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The Huntresses ("Joseonminyeo Samchongsa")

International Premiere
  • South Korea
  • 2014
  • 106 mins
  • DCP
  • Korean
  • English (subtitles)
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“Gloriously silly… Goofy, undemanding fun that knows what it wants to be and commits to it completely” – Elizabeth Kerr, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Don’t let their good looks (or clever disguises) fool you. Plucky Jin-ok, daffy Hong-dan and stern Ga-bi are a trio of daring and dangerous bounty hunters for hire, skilled in hand-to-hand combat and clandestine operations, and equipped with all manner of the latest high technology — high tech by the standards of the 17th century in Joseon-era Korea, that is. The ladies’ somewhat unethical manager, Mu-myeong, has a new gig for them, one that should pay out big time. The police chief himself has hired them to track down and apprehend the elusive Gong Gu, and retrieve a precious artifact in his possession. They aren’t the only ones on his trail, though. The sinister minister Kim has dispatched his ruthless goons as well, to further his treacherous plans to collaborate with the Chinese agents of Qing and undermine the king of Joseon. What’s soon clear is that this assignment is linked to tragic events in Jin-ok’s past, and her childhood sweetheart has become her nemesis. It’s a high-risk, high-stakes game of subterfuge and swordplay, but it’s a game this deceptively pretty threesome is playing to win!

Echoing CHARLIE’S ANGELS, THE THREE MUSKETEERS, Johnnie To’s HEROIC TRIO and even JAMES BOND in its ingenious gadgetry, THE HUNTRESSES is a rousing and fast-paced action-adventure with a dash of romance and a barge-load of slapstick laughs, all going down smack dab in the middle of medieval Korea. It stars Ha Ji-won (HAEUNDAE, THE DUELIST), Gang Ye-won (HELLO GHOST) and Son Ga-in of K-pop girl-group Brown Eyed Girls, all three capably tackling the comic capers and kicking of ass required, backed by a rich supporting cast (Song Sae-Byeok is a delight as the hapless “elite” cop Song, Ga-bi’s understandably apprehensive love interest). Director Park Jae-hyun (GINGKO BED 2, OH! LALA SISTERS) has concocted a visual delight here, with never a dull moment — the movie hustles forward at a breathless clip and is jam-packed with eye-popping design and editing flourishes worthy of Jin-ok’s handy ingenuity, all to a perfectly incongruous funk soundtrack. Hunt down a ticket for this one, because it’s a big, brash bounty of cinematic fun!

— Rupert Bottenberg