’s rage can be seen growing slowly too.

Action/CrimeThe action is kept in a more tame realm, though this is good for the film because it is meant to be a tighter enclosed environment for the events of the film, while the crime shows us just how the youth have started to take over.

SettingsThe film keeps the film in and around the London estate, it shows the different people living on it and how their lives will be affected by what is happening there.


Scene of the Movie – The underground.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The police don’t seem that helpful.

Final Thoughts This is a great action vigilante movie that shows just how far somebody could go to clean up their streets when they see nothing happening, where Michael Caine truly shines.

Overall: Brilliant.

Knowing (2009)

Director: Alex Proyas
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Chandler Canterbury, Rose Byrne, Lara Robinson, D.G. Maloney, Nadia Townsend, Alan Hopgood, Adrienne Pickering, Danielle Carter, Tamara Donnellan, Ben Mendelsohn

Starting in 1959 a new school decided to make a time capsule to be opened fifty years in the future. One class is asked to draw picture of things they imagine the future to be like. One child Lucinda (Lara Robinson) starts hearing voices and her message for the time capsule comprises of a set of numbers. Teacher Miss Taylor (Danielle Carter) is worried about Lucinda and when she goes missing a search finds her in a closest with her hands covered in blood.

Fast forward fifty years to the year 2009 John Koestler (Nicolas Cage) an astrophysicist and single father of Caleb (Chandler Canterbury). Caleb is partial deaf and as soon as the time capsule opens starts hearing similar voices. Caleb gets the letter that Lucinda wrote assuming its nothing he keeps it. Caleb uses videos of his late mother to help him fall asleep at night.

John having a drink and watching television and spills some and accidentally puts the glass on the letter unwilling circling some numbers. These numbers surprise him and he sets out on some research discovering that every disaster date and number of deaths on in a series. The morning after John discusses his findings with a fellow scientist and friend Phil (Ben Mendelsohn). Knowing there are three disasters yet to happen John sets out on his plan to find out how true these numbers are.

Meeting Diana Wavland (Rose Byrne) who is the daughter of Lucinda and her daughter Abby (Lara Robinson). John and Caleb start to get to know and start working together to stop a disaster happening. Caleb get haunted by The Stranger (D.G. Maloney) a man who keeps to the shadows and knows things which will be happening. We are left to wonder what disasters will be occurring in the next few months and who is the stranger.

Putting this against other disaster movies this can stand out being as its something different something we didn’t see coming. The action scenes are well constructed from plane crash to the train wreck. Not one of Nicolas Cage’s best performances but he doesn’t need to deliver to the high standards some other action movies he has starred in have asked for. The overall story will keep you guessing right up to the shock ending and must watch.

My rating 91%

Law Abiding Citizen (2009)

Director: F. Gary Gray
Starring; Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler, Colm Meaney, Bruce McGill, Leslie Bibb, Michael Irby, Gregory Itzin, Regina Hall, Emerald-Angel Young, Christian Stolte, Annie Corley, Richard Portnow, Viola Davis, Josh Stewart

While simply looking after his daughter and getting ready for the family meal a door bell rings and Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) answers the door only to get attacking by two men restrained and beaten the men move into the house killing his wife and young daughter. Clarence Darby (Christian Stolte) and Rupert Ames (Josh Stewart) are caught and taken to a trial. Hot shot lawyer Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) is offered a deal which gives him his guarantee success rate which is all that matters to him. This deal with Clarence means Rupert is put to death while he goes free after three years in jail. Clyde is less than impressed but has little choice but to accept.

Ten years down the line Rupert Ames is about to be executed and Nick and his mentor Jonas Cantrell (Bruce McGill) and his new apprentice Sarah Lowell (Leslie Bibb) all go to view, only something goes wrong leading to a less human death for Ames. The police go after Clarence thinking he might know or be involved in the crime only for him to be given an escape by a mystery police man who turned out to be Clyde. Clyde ends up butchering Clarence and filming it.

Police then arrest Clyde Nick questions Clyde only for Clyde to use a play on words to sound guilty but never actually admitting anything. The Tape Clyde filmed was sent to Nicks Family his wife Kelly (Regina Hall) and daughter Denise (Emerald-Angel Young) who watch it only for the tape to reveal no image of the murderer. On to the bail hearing where Clyde gets Judge Laura Burch (Annie Corley) to grant bail with legal material he has learnt himself. Only to laugh and shove it in her face question how they can let someone accused of murder free.

Clyde is now in jail waiting for trial but starts offering deals to Nick if these deals are not met people involved in the original case will die, will Nick continue to take the deals or not? who will be the ones to suffer for Nick’s pride and Clyde revenge.

The Story will keep you on the edge of your seat and also keep you question who to cheer for as Nick is by the book not getting hands dirty guy while Clyde is trying to bring the justice system down so there are no more deals. I personally cheer for Clyde as his character sums up the feeling anyone who had something similar happen to them would drive them to the edge.

My overall rating is a perfect action thriller 93%