Kim Ho (Jung Hae-in) has worked with kings who belong to the Jeoson Dynasty. This time he’s working as a lowly prison guard for King Yeongjo (Ryu Tae-joon). Little does Kim Ho know that rebels are planning to attack the prison where he works. That won’t make his job any easier.
The Age of Blood screens during the New York Asian Film Festival this year and it’s not the best. Some shots have poor composition and lighting. That would have helped depict a man trying to taking on dozens of rebels. It also wastes time getting the characters battle ready.
That’s bad enough but what makes it worse is that it doesn’t give Kim Ho’s motivation for fighting for Yeongjo. Jung is interesting enough as an actor, fallible and young enough for scenes when he’s down. But that’s insufficient, as Age of Blood chalks his fighting spirit as simple minded patriotism.
The other thing on the movie’s side is that it makes some of its deaths significant. The rebels kill Kim Ho’s uncle, giving Jung a scene where he acts. Too bad the camera and director Kim Hong-sun’s compositions get in the way of something that could be good.
And fine, there are points that we could give for its interesting fight choreography. Often, one character would have to take in three or more. All of this happening during what looks like natural night lighting. Oh, and there’s something about fighters who wear costumes that are presumable period correct.
There are also moments of gilded beauty but they are few and far between. There are films in the past that show masculine bravado in contrast to a protagonist who is failing upward. But the charm in that can wear thin, especially since there is too much of the former.