The epic South Korean blockbuster ”The Tiger: An Old Hunter’s Tale” is a mixture of a historical drama and an action-adventure movie. To fully understand this movie, you have to be aware of the fact that the tiger is a symbol associated with Korean people and their resilience to keep their culture, identity and values alive despite the hardships this people has gone through and is still going through today. That’s why the obsession of the Japanese invaders to exterminate the peninsula’s last tiger is related to the fact that if they achieved that goal, it would mean that the resistance of the invaded country would finally be broken. This context also explains why many Koreans despise the Japanese, fear the consequences of the hunt and respect the tiger by calling him the Mountain Lord. Still, some of the Korean characters want to see the tiger dead as well for many different reasons: reputation, revenge and wealth among others.
If the tiger were to die, it should at least die at the hands of a Korean hunter. The movie introduces us to three different groups that end up hunting the legendary tiger: Japanese soldiers, Korean hunters and the lonesome main character. Obviously, this philosophical movie doesn’t only deal with the symbolism related to tigers but also touches profound topics such as dealing with forgiveness, honor and loss as well as family values. The story of the old hunter and the old tiger has a lot of parallels as well. The tiger almost seems human in this movie and one can somehow identify with the majestic beast. Most people will probably end up rooting for the tiger’s survival. In my opinion, it’s quite an achievement from the makers of this film to make us feel this way without making this movie too melodramatic. It also helps that the CGI of the tiger is surprisingly dynamic, majestic and realistic. Despite a lot of screening time for the true feline hero of this tale, the initial first impression never really lets go. In addition to this, the landscapes on and around Mount Jirisan are truly impressive. The calm camera shots that never shake unnecessarily, the rich classical soundtrack and the contrasting lighting techniques add to the atmosphere of the movie. I must also point out the numerous fight scenes between the tiger and his enemies. In contrast to the movie’s overall rather calm pace, these action sequences aren’t only fast and powerful but also quite gory without ever getting gratuitous. They make the tiger’s desperate fight for survival even more realistic in my book. The acting performances are overall quite good. Main actor Choi Min- sik is authentic, entertaining and intense as always and proves once again that he is at least one of the very best contemporary Asian actors. I only thought that the villains of the story could have been a little bit more detailed, diversified and present in this film. The only other issue I have is the movie’s slow-paced storytelling. This film could have been about half an hour shorter and it wouldn’t have taken anything away from the character or story development at all. Patient fans of Korean cinema are already used to the smooth development but those who aren’t familiar with this style might find the movie’s introduction somewhat pointless, overlong or even boring and they might have a point this time. In the end, ”The Tiger: An Old Hunter’s Tale” is an atmospheric, epic and sophisticated film that mixes contemporary action sequences with slightly patriotic historical fiction and philosophical topics that never feel too dry. Fans of Asian cinema will like this release and it’s definitely a welcome change to the hollow superhero movies in our Western world, so you might as well give this movie a fair try.
I had a feeling that I know this story from somewhere else like a deja- vu, but more than that I felt it should have been a ninja story than the knight’s. So when I checked the crew list and I found the Japanese director who made ‘Goemon’. That’s not at all, it was indeed a version of the Japanese classical hit ‘The Loyal 47 Ronin’. Honestly, I haven’t seen that, but have seen the other versions like the Keanu Reeve’s recent ’47 Ronon’ et cetera. It was the story of a group of knights led by Raiden played by Clive Owen. After their master was tricked to death by a corrupted minister in the court of law, everyone thinks the knights would avenge for it. But that does not happen and as the years pass, slowly the hope fades away. And then comes a twist with some good action sequences before the end credits roll up.
It was a great story, but the transforming it from a ninja tale to a knight’s did not give that solid revenge seeking effect. Because the ninja fights are kind of stylish, because the stunt choreography and costumes for ninjas has changed in the present scenario. Whereas the knight’s remained same for the decades, that means it was a very normal like a medieval European sword fight. So you can call it a realistic, yet there’s a filmy thing which lacks in it. That’s fine because the entire film was almost a slow drama. So don’t assume it is a complete action film. In that perspective, it will definitely disappoint a few viewers, but I think it is still worth giving a try. The cast and the production were awesome, but still there’s something is holding back it to the B movies list than an A. And finally, seeing the way it ended, I think there will be another film to follow. 6/10
I have to admit, this movie didn’t really interest me at first. The trailers weren’t really doing anything for me but I decided to go see it based on the star power alone. I mean, Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, and Emma Thompson? That’s some damn fine casting right there. I’m glad I gave this one a chance though, it’s actually a very good little movie. The acting is fantastic and the scenery is downright gorgeous. The film is directed very well by Ken Kwapis who manages to bring a homeliness to the film that I don’t see much of nowadays. Let’s talk about the story a little. Billy Bryson (Robert Redford) is a travel author that hasn’t really written anything in a long time and is in a bit of a rut. He has a wonderful wife (Emma Thompson) and family but he’s getting bored of staying at home and doing the same old thing. He decides to walk the Appalachian trail as a way to learn more about his own country and to get out of the house and have one more adventure. Everyone tells him he needs help so he looks to his friends to accompany him.
A Walk in the Woods
Unfortunately, no one is interested until he gets a call from a man named Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte), an old traveling buddy of his that he fell out of touch with. They decide to take the journey together but neither of them realize just what they are getting themselves into. Man, you really can’t go wrong with this kind of casting. Robert Redford and Nick Nolte are the stars of this film and they both do a fantastic job, no surprise really. Redford’s Bryson is straight and narrow but is looking for some kind of catharsis on the trail that he doesn’t believe he can find anywhere else. Nolte on the other hand is lazy, out of shape, and a womanizer that just wants to stay out of trouble. It’s not exactly a story we haven’t seen before but it’s always fun to see how two complete opposites learn to get along and become the best of friends. These two are just fun to watch and I honestly would have liked to see another half hour of them just talking to one another. Emma Thompson and the others do a great job as well but very little of the movie focuses on them. It’s really all about the relationship between Bryson and Katz. One other thing that I have to mention is how incredibly beautiful this film is at times. I’ve never been on the Appalachian trail but this movie makes me want to go out and see what I can do on it (I’ll get tired after two miles…). The mountains, forests, waterfalls, and even the towns are beautifully shot and I want to go out and see it all with my own eyes. I’ve been in most of these states but I never realized just how wonderful all this country is that is right outside my doorway. If you’re into seeing beautiful vistas and visiting wondrous areas in your films then I definitely recommend this one. There really isn’t a whole lot that I want to give away about the film. It’s nothing out of the ordinary but the directing, acting, and scenery is great and I wholeheartedly enjoyed the film. The resolutions are predictable but the journey is fun and memorable. I recommend everyone give it a shot.