Editor, U.S. ; Dallas, Texas (@HatefulJosh)
Woochi The Demon SlayerWoochi The Taoist WizardJeon Woochi.  Of all the titles I've seen used for this South Korean fantasy/superhero film, Woochi The Goofball Asskicker with a Ridiculously Complicated Backstory was an opportunity missed.

This is the story of Woochi, the headstrong, arrogant wizard who, after being trapped in a painting for hundreds of years following some poor decision making, gets summoned back into the world to deal with some demons that are trying to take over the world. 

The film has its problems, that's for sure.  It takes far to long to get going, concentrating the first forty five minutes on exposition, and that still only barely gets the job done.  There are too many characters, and there is far too much backstory to keep this film as light as it should be.  Before we even get to the real action, there are demons, Taoist gods, other wizards, princesses, man-dogs, and all manner of other distractions.  It sort of bogs the story down, but thankfully it does it in a very stylish and glossy way. 

Once the action really starts after Woochi is summoned from his painting prison, the film moves pretty quickly.  The only problem is that all of those complicated characters from the intro are still there, and it becomes a bit difficult to keep every straight.  I don't think I've ever seen a Korean film that wouldn't be better with twenty or so minutes left on the cutting room floor.  Woochi is no different.  There is enough action in this film to make a swiftly paced, engaging ninety minute movie.  I enjoyed it, but I did find myself disconnecting a bit from the characters are just waiting for the next action scene.

Woochi has spectacular special effects that rival The Host in terms of photo realism.  Part of that may be due to the fact that much of the heavy CG work is done during night scenes, which can mask imperfections pretty well.  That is smart planning on the part of the production team.  The down side is that there were a few instances where I saw some issues integrating the CG work into the live action backgrounds, and the characters occasionally seemed to be floating off the screen.  Overall it was great, and those instances were few.  The big action sequences toward the end were great, and the CG was nearly invisible, there was a lot more put into those than I'd have expected, and I was surprised to see how much they added in post.

I know it may sound like I'm lukewarm on the film, but I did really like it.  It just has the same sort of issues that almost every Korean film has, too damned long.  The action sequences are breathtaking, though, and Kang Dong-wan was fun as Woochi.  He brought a lightness to the character that kept the film feeling breezy even as it got a bit bogged down in detail.  I would definitely recommend this film to anyone with a couple of hours to spare.

The Disc

I was sent a DVD screener for Woochi, and I think I may finally be getting spoiled to HD.  With so many scenes set during the night, DVD just doesn't really have the resolving power of Blu-ray, and the picture suffers for it.  The night scenes were a bit noisy, however, I don't think this would be an issue with the Blu-ray edition of the film, releasing simultaneously on April 25th.  Another thing that suffered was the effects work, again, nothing I don't think would be solved on the Blu-ray edition of the film.  Some movies just need to be seen in HD these days, and an effects heavy film like Woochi is one of them.  The sound seems pretty good, the surrounds are used judiciously, and all of the dialogue and effects were clean and clear, no complaints. 

Cine Asia really went all out on the extras for Woochi.  Almost all appear to be ported over from the Korean DVD release, and there are a TON of them, a couple of hours at least.  There is an EPK, many interviews with all of the main actors and people in the production staff, a half dozen featurettes on production, a section of featurettes dealing specifically with the CG work, and TV spots and trailers.  The featurettes are MASSIVE.  If they'd all been edited together, you'd have one serious making of documentary.  They are very informative and fun to watch.  Everyone on the production seems to be having fun.  There must be close to two hours of making-of material in this package.  Really astonishing. The best part is that the feature and the extras are on separate discs, so the feature's video isn't compromised at all.  The last extra is an exclusive commentary from Bey Logan & Mike Leeder, which is entertaining and informative, I'm not much on commentaries, though.

I'd told that the Blu-ray edition will have an additional 60 minute behind-the-scenes featurette.  That blows my mind.  This must be the most comprehensive disc Cine Asia has given us so far.  I like the film, but based on my experience, I'd say definitely grab the Blu-ray if you can, it'll be worth 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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