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(Moo-rim-yeo-dae-saeng) (Korea)

  Publicity Stills of
"My Mighty Princess"
(Courtesy of Encore Films)

In Korea with English & Chinese Subtitles
Genre: Comedy/Romance
Director: Kwak Jae Yong
Cast: Shin Mina, On Ju Wan, Yu Gun, Im Ye-jin, Choi Jae-seong
RunTime: 1 hr 58 mins
Released By: Encore Films & GV
Rating: PG
Official Website: www.encorefilms.com/mightyprincess

Opening Day: 18 September 2008


Sohwi seems like a normal college girl but she is actually the only descendant of a prestigious martial arts family. Her martial arts skills are unsurpassed but she decides to give up martial arts after she falls head over heels in love with Junmo, the charismatic captain of ice hockey team. Her father enlists the help of her childhood friend, Ilyeong, to persuade her to continue with martial arts.
Meanwhile, the evil Heukbong attempts to conquer the martial arts world by killing one master after another. Sohwi's father has a showdown with Heukbong but the battle leaves him fatally injured. On the brink of her father's death, Sohwi decides to revenge her father's death. Can our mighty princess win the evil Heukbong?

Movie Review:

There are many moments in this latest Kwak Jae-Young comedy that I couldn’t help but burst out laughing. There are also several other moments where all I could do is stare at the screen in incredulity.

Yes, My Mighty Princess feels like two different movies in one. And indeed, duality is very much part of its premise- its lead character, Kang Sohwi, may seem like a normal college girl on the surface but she is in fact the descendant of a martial arts family.

Yet again, therefore, the prolific director of "My Sassy Girl" returns with a premise that fits squarely with his tried and tested formula of comedy. Like his other movies "Windstruck" or the very recent "Cyborg She" (which graced our local screens just a month ago), Kwak’s recipe for hilarity lies in subverting traditional female gender stereotypes. Here, on multiple occasions, the indomitable Sohwi rescues the handsome captain of the male ice hockey team whom she has a schoolgirl-like crush on.

Kwak is then to Korean comedy what Judd Apatow is to American comedy. Both directors have created a particular comedic style that has been proven immensely popular with audiences. And My Mighty Princess is proof of a seasoned comedy veteran at work.

Sohwi’s determination to get the guy of her dreams, Junmo, is milked for great laughs. Ditto the back and forth between Sohwi and her childhood friend, Ilyeong, whom her father enlists to convince Sohwi to continue the illustrious heritage of her family. And our first acquaintance with the other three martial arts masters of the clan that Sohwi’s father belongs to is a priceless scene in the movie, the result of a perfect blend of action and comedy.

But Kwak likes to inject melodrama into his comedies for added emotional resonance and My Mighty Princess is no exception. Unfortunately, his attempt at fleshing out the back stories of the pugilistic world which Sohwi and Ilyeong’s fates are intertwined with are at best unnecessary, at worst needlessly convoluted.
While the first half of the movie makes for brisk comedy, the pace of the latter half slows down considerably due to much drama and histrionics. The culmination of which is the climactic battle between Sohwi and her foe, shot beautifully in an open field of flowers, ultimately bogged down by Kwak’s overly liberal use of slow-mo shots which borders on poeticism.

Luckily Kwak’s deft touch as casting is once again spot on, because it is the actors that carry the movie through from start to end. Like Jun Ji-hyun in "My Sassy Girl", Sin Min-ah not just inhabits the role, but also defines her character Sohwi in the movie. She proves not only capable of working her naturally expressive face for great comedic effect, but also overcoming the script’s clichés to portray convincingly the tragic elements of her character’s past.

Credit too goes to On Joo-wan (as Ilyeong) and Yoo Geon (as Jun-mo) who hold their own against Sin min-ah’s Sohwi. Both actors are also great eye candy for the girls, and one particular scene, where Ilyeong strips down to his knickers, will leave many swooning (at least I know my friend next to me in the audience did).

Two years was how long it took Kwak to film this movie, his bold attempt by adding martial arts to his otherwise familiar blend of comedy. The result of which leaves My Mighty Princess a tad uneven, the dramatic pathos of Sohwi and Ilyeong in the pugilistic world not sitting too well with the many inspired moments of hilarity between them in the real world. Nevertheless, it is Kwak’s deft hand at comedy, and his actors’ great comedic timing, that make this a mightily entertaining affair.

Movie Rating:

(Despite its flaws, this Princess is Mightily entertaining, and certainly deserving of a royal welcome)

Review by Gabriel Chong


. Cyborg She (2007)

. 2 Faces Of My Girlfriend (2007)

. I'm A Cyborg But That's OK (2007)

. Seducing Mr Perfect (2007)

. My Wife Is A Gangster 3 (2006)

. Bewitching Attraction (2006)

. The Art of Seduction (2006)

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