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Guest Daisho2004

Rampant (2018) Korean Period Zombie Movie

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Guest Daisho2004

Ryoo Seung-wan resurrects the dead in ‘Yacha’

News | Upcoming | by Mark Pollard | 2007.10.13

Zombies and martial arts have always seemed like a great match to me. It’s the idea of pitting two diametrically opposed forms of action against one another. In one corner you have an undoubted outnumbered, yet highly skilled martial artist using quick and powerful attacks that are mostly ineffective, save for decapitations with a bladed weapon (or a Billy Chong kick to the head). On the other, you have throngs of lurching undead, shuffling about mindlessly and relentlessly determined to corner their victim, tear limb from limb and devour flesh and brains.

No movie has ever presented this gory scenario quite right, though some have tried in one form or another from Lam Ching-ying’s comic-tinged kung fu battles with hopping corpses in the MR. VAMPIRE films to Milla Jovovich’s slick moves against virus-mutated corpses in the RESIDENT EVIL films. The problem with these and other zombie “action†films is that something always gets in the way of a good old fashioned, last man standing zombie rumble in the tradition of DAWN OF THE DEAD. If it isn’t Taoist magic then it’s guns, bulldozers or genetically modified telekinesis. The RESIDENT EVIL franchise displayed some promise in APOCALYPSE but by the end of EXTINCTION, the ongoing fight had become something more like Katsuhiro Otomo’s world-shattering manga and anime epic AKIRA.

Perhaps the closest anyone has come to date is Ryuhei Kitamura whose 2000 indie feature VERSUS put him on the map. Unlike most Hong Kong action directors of the 1980s, Kitamura understood the Western zombie aesthetic and applied it to Japan’s own yakuza and samurai traditions. Its main weakness was the abysmally low budget, something that has plagued zombie movies until only recently as fresh interest in the undead led to a mainstream international revival.

Now, one of Asia’s most vibrant film industries is taking their first stab at the zombie genre and they’re aiming high. YACHA is a US$10 million period epic from South Korea’s ShowEast that will have an army take on a village overrun with walking dead.

After the downfall of Koguryo in 676 A.D., a stand off between an army set to revive Koguryo and an army out to suppress them (consisting mainly of Tang people) is at large. The Koguryo revivalist army, led by Pyo-woo, escapes the opposition army and arrives at a farming village in a remote forest. They are suddenly attacked by moving corpses - Yachas. The Koguryo soldiers that are done in by the Yachas also turn into one of them. As the brutal attack on humans unfolds, the revivalist army’s great battle against hundreds of Yachas begins.

To bring this ambitious horror actioner to life, the producers recruited CRYING FIST and CITY OF VIOLENCE helmer Ryoo Seung-wan and his long-time partner and Seoul Action School founder Jeong Doo-hong who is choreographing the fight sequences.

The original script set the action at the end of the Unified Silla period during the reign of Queen Jinseong (887-897 A.D.) but the director had other plans. “ changed it to when the joint Silla/Tang forces conquered Koguryo and the borders were all new,†said Ryoo speaking to South Korean media at the end of 2006. “The frontier was chaos. There’s a lot more space for imagination than in the well-tread Jinseong era. I could change it again, but YACHA will definitely be about a frontier where three groups all have their own aims.â€

 

This is the first time that the independent-minded filmmaker has agreed to direct someone else’s movie. “A film company commissioned YACHA. This is a first. Me, a hired director? I'd have never guessed,†said Ryoo. “They gave me one line – ‘warriors fight zombies.’ Nobody could make anything scarier than George Romero’s movies. I agonized over the origin of a zombie. It’s a cannibalistic ghost. A ghost is already frightening, a cannibalistic ghost, more so.â€

 

Ryoo is well known for his adulation of genre film from around the world, much as the poster-filled walls of his office indicate. THE CITY OF VIOLENCE, his previous film which was recently put out on DVD by Dragon Dynasty, is a wall-to-wall homage to his action filmmaking heroes, notably Quentin Tarantino, John Woo and Sam Peckinpah. Martial arts action factors in heavily throughout his influences and body of work and this puts Ryoo in a relatively isolated field in an industry dominated by comedies, horror films and dramas. When asked about how he would approach the action in YACHA, Ryoo cited key world cinema influences that suggest the grim tone of NO BLOOD NO TEARS combined with the dynamism of Hong Kong action that he previously tapped in ARAHAN.

 

"The concept is about ‘fighting to survive,’ similar to THE BLADE or MUSA, a situation where things are in flux. I have to match the elaborate choreography of Yuen Woo-ping or Ching Siu-tung. In SEVEN SWORDS, Toshiro Mifune’s flailing blades don’t evince suffering so much as vexation. I want to represent that hysteria of violence."

 

Audiences will have to wait at least until early 2008 to see Ryoo’s concept in action. It may well be worth it. Taking his past direction into consideration and the growing expertise of the SAS stunt team, as well as considerable backing for a Korean production, YACHA has the potential to deliver some serious martial arts versus zombie may

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Guest will91XingYu

I can't wait for this one sounds awsome! What did people think of City of Violence, i personally loved it but iv seen a lot of hate for it on the internet.

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While unfortunately Ryoo Seung-wan's plans to make a period zombie movie never came to pass, reading the outline for Kim Seong-hoon's latest movie (currently in pre-production) 'Rampant', it sounds like this could be the same concept hopefully coming to life 10 years later - 

http://www.hancinema.net/korean_movie_Rampant.php

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Rampant is an upcoming South Korean zombie movie from Kim Sung-Hoon, starring Jang Dong Gun, as Minister of War, and Hyun Bin as "a Joseon prince who is initially held hostage and returns to Joseon to fight alongside his elder brother, Crown Prince Lee Young in the wake of a deadly zombie uprising".  The title in Korean is Chang-gwol.  The setting is Joseon dynasty Korea (1392 - 1897), but co-existing with China's Qing dynasty (1644 - 1912).   News from - 

http://filmcombatsyndicate.blogspot.com/2017/08/outbreak-hyun-bin-jang-dong-gun-to.html

It follows the announcement earlier this year that Wilson Yip will direct Dragon Gate Zombie Inn, in which the Dragon Inn "becomes ground zero for a zombie invasion".  Is this a new trend for period zombie movies?  

Update:  Rampant started filming on September 1, 2017.  Release date is sometime in 2018.  Cast includes Jang Dong-gun (The Warrior's Way), Hyun Bin (Confidential Assignment), Kim Eui-sung (Train to Busan), Jo Woo-jin (The Fortress), and Jung Man-sik (Asura: The City of Madness).  Kim Ju-hyuk (Confidential Assignment) was originally in the cast, but with his death in a car accident in October 2017, he has been replaced by Kim Tae-woo (The Pirates).  The director is Kim  Sung-hoon (Confidential Assignment).  The Facebook page gets frequent updates, including videos in January '18 -

https://www.facebook.com/Rampant-창궐-Korean-Movie-227736491039426/

Edited by whitesnake

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Lee B. Golden III reviews Rampant here - https://filmcombatsyndicate.com/rampant-review/ 

"A year after working together on Confidential Assignment, actor Hyun-Bin's latest return to the screen proves continually fruitful once more with Kim Seung-Hoon on period action adventure horror, Rampant... Rampant immediately immerses you into its murky Joseon-era milieu with the fiery high seas raid of a merchant ship and a violent attack on one of the raiders...  The big picture, of course, is the mysterious plague that keeps turning villagers into bloodthirsty zombies and find a way to spread the word fast to the palace for reinforcements... There's not much to wage in terms of caution.  As such, Rampant graces amply with an exciting action adventure moviegoers can sink their teeth into.  Hyun-Bin positively shines as the reluctant heir, charming with an air of nonchalance in his demeanor while strong and convicting in his pose when needed, and an ably skilled pugilist to boot... Rampant is a full-fledged, strong and exciting period thriller for its target audience at home and abroad, and wholly worth seeing in theaters or bringing home on Blu-ray." 

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While I did enjoy the movie for the most part I really got annoyed with the drama elements. Why everyone has to die a hero's death is beyond me. Add nationalism and speeches to it and you got a weird mix that at least to me doesn't fit this type of movie. Still I'll give this a recommendation because it's a fairly refreshing idea.

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