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2005 Korean Action film, 무영검, Romanized as Mu Yeong Geom (Moo Young Gkeom) “The Shadowless Sword”

One of my all-time favorite action movies is a 2005 Korean Action film, 무영검, Romanized as Mu Yeong Geom (Moo Young Gkeom). It is known as “The Shadowless Sword” in English speaking countries. Mu Yeong Geom is set around the end of the Balhae Kingdom of Northeast China (Khitai (English Cathay) or Manchuria), which extended down to the Northern part of the current Korean peninsula. When Balhae fell, the Northern region went to the Liao Dynasty and the Southern region went to the Kingdom of Goryeo. (Goryeo is derived from one of the three kingdoms of Korea, Goguryeo. The English name “Korea” is a derivative of this name.) What follows is the political foundation for the plot of Mu Yeong Geom.

In the late 9th century, the incompletely unified region of The Three Kingdoms weakened as it became more populous with burglars, outlaws and assassins, which created a highly volatile state leading to civil war and rebellion. In 926, the capital of Balhae fell to Georan (거란). On the territory Georan founded a new country called Dongranguk (동란국), which means ‘Georan of East’. Although defeated by the Khitans, the survivors of Balhae kept struggling fiercely to restore their country.

Mu Yeong Geom is set during the early 10th century, one year after the fall of Balhae. A vindictive Khitan assassin, Kun, has killed off the entire royal lineage of Balhae except for one prince, Jeong-Hyeon. Kun’s antagonist Soha, is the heroine who is an expert swordswoman devoted to finding and protecting the 15-year-exiled prince, and furthermore, returning him safely to rule.

The chase is quite predictable through the cities and countryside. Mu Yeong Geom bemuses with a full complement of creative martial arts, fast sword play, and fantasy akin to that of the movie, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, i.e. a lot of flying and fighting. Action enthusiasts will not be bored. That being stated, there is a hint of romance drama thrown in for character development. Unlike Crouching Tiger, Mu Yeong Geom’s action is oftentimes quite frenetic and so a bit confusing even to most experts. To say, there could have been better use of camera angles, editing and lighting. I am particularly a fan of this movie due to the costumes (no, they’re not pirate costumes!), mild humor, the historical references, and the right amount of sexiness. If you’re a martial arts flick fanatic, then you will not be disappointed.

이 놈이! 거저 먹을 생각이냐?
You rat! That’s too cheap! (hey guy~ do you think to get free?)

부탁이랄 게 뭐 있 나 … 내가 더 고맙지.
That’s no favor… I thank you.



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