Korean history buffs might have encountered the name Jeon Woo-Chi at least once. During King Jungjong's reign (early to mid 16th Century), Jeon worked as a bottom-feeder official in one of Hanyang's administrative offices, after which he retired from his post to spend the rest of his days in Songdo (today's Gaeseong, North Korea). Sounds pretty ordinary up to that, doesn't it? Thing is, Jeon gained notoriety in Songdo as a Taoist priest, with legends recounting of his turning boiled rice balls into white butterflies and plenty of other peculiar feats. Sure enough, the stern Neo-Confucian mores of the government couldn't possibly allow this, so he was imprisoned for trying to inveigle people with his black magic, prison where he consumed his last days. What is even more peculiar is that, when they headed to his ad-hoc tomb to exhume his body, his relatives could only find an empty coffin.
This is where Choi Dong-Hoon's fantasy action blockbuster 전우치 (Jeon Woo Chi: The Taoist Wizard)
starts from. The director of 범죄의 재구성 (The Big Swindle)
and 타짜 (Tazza: The High Rollers)
took the concept of this peculiar legend from the mid-Joseon dynasty, and turned it into a modern superhero story, with the titular Jeon Woo-Chi finding himself in the Korea of 2009, but with the same villains, goblins and whatnot to fight with. Kang Dong-Won will star as Jeon Woo-Chi, with a pretty badass supporting cast which includes Im Soo-Jung, Kim Yoon-Seok, Baek Yoon-Shik, Yeom Jung-Ah and Yoo Hae-Jin. Film debuts in theaters this December, but we have the first still, and also a preview coming before this week's end.
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