The movie is set in 1375 and revolves around a group of Korean Diplomats travelling to Ming, China to meet the Emperor. One problem – once they arrive they are looked upon as Korean spies and arrested almost instantly before being exiled to the desert!
In the desert their captors transport them before being attacked by a group of Mongolians. The two head diplomats are killed and some of the less experienced men must lead their group. One of these men is a slave named Yeo-sol, whose master dies early in the journey, but is freed before his (the master’s) death.
The Korean men discover that the Mongol group have kidnapped the Emperor’s daughter Princess Buyong (Zhang Ziyi), so they make a plan to rescue her and return her to the Ming rulers as a show of peace (and that they aren’t spies). So the men rescue Princess Buyong and start moving across the desert, being tracked by the Mongolians.
Things start to become tense within the group, and when they reach their destination they discvoer it is empty and very damaged, their tensions escalate. Meanwhile, the Mongolians come closer and closer to take back their captive Princess. Naturally the men must learn to work together and battle off the Mongolians group.
A long movie.
It’s not one of the longest movies around (see Red Cliff if you want to see a long movie!), but it does seem to be long and drawn out at over two and a half hours – at least to me anyway.
Considering the run time and despite the massive success of this film, Musa doesn’t really have a lot happening and seems to get pretty boring at times. But I think this may be more my personal taste and less of a comment on the quality of the movie.
There are a few interesting things happening, but not a lot. The most interesting to me was the character of Yeo-sol who is a former slave. Even after being freed, the other men treat him as a slave and he gets pushed around a bit.
In a bit of a twist, Yeo-sol also appears to be the most talented fighter in the group with tremendous mastery of his spear in battle. When the general in charge and Yeo-sol are about to go at it in a one on one fight I started to finally get a bit excited, just to have the fight cut off by one of the other men.
This movie may appeal to some, but it just didn’t cut it for me in the story department.
The Martial Arts and Action
There’s a decent amount of action in this film, and it’s presented in quite well. The fights are quality, but nothing ground breaking however as I believe the movie’s focus was less on action and more on story (ordinary story).
It shown well and has a good pace with solid movements, but the excitement just wasn’t there. Since I felt no real connection with the characters I feel the fights in the movie just didn’t seem to have the urgency they probably would have to someone more into the story.
The action is spread across the film and is pretty regular, with the most fighting saved for the last hour or so. It demonstrates some decent weapon work and large scale battles with groups fighting other groups – which leads to lots of short shots of each character fighting, jumping around and never really focusing on any one character (with the exception of a few smaller fights).
Overall, it just didn’t tickle my fancy.
On DVD –
Region 1 (US & Canada)
Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
The Warrior [DVD]