Muyeong geom (The Legend of the Shadowless Sword) (2005)

 

 

 

Director:    Young-jun Kim.

Starring:     Hyeon-jun Shin (Gun Hwa-pyung),  So-yi Yoon (Yeon So-ha),  Seo-jin Lee (Dae Jung-hyun),  Ki-yong Lee (Mae Yung-ok).

starts 927; female warrior is sent to find an exiled prince after the Killer Blade Army killed the royal family

 

 

Spoiler Warning:  below is  a summary of the entire film.

"In 926 A.D. the capital of Balhae falls to Georan. The Georans then name the East part of the country East Georan. However, the surviving royals and people of Balhae gather from all parts of the country and fight to take back their homeland."

Autumn, 927 A.D. Guards in a courtyard are suddenly cut down by lots of arrows. An enemy shows up, saying: "The Killer Blade Army of Dongranguk is here!" The defenders form a defensive line to stop the Killer Blade Army. The defenders are being defeated, but then the man in charge steps in and starts killing man after man of the enemy. He has a long walking stick and a huge iron piece at the end of it.

There is a woman with the Killer Blade Army who is very skilled with a sword and she kills quite a few of the defenders. Then the leader of the army group swoops down from a perch on top of a roof.

The leader and the woman look at each other, then they walk toward a man calmly sitting on the floor with a desk in front of him. A guard comes into the room from a side entrance, sees the man and says: "Gunhwapyeong!" The woman goes to the attack and she kills the guard.

The sitting man gets up and says: "I'm honored the commander of the Killer Blade Army is paying me a personal visit." The commander steps closer to the man and asks: "Wouldn't you rather cooperate with Dongranguk?" The man answers: "I am a human being, not a dog for Georan like you." The fellow then grabs a sword and attacks the commander, who kills him with his first blow.

An old man has to announce to his circle that their future king, Prince Suhyeon, has been assassinated by Gunhwapyeong. Another man says that Gunhwapyeong is killing off the royal family. And now they wonder, who will become the next king? The old man says he recently discovered a prince whose whereabouts were not previously known. His name is Prince Joenghhyeon.

The commander of the Killer Blade reports to his king. He says he sent Maeyoungok and Mabul to Jungwon. The king says that Maeyoungok is an excellent warrior. But Balhae has sent a woman who is also an excellent warrior.

The Balhae woman receives instructions. He says the prince is the son of Lady Oh. Fourteen years ago he was sent in exile to Jungwon. The Killer Blade Army is after the prince, so she must find the prince before the enemy does.

In Jungwon, the woman, Yeon So-ha, speaks with a wealthy merchant. She says she wants to meet the gentlemen known as Sosam who she is searching for. He tells her to have a seat and wait.

At that moment, the prince is bargaining to purchase an item brought to him. He says he will offer them 50 jeon for it. This makes the man mad, so he says he'll give them 80 jeon. The prince is informed about a woman asking for him.

He walks over to her. She says she wants to know his real name. He tells them they need to talk in a more private area. He thinks she's an assassin, so he walks her over into a trap. His rough associates surround the two people. The prince tells her he knows how to deal with assassins. So-ha says: "There seems to be a misunderstanding." The prince leaves So-ha to her fate.

So-ha quickly defeats the amateurs. She doesn't kill anyone, but she breaks some bones. And now the merchant will answer So-ha's questions.

Sosam finds a blade staring him in the face. So-ha tells him to sit down, please. She introduces herself as Yeon So-ha, First Officer of Biseonwon. She then asks him to please forgive her if she was discourteous to him in any way. And she tells him that she's not an assassin.

Sosam says he is not stupid. He knew that they would not let an exiled prince live, unless all the other princes were dead. So-ha says: "All the other princes are dead." She adds: "Your Highness, you must become the king of Balhae." So-ha will be escorting him back to Balhae.

Sosam is still very wary of what the lady says. He does not want to become a target for the Georan to kill. He's most interested in his own survival.  He throws a smoke bomb at her feet and dashes out. The room is filled with smoke. So-ha starts looking for the prince.

The prince runs into trouble almost immediately. He is knocked around and then thrown to the ground. Now a leader with his men encircle him. The leader says: "I sent my cohorts to the gambling house and they returned practically crippled." The prince says that was not of his doing. The leader says he never said that "Your Highness" was responsible for what happened.

The leader speaks to the merchant saying he wants all the particulars of what happened so he can price his damages accordingly. Or he could turn over the prince for a handsome reward. So-ha arrives and tells the leader to release Sosam immediately. One of the men shouts that this was the very lady who attacked them earlier. The confrontation leads to the death of a couple of men who were a little too eager to take So-ha out.

And now the Killer Blade Army arrives. Mae Yung-ok leads the group. With her is the man with the killer walking stick. Sosam asks So-ha who are these people? They are the Dongranguk's Killer Blade Army. The man with the killer walking stick tells So-ha to give them Prince Jeonghyeon and they will let her live.

The boss of the thugs steps between the disputants, saying that it would benefit the Army if they would listen to him. Mae responds by widening the mouth of the boss by a sword slash across his face. The boss screams in pain and turns around toward his men. Mae now slashes him in the back and he falls down dead.

Now the thugs go to the attack. While the two groups are fighting, Sosam and So-ha start running from them. Other soldiers try to kill them with spinning stars. Sosam and So-ha get up on the roofs and start flying and running across the roofs.

So-ha is forced to fight for their lives and she does an excellent job of it. Then she tells Sosam that they must continue running from the army. He tells her to follow him.

In a hidden away place, Sosam demands to know who So-ha really is. And what's her connection with the Killer Blade Army? So-ha replies that most of the army is lead by Balhae traitors. She knows some of them because they were in the Balhae army like herself.

He asks how does she know about his brother Suhyeon? She says at one time she guarded for the crown prince. But now, she says, they must get out of here. There is no save place here. They are willing to kill all the people on the street to get at the prince. He tells her to follow him again because he know the fastest way out of town.

They end up in a restaurant. So-ha asks: "Is this the fastest route you mentioned?" He replies that they have to have something to eat before they start on the long journey.

Now another group shows up. Sosam says they are the Bidomun, a branch of Heukdobang's gang. It was their leader who was killed and now they are out of their minds with grief for him. She says they must go, but he says he will decide when and if they go. He throws a cup that breaks the tea pot on the table of the Bidomun. They jump up ready for a fight. Sosam says his boss here wants him to ask them a question: "She wonders if it's true that your leader died from overdoing it with women?" So the fight starts.

Meanwhile Sosam runs out of the restaurant. The fight doesn't last long because the daughter of the leader float down from the rafters to find out what's going on. She asks So-ha what the heck is she doing? "We are still in mourning for my father."

She tells the leader of the small group that she asked them not to let themselves be provoked into a confrontation. The leader whispers to the daughter what So-ha said about her father. Now the daughter is mad. She confronts So-ha and tells her to say that to her face.

Sosam seems so proud of himself as he leisurely walks through a bamboo forest. Suddenly he is surrounded by the Bidomun. Their leader's daughter and So-ha are with them. So-ha just walks up to Sosam and tells him: "We've been delayed long enough. We should go." Sosam meekly agrees.

So-ha thanks the leader's daughter, but the daughter says that this was the right thing to do, even if she would like to kill Sosam. She says everything will be alright. She turns and leaves with her group.

So-ha explains that she told the daughter what happened? Sosam is shocked that she would tell his story to the daughter. So-ha tells him to relax because she told a different story to get herself and him out of trouble.

So-ha says they need horses. So she buys horses from one of Sosam's friends. (The horses are stolen.) Sosam wants to take one of his swords.

The king speaks with the commander of the Killer Blade Army. He asks if he has heard anything from the deputy commander? The commander asks the king to please not worry because Mae Youngok has never lost her quarry. The king says but this time the quarry is Yeon So-ha. Now the commander says he will go find Mae.

There's one problem, however. The court does not trust the commander because he's been killing every members of the Balhae royalty. He adds that somehow the commander is going to have to control his vengeful spirit. The commander has a flashback to when the Balhae killed his father.

Sosam and So-ha come into a tavern. He asks for two rooms. She tells the proprietor that they want only one room. She is going to guard the door until the king falls asleep. He tells her to just come inside, but she refuses. She also says there must be no hint of scandal involving the king. So Sosam lays down to sleep.

Mae and her little army arrive at the home of Sosam's friend. The friend says that the couple went to Hadong. Mae says that the commander is coming.

So-ha answers the king's question about herself. She says Georan soldiers killed her father when she was only nine years of age. And when she was ten, they killed her mother.

Rain is threatening, so they decide to find a place to stay and not try to push on to Hadong. At night they talk. The king tells her to stop looking at him with pity in her eyes, because before he me So-ha he had a great life.

The couple reach Hadong. He tells her to wait outside while he goes inside a shop to speak with the owner. While So-ha waits, she starts go get suspicious. She runs inside the store, but the king has gone. She runs around trying to find him.

He is at the home of the shop proprietor. Sosam says he came for the money that the shop proprietor has kept for him.

On the street, So-ha spots Mae and she ducks out of sight.

The shop owner says that the Killer Blade Army came around yesterday. It was the Killer Blade Army. The fellow with the wicked walking stick comes in and the shop proprietor goes out. Meanwhile, Mae is attacking So-ha.

Sosam really takes a beating from the bald man with his head covered with tattoos. Mae is holding her own.

Sosam starts winning when he starts picking up pieces of stone and throwing them at the tattooed man. The fellow goes down and now Sosam picks up the wicked walking stick and starts wailing on the tattooed man. So-ha knocks Mae down, but she has to run away because Mae's soldiers are rushing to her assistance.

The tattooed man recovers and now uses a chain of large balls with which to attack Sosam. Sosam picks up his sword. The chain of balls gets cut and now the evil fellow is at the mercy of Sosam. When the tattooed man attacks, Sosam skewers him in the mid-section.

Sosam and So-ha jump into the water to get away from the attacking soldiers. They glide through the water, but two fellows follow them. So-ha takes out the two men. Sosam comes up for air and Mae and her soldiers spot him They starts throwing those killer stars and that's a big threat because there are so many stars coming at Sosam.

Three soldiers go after Sosam in the water. She creates what looks like a shock wave that knocks out the three soldiers. Sosam is running out of air, so So-ha pushes some of her air into his mouth. They are able to get away from Mae and her mayhem.

Now Sosam tells So-ha that he has no intention of going to Balhae. She says he has to go. He asks her to give him one good reason why he should. She says that he was not at his mother's deathbed when she died. So-ha adds that on their way they will pass by Cheonaegok. There is a graveyard in the town.

Out of the water comes the Killer Blade Army commander. He manages to slash at Sosam and may have connected. So-ha comes to Sosam's rescue and she fights with the commander. In a short break in the action, the commander tells So-ha that his father and family were falsely accused of treason and brutally killed by the royal family of Balhae.

So-ha says the treason charges were not false. Sosam gets up. So-ha sees he has a smoke ball in his hand. So she charges at the commander. When Sosam throws the ball, the smoke allows the couple to escape.

Mae tells the commander that she will not return until she has killed Yeon So-ha. The commander says he will give her four day to kill her foe. If she does not succeed, Mae will not get any more chances.

So-ha tends to the king's wounds. She sees the wound and puts salve on it, but she also sees and a long and old scar on his back. So-ha says that she heard that the 15-year old prince joined his father in the battle against Georan.

Sosam remembers back to a battle where he saved a little girl known as So-ha from death. While he kneeled over her and smiled, a warrior hits him in the back with a huge axe. Sosam manages to kill the man with his sword.

The couple stay at an abandoned farm. So-ha says that every Balhae soldier used to call him General Keumhwee. She says the people of Balhae will be able to rely on him in a time of upheaval such as the present one. He tries to talk her out of her good opinion of him. She finally tells him: "I believe in you. . . . I would bet my life on it."

The couple don costumes so they can make it across the border. They have disguised themselves as Georan. Going through Georan countryside and towns they see a lot of people from Balhae being terribly mistreated by the Georan.

At night Sosam uses So-ha's sword to go through sword practice. She walks over to him and he hands back her sword.

They move on in their cart. But one day, Mae shows up along with their soldiers. They destroy the cart. The soldiers now chase the couple through the countryside. The couple have to make a stand. Sosam uses the sword and So-ha uses martial arts.

Whittling down the number of soldiers, So-ha sees Mae. The two women go to the attack. So-ha fights Mae off. With Mae is a huge man who is an archer. He's the one who has been slinging arrows at the couple. Sosam was able to deflect an arrow that would certainly have killed So-ha. When So-ha sees the archer, she goes to the attack. He shoots four arrows at one time at her but she flies over the arrows and comes down hard with her sword on the giant. She walks away from him and his body suddenly explodes.

Sosam asks So-ha why is she angry at him? She says because his actions today could have gotten him killed. "Your life does not only belong to you, but to your people." He tells her to stop worrying so much. He tells her that that he is only going with her so he can visit his mother's grave.

So-ha stumbles and Sosam asks her what's wrong with her? She doesn't want to say. He asks her to rest a moment, but she insists on going on. So now he insists that she stay put for awhile and just rest until she gets better. She agrees to only let him assist her in walking. He helps her walk to the graveyard.

A man comes running up to say: "I, Jocheonsu, under General Imsunji, greet Your Highness, Prince Jeonghyeon." The man looks at So-ha and asks what's wrong? She collapses. The man and Sosam take her into a tent. The man tells Sosam that So-ha has been poisoned and it may be too late for her.

The Goreon king says he has learned that Gen. Imsunji has sent out his army to protect the prince. This will mean there is no opportunity to kill the prince. The commander of the Killer Blade Army says he will finish the mission before Imsuni's army arrives. The king says that they can't trust him anymore. That's why they have sent out the Golden Bow Army.

Mae has sex with the Goreon official. Her commander doesn't like this. His ultimate goal was to kill the prince and then establish his own country on Balhae territory.

The soldier tries to cure So-ha with different herbs Outside the tent Sosam stands guard. In the morning the man says that So-ha should regain consciousness soon.

Mae comes out the next morning to tell her commander that Yayulcheolla has ordered them to leave.

The Killer Blade commander assassinates Yayulcheolla. The commander tells his aide to send word to the Golden Bow Army commander that the prince killed Yayulcheolla.

The prince goes to visit his mother's grave. And now he recognizes his healer. He was there just after he was struck in the back with the axe. Yes, he is chief of the assault team, Jocheonsu.

When Jocheonsu gets back to the tent he sees that So-ha is already up. He tells her that the prince guarded the tent the whole night. The two of them see a falcon fly overhead. So-ha says: "Gunhwapyeong is here!" She then says the prince is in danger. She rushes to the grave of Lady Oh. As she runs to the prince, she feels the presence of Gunhwapyeong. The commander lands near her.

Jocheonsu shows up. He tells So-ha to go, while he handles this killer. So-ha takes off. And now a bunch of soldiers land not far from the grave of Lady Oh. The prince runs to the attackers and immediately starts fighting. So-ha arrives shortly afterwards. They make quick work of the soldiers.

The commander kills Jocheonsu.

Running the couple runs into Mae. The prince takes out her soldiers quickly. Mae fights with So-ha. Mae tells her that if she overexerts herself the poison still left in her system will constrict her blood vessels and she will die.

The prince rushes to the side of So-ha. And now the commander lands almost on top of the prince. He wounds and knocks the prince to the ground. So-ha wounds Mae.

So now its So-ha versus the commander. So-ha puts smalls wounds on the commander's body. She then wounds the commander in the upper right arm and he drops his sword. So-ha goes for the kill, but Mae steps in front of her commander. The sword goes through Mae's body and partly into the commander's body. The commander draws a second sword from behind his back, sticks it through Mae's body and wounds So-ha. Mae can't believe he ran her though. She drops dead on the ground.

The commander says no one can stop him now. And now So-ha will have to stand by helpless to save her prince from the commander's sword. The prince recognizes the sword because it matches the sword held by So-ha.

The commander tells the prince that his father gave identical swords to two young princes. He goes on to say that he killed Prince Suhyeon and took his sword. The prince now picks up the identical sword.

The prince tells the commander he is mistaken about the sword he has. His sword is not a magical sword, while the sword in the prince's hand possesses the spirit of So-ha. And he must save that spirit.

The two men go to the attack. The prince feels weak and goes to one knee. But it is the commander who feels the pain running through him. After a short wait, the commander's body is blown to pieces.

The prince tells So-ha that he wouldn't even be her if it were not for her. She gave him a reason to live. And she tells the prince that he gave her a reason to live some 14 years ago when he first taught to her her first lesson in the used of the sword.

Now the Golden Bow Army shows up and are about to execute the couple, when the Balhae army strikes first and takes out a lot of enemy solders. Then the two armies go after each other.

So-ha falls to the ground saying she has not chance. She asks him to stay with her awhile. Of course, he will. He feels terrible because he could not save her life. So-ha dies. The prince cries over her body.

The Balhae army under the leadership of the king now starts a counter attack on their own castle, held by the Georan. The king shouts out that this castle will once again be known as Holhan Palace and they will restore their country.

"Finally in the year 928 East Georan reverts back to Yodong. After that New Balhae and Junghan are established. These two are considered the descendants of Balhae."

The young prince turns So-ha over to Jocheonsu who promises to take very good care of her. The prince says he hopes she will remember everything that he taught here. So-ha says she will. When the prince leaves we see So-ha with the prince's sword.

 

There's not all that much history here.  It's mostly an action film with lots of sword fighting.   The two good characters have to fight all the way back to their homeland which is far away.  The two women leaders are very pretty and so is the male leader of the Killer Blade Army.  But good looks don't insure that the person is a good human being.  The sword fighting is interesting.  The style of fighting is stylized with the people able to fly over roof tops and easily push through water in lakes, rivers and ponds.  The four main characters listed above were all good in their roles.

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.


 

Historical Background:

 

Balhae (698 926) was a Korean kingdom established after the fall of Goguryeo that existed during the North South states period of Korea along with Unified Silla. After Goguryeo's capital and southern territories fell to Unified Silla, Dae Jo-yeong, a former Goguryeo general, whose father was Dae Jung-sang, established Jin, later called Balhae. It was a successor state to Goguryeo. Balhae occupied southern parts of Manchuria (Northeast China) and Primorsky Krai, and the northern part of the Korean peninsula. It was defeated by the Khitans in 926, and most of its northern territories were absorbed into the Liao Dynasty while the southern parts were absorbed into Goryeo.

 

Dae Gwang-hyeon was the last Crown Prince of Balhae and a member of the Balhae Royal Family, and was the leader of the Balhae refugees who sought refuge in the Korean Kingdom of Goryeo.

Dae Gwang-hyeon was probably the first son of King Dae Inseon, and the last Crown Prince of Balhae.

After several months of oppressing Balhae, the Khitan army swept through the nation and reached Sanggyeong, the capital city. The last king of Balhae surrendered to the Khitan Army and the capital was overrun. The king was captured, but the Crown Prince managed to gather an army of 300 and escape to Goryeo in hopes of gathering strength to avenge the humiliating defeat and downfall of his nation. Dae Gwang-hyeon arrived with his fellow Balhae people during the 1st month of 937, the 17th year of Emperor Taejo's reign.

He had at least one son, Dae Do-su, who later led Goryeo to victory against the Khitan Liao at the Battle of Anyung Fortress. He was also the ancestor of the Hyeopgye and Yeongsun Tae clan, most of whose members currently reside in South Korea.

(from Wikipedia)

 

 

 

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