Asian Korean KCC Cultural Centre London Film Festival 2011 Poster Translation

Film: Arrow: The Ultimate Weapon (Choejongbyungki Hwal / 최종병기 활)

Alternative Title: War Of The Arrows [화살표의 전쟁]

Year: 2011

Director (& Writer): Kim Han-Min

Venue: The May Fair, London


Park Hae-il
Moon Chae-Won
Ryoo Seung-Ryong

Running time: 122 minutes

Plus Q & A

Other Info: Special advanced preview

Further Info: Opening Film for LKFF (London Korean Film Festival)

The London Korean Film Festival 2011

The KCC (Korean Cultural Centre), London

LKFF ASIAN KCC Korean London Film Movies Far East Robin Hood West Epic

[Note: It was thought appropriate to abridge Mini Mini’s original review to include various updates, including this film’s recent accolades, festivals, mention of this title (and it’s extras) coming to DVD, as well as any other points on which it was felt required a little tweak]

Film Festivals Include:

2011 (16th) Busan International Film Festival

2011 (6th) The London Korean Film Festival

2012 (14th) Deauville Asian Film Festival

2012 (28th) Imagine: Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival

Film Awards Include:

2011 (48th) Daejong Film Awards

Best Actor (Park Hae-Il)

Best New Actress (Moon Chae-Won)

Best Visual Effects

Best Sound Effects

2011 (31th) Critics Choice Awards

Best Cinematography

Best Technical Achievement

2011 (32nd) Blue Dragon Film Awards

Best Actor (Park Hae-Il)

Best Supporting Actor (Ryoo Seung-Ryong)

Best New Actress (Moon Chae-Won)

Best Technical Award

Audience Choice Award for Most Popular Movie

2011 (19th) Korean Culture Entertainment Awards

Grand Acting Award (Park Hae-Il)

Best Acting Award (Ryoo Seung-Ryong)

Excellent Acting Award (Moon Chae-Won)

And the not-so…

… Excellent Reviewing Award (Mini Mini Movie)…

… Well, it’s represented below.

Yes.  The opening of this virtual envelope begins here:

With my freshly collected Press Pack and goodie bag (including a “War Of The Arrows” t-shirt) at my feet, it was time for me to bow down for director Kim as he took to the stage, to introduce this Korean box-office-smash of a movie.

However, the question to ask myself, if approaching Kim… is “Do I take a bow?” [as in bow & curtsy] or “Do I take a bow?” [as in bow & arrow].

We start with some ‘Slow-mo Beginning’ shots. Seen it all before? Maybe, but not in this style.

There’s a girl, whom due to circumstances occuring with the Manchu and their latest invasion of South Korea, must leave her known life. This is essentially the life she knows with her father. Amongst all these invasions the girl is forced to be almost adopted by her very close relation [played by…]. The conditions under how this happens are painful to the involved characters, albeit feelings and scenes we’ve experienced in other movies. Many of them.

Asian Korean Film Festival Bow Girl Hangul LKFF

Next… A marriage proposal. But whom to whom? Well, either way, a very familiar and tried & tested situation is upon us. Indeed, the father of the girl insists that she will NOT marry the proposee… Unless… Wait for it… Mr Right meets certain demands. What would these be? Well, in a film based around wars and fighting surely it would be by some kind of duel.

Mini mini was sitting there thinking why such demands, and therefore duels have to ensue to allow any loving relationship to start? Is it to prove that one is a real man? A protector? I mean, we’ve seen this so many times in films, even if it is true of it’s time or era.

But, just when the predictable was appearing before my eyes in the obligatory fight scene, a shocking or even sickening change of events occurred. This was indeed unpredictable. But… my lips are sealed – perhaps it would have been better if one of these two fighter’s lips had also remained closed… That’s all I’m saying.

“Why is there all this war?” I hear you (war)cry. Well, as I mentioned before, essentially it’s an overall battle against the Manchu. And, you know what? I found it ironic that what with this being about battles within South Korea and against the Manchu & having seen another seminal Korean war-related film recently, that two familiar words should resound with me, as they are shouted at one point in the movie. “Freedom”; “Hurrah” we hear. Ironic? Yes, because the seminal film celebrating the Korean war (albeit against the Japanese not the Chinese Manchu) was recently viewed by yours truly. That film? “Hurrah! For Freedom”… of course [Review up soon].

Korean Film Box Office Japanese Asian LKFF KCC Terracotta Third Window Premiere Film

Throw in a tiger and you have all the markings of a modern made, historical epic. This is no Gladiator though, and I’m actually happy it’s not. For a start it doesn’t have Ridley Scott’s speedy editing [or Riditing, as I like to call it]. Yes, it has some fast editing but not a great deal and not to Scott’s extreme.

This maybe because it’s not essentially about sword fights or samurai-sword fights. No, this is about the bow and arrow, or as the director later mentioned, the Arrow & Bow.

When the arrow shots, and therefore the majority of mini battles are upon us we witness other kinds of (film) shots. Are these ‘shots’ [literally, either way] made of real arrow firing or special effects? Either way, they look and sound spectacular. In fact, much has been said about it’s great use of sound.

The cinematography should also be gently applauded, as it does shine on the big screen…whether this be in landscapes or even in the characters’ clothing.

Korea Korean South Seoul LKFF London KCC Asian Movie Film Films Movies Pictures

And so what if it a tad veers into Mission Impossible territory near the end, it’s great to see South Korea’s chance to shine, both historically and with such unique weaponry.

Yes, this is not about the fastest gunman in the west but arrowman in the east… And, sure it’s as formulaic as the-no-doubt-to-be-slightly-compared-with “Robin Hood” variations out there, but stylish. It’s a tense movie also, almost all the way through.

Take a Bow, director Kim… that’s Bow, not Bow…. Oh you know what I mean…!

Director Q & A:

Amongst questions covered – the answers to which are perhaps too involved to include also – was ons about the use of sound and another regarding how much of the film was based on ‘true’ events.

Further points were raised about how different this is from Kim’s other films and a good question was brought up about a line in the film, concerning the arrow being ‘not for killing’.

Almost lastly, but hardly least…

For DVD fans in the UK and fanatics of behind the scene detail, I would recommend checking out the extras on the Cine Asia* release.

  • Aiming for the Bullseye: an interview with director, Kim Han-min (Cine Asia Exclusive) [This is really good – pretty much a whole 30 minutes of the director explaining the film… Insightful and delightful.]
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Making of
  • Showcase
  • 2 Trailers – UK Trailer and Original trailer [I prefer the original, incidentally]
  • Audio Commentary by Bey Logan

*Cine Asia is a part of the Showbox Media Group


A Mini Mini (Music) Movie (i.e. Trailer)

Find this ‘Trailer’ and other Mini-er Movies here at:


Penultimately, “Shoot That Poison Arrow”  [well, the  official UK Trailer]:


Lastly… “Arrow: The Ultimate Music Video” (well, Mini Mini was feeling musical and this gives a good feel for the scenes in the film)…: