Kundo : Age of the Rampant


 The late Joseon dynasty was a period of social and economic unrest in Korea, and it was also a time of great tyranny. Due to continuous natural disasters and poor harvests, poverty, hunger and death are rampant. The aristocracy rule the country and, concerned only with their own wealth, they exploit and persecute the poor.  In these turbulent times, a band of fighters named Kundo rise against the authorities. They raid corrupt officials, then share their loot with the vulnerable and impoverished.

This was suppose to be another one of my period pieces I thought was Chinese as opposed to Korean.  Most of these stories were basically emperors taking the peoples money and bandits and samurai  looting from town to town or roaming the countryside as lost warriors.  As I watched this film, I thought I was seeing another Chinese Dynasty's movie.  This period film was a little different than any of these and I enjoyed it very much.  This film started out with a group of Robin hood bandits that had a hideout out of town and stole from the wealthy and gave back to the poor.  These dedicated bandits that followed a strict code were the hero to the locals and downtrodden.  But while this was going on, there was a family of wealthy nobleman that had some internal struggles with their heir to the family fortune.  This young warrior bastard who thought he deserved his place beside his father tried to do everything to get his fathers attention.  But constantly struggled to please him.  From this struggle with his father the son decides to convince a local butcher to kill a young woman under the guise of her sleeping with monks in their community.  He pays him handsomely and tells him its for his family  When he gets to the hut where she is staying, he hesitates and gets caught in the woman hut.  The butcher is ran off but he can not get out of his mind the reason he actually hesitated.  The woman he saw was pregnant.  We realize that the reason the Bastard son wants this woman dead is because the woman is the wife of his slain brother.  Which would make the child the heir to the riches.  After the Bastard son finds that the butcher did not accomplish what he wishes.  He sends out a band of men to kill him.  They fight and the butcher's family is killed in a fire set by the unruly gang.  He survives and seeks his revenge on the Bastard son.    When he is humiliated by the son in direct combat with the Bastard, he is thrown in jail and sentenced to death.  The robin hood bandits which have been watching him throughout this time, comes to his rescue and makes him part of their Kundo.  This is when the real meat of the story begins and when the butcher with the help of the bandits attempt to dethrone these noblemen.   But the Bastard son is ruthless and skilled beyond belief.  The twist and turns begin,

Very good storyline and very entertaining.  All the hero's don't survive and slaughter of the innocents are common throughout this story.  This reality is real and setting out for revenge can never be a solo act.  Very good Korean made film with a Chinese dynasty feel to it.