아라한 장풍 대작전 (South Korea, 2004)
114 minutes, 35mm, in Korean with English subtitles
Directed by: Ryoo Seung-Wan
Starring: Ryoo Seung-Beom, Yoon So-Yi, Ahn Sung-Ki
Actor Ryoo Seung-Beom in attendance.

A modern day version of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, this Korean action comedy jettisons the earnest self-importance of CTHD in favor of sending up the dusty cliches of the martial arts movie. Yu Sang-Hwan (played by Ryoo Seung-Beom, the director’s brother and this year’s Actor in Focus) is a nerdy, pencil-necked cop who spends all day giving tickets and whining about how he wants to do more in life. Meanwhile, on the other side of Seoul, the Seven Masters, led by Ja-Un (Korean film icon, Ahn Sung-Ki from Nowhere to Hide and a million other movies), sit around whining about the state of the world and how the flow of universal chi has become impure and corrupt. When a palm blast from Ja-Un’s daughter goes awry, Yu and the Seven Masters cross paths and they offer to train him to reach his full martial arts potential. Wouldn’t you know it — at almost that exact same moment, the ultimate evil is unearthed by a construction crew on the other side of town. What happens next is a proto-superhero movie that moves faster than Spider-man, hits harder than Batman, and wears a better outfit than Green Lantern. It’s wu xia madness with flying swordsmen blasting through highways, and unstoppable wall-busting, skyscraper demolishing, high-flying martial arts action.

We showed it back in 2005 and audiences ate it up, but for some reason it didn’t catch on at the Korean box office. That’s too bad, so we’re giving you a second chance to taste the wu xia rainbow. Anchoring all of ARAHAN’s talk about Palm Blasts, Dragon Chi and tao disciples in the banal urban reality of modern day Seoul, ARAHAN wrings maximum comedy and action mileage out of its kung-fu concepts. A big-budget, crowd-pleasing flick, it pits gormless dorks against pitiless killers in an unstoppable avalanche of action setpieces. Forget about what Hollywood’s offering you this season – almost 10 years later, ARAHAN is still the summer blockbuster to beat.

Sunday June 30, 3:45PM Walter Reade Theater Buy Tickets

Part of Korean Actor in Focus: Ryoo Seung-Beom