Korea, 2005: Geochilmaru
Eight strangers from a martial arts website are brought together to challenge the mysterious Geochilmaru, one of the strongest fighters in Korea.
Based on an interesting premise that hits close to home in this internet age, Geochilmaru is a fairly decent ride exploring the basics of martial arts themed movies. Bringing together a variety of styles and personalities, the film is more of a study of martial artists than a narrative story. There is a distinct lack of polish to the production values, with generally poor camera work and lighting. The script and dialogue lack depth, but the actors do what they can with the lines given. Surprisingly, one of the selling points is that the director chose to use pure martial artists instead of seasoned actors for the roles. There isn’t a great deal of dialogue to begin with, but the non-actors still read better in this movie than several other martial arts films I could name with much bigger budgets. This is not to excuse the poor production of the movie, only to say that it did better than I would expect of a project with a low budget, no actors, and a boring script.
Technical issues aside, the film is interesting for its subject matter, with memorable and engaging characters most likely based on the performers themselves. Centered around a popular martial arts website, the fighters are brought together and speak face to face for the first time. Exploring the ideas of online- compared to real-world personas, deceiving appearances, and the motivations for pursuing martial arts, Geochilmaru had a great deal of potential in expanding the genre. However, instead of rising to the challenge and creating something new, the film follows the same tropes of shoddy fight movies that came before it. Speaking out on the inferiority of “combat sports” compared to “true martial arts” and “practitioners over styles,” it’s like looking at an outdated concept film on the subject of codified violence. Culturally, I suppose I’m not really surprised that the Japanese Karate stylist is easily the weakest and most pathetic character in the movie, and that national pride trumps empirical evidence. There are some genuinely fun moments littered throughout, but overall the film is a giant eye-roll for experienced fight fans.
The action scenes themselves have about as much effort put into them as anything else in the movie, but they are held back by a lack of planning and seasoned stunt people. While all the performers are certainly talented in their respective fields, almost none of these transfer well into cinematic fight choreography. The fights are mostly clumsy and slow, relying more on camera tricks to sell impact than strong performances on screen. Like the rest of the film, they started off with a neat concept, but failed to develop it further with the necessary steps and specialists. Geochilmaru can be pretty fun if you have a passing interest in style-on-style match-ups, but for casual viewers this movie is a rental at best.
YouTube - The Showdown (2005) Part 1 of 6
There. It's impossible to find this anywhere online, so don't **** with this video.
Dude, Sirc TOTALLY posted about this movie like a year ago, so he's cool.
Phrost is going to steal this idea and create a secret Bullshido tournament
What are you talking about?
Omega is the only one that can actually fight. Anyone else just swings from his nuts and poke fun at "true martial artists".
yeah, I saw Der's thread, but i'm unable to reply to it. i was surprised that we had startlingly different reactions to the film. not just der, but reviews i'd read online were praising it for the "realistic" fight scenes. anonymous people on the internet i can forgive, because they most likely don't have any real martial arts training, but derauslander should know better. the fights weren't at all well choreographed, and the only sense that they were "raw" was that it was underdeveloped and left a bad taste in my mouth.
i suppose since the film is online for free, people can watch it and form their own opinions. still, with stuff like Old Boy and Fighter in the Wind to compete with, i really have to doubt the eyes of anyone calling the fights from geochilmaru "well choreographed."
He should know better? Really? Your opinion and film studies are so experienced that you are now an authority?
Originally Posted by Conde Koma
The fact you lumped two different types of Fight Choreography together is funny considering Der should know better.
i didn't lump them together as the same style of choreography, i chose both those titles specifically because they are different, are also from Korea, and are much better than the fights from geochilmaru. a lot of people think of fight choreography as a trade-off between flashy/entertaining and realistic/gritty. Fighter in the Wind is on the flashy side, Old Boy is on the gritty. Geochilmaru is neither.
i'm about as much an authority on fight choreography as anyone who's watched piles and piles of fight films. still, if you think my assessment of geochilmaru's fight scenes is inaccurate, i'm open to your counterpoints.