Saulabi (2001)

November 17, 2003 • Film, Reviews

[dir: Moon Jong-Geum; writer: Hwan-kyeong Lee]

Cast: Choi Jae-Seong, Enoki Takaaki, Lee Sang-Hun, Umemiya Masako

Running Time: 99 mins.

Plot: The term ‘Saulabi’ is the genuine Korean word dated from the age of Three Kingdoms (4C through mid-7C) which means a warrior or fighter. ‘Saul’ means fighting or a war, and ‘Abi’ refers to a father, a man, or a godfather. The film SAULABI is made based on this origin.


The Saulabi, a feudal Korean warrior caste, is pitted against the Japanese samurai in this staid, boring, and horrendously long film. While the film is full of fight scenes, none of them really take off and prove to be at all interesting. While the film has a potent romance between a Korean Saulabi and a lady of the Japanese occupational court, it doesn’t catch fire. While the production design embraces period detail, the film’s visuals end up looking impoverished. Worst of all is the cinematography, which is just removed enough to be not entirely distanced from the action and not entirely close to it. The result looks especially amateurish next to the recent Musa and almost all other major Korean productions.

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