The August 30th movie for DramaFever’s Movie night was the 2014 release, The Huntresses (조선미녀 삼총사), starring Ha Ji Won, Kang Ye Won and Brown Eyed Girls’ Son Ga In. On DramaFever’s site, they describe the movie, very aptly, as a a Joseon era Charlie’s Angels. Even that description didn’t prepare me for the disguises, music and comic book action of this film.
If you watch Korean dramas, you know it’s incredibly rare to see a strong female lead. What we’re often given is a choice between feisty and bitch. Only when you watch Korean movies are women given more dynamic backgrounds and abilities. The Huntresses was no exception.
The movies opens with our heroines on the lookout for a criminal. They are, essentially, bounty hunters. They find their man, but two other groups also want to get the bounty. Cornered by both groups, Jin Ok (Ha Ji Won) proceeds to kick ass with…a yo-yo. This scene alone sets you up with how much action will ensue in the next hour and a half.
Back at headquarters, we meet our team: Jin Ok is the leader and the eldest. She’s a daughter of a nobleman. Hong Dan (Kang Ye Won) is a strong-headed housewife and with a lackadaisical husband whose overbearing mother blames Hong Dan for all of his problems. The youngest of the team is Ga Bi (Son Ga In) who the total package of martial arts master, archeress, and swordswoman who seems to find men worthless. Their “Charlie” is Mu Myeong (the forever adorable Go Chang Suk) who has no problem skimming the rewards from the efforts of these women.
The Huntresses job is to find a man who has an item that belongs to the king. Unfortunately, this item is being sought by the villain Kim Ja Heon. A man who is responsible for Jin Ok believing her dad has been dead for over 10 years. As the story unfolds, we learn of the events from that time and a little more about why Jin Ok became a warrior.
Despite being set in the Joseon era, there are a lot of anachronistic props and clothing that could be distracting if you’re a fuddy-duddy. I found them to be amusing only because the acting was so straight-faced. Unfortunately, for a movie released in 2014, it was marred by blackface. I will never understand why Koreans rely so heavily on a racist trope, especially since the blackface in this movie served absolutely zero purpose. Another downside to the movie was the terrible green screen. Between the blackface and the green-screen I had to a check a few times to make sure the movie was released in 2014 and not 1944.
For a mindless, action-packed movie with an okay story, great music and comic book effects, I have give it 4 stars. The blackface, drops it to two stars.