Fantastic Fest 2010: WOOCHI Review

Editor, Asia; Hong Kong, China (@Marshy00)
Fantastic Fest 2010: WOOCHI Review
Woochi is an arrogant young hothead who might one day become the world's greatest wizard if he wasn't such a douche bag. More interested in fame than perfecting his talents, he has successfully upset not only his own master but his rival Master Hwadam too. These senior wizards are each in position of half of a magic flute that possesses enormous power and, in the wrong hands, could prove threatening to the general equilibrium of society. A gang of ancient, shapeshifting goblins are also after the pipe and in a turn of events that is best left sketchy Woochi finds himself framed for his master's murder and frozen in time for 500 years, only to be reawakened in present day Seoul to face much the same problems. Accompanied by his trusty dog - who occasionally adopts both human and horse form too - Woochi must track down both pieces of the pipe before either the goblins or the also recently revived Hwadam use it for their own evil gain.

Once it gets going, WOOCHI is a romping fun-packed fantasy adventure that successfully blends comedy and romance with martial arts and impressive special effects. Kang Dong Won is a charismatic, if deliberately self-absorbed lead, Kim Yun Seok is suitably villainous and Lim Su Jeong is gorgeous in a dual role that sadly asks little of her than to scrub up well come the final act. Yu Hae Jin pretty much steals the show, however, as the faithful dog, sticking by his master in the hope Woochi will one day be competent enough to make him a real human, and providing plenty of comic relief along the way.

Where WOOCHI fails, however, is in it's unnecessarily lengthy and exposition-heavy opening. The film's first 45 minutes is a densely packed melée of frankly unnecessary information that not only proves confusing but may deter less committed viewers from sticking with the film and subsequently missing out on the entertainment that eventually follows. These script based issues come as a surprise as writer-director Choi Dong Hoon has proved in the past with films such as THE BIG SWINDLE and THE PRESIDENT'S LAST BANG that tightly written, densely plotted thrillers are something of a forte. The computer generated goblins - who take the form of a variety of large domestic rodents cross-bred with THE DARK CRYSTAL's skekses - are also sadly underused. The result is very much a film of two halves, but has a second half that is good enough to compensate for the head scratching confusion that precedes it. 


  • Dong-hoon Choi
  • Dong-hoon Choi
  • Yun-seok Kim
  • Su-jeong Lim
  • Dong-won Kang
  • Jung-ah Yum
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Dong-hoon ChoiYun-seok KimSu-jeong LimDong-won KangJung-ah YumActionAdventureComedy

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