Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Inspirations: "Woochi the Demon-Slayer"

I'm still very much in a Feng Shui frame of mind. Oddly enough, I think running 4e contributes to it somewhat, which, depending on how much you know of 4e's provenance, may not be all that surprising.  Before he went to work for Wizards, Rob Heinsoo did a fair bit of freelancing on FS, and was a mainstay of the mailing list for years (as was Geoff Grabowski, who went on to design Exalted, another game that has Feng Shui's fingerprints all over it).  Minions?  Feng Shui.  Cool stuff for all the characters to do all the time?  Feng Shui.  Powers acquired via "chains?" Feng Shui. Reality as a secondary consideration to the action at the table?  Totally Feng Shui.

(As an aside, when I met Rob at GenCon this last year, he looked at my name badge and asked where he knew my name from.  Sure enough, the Feng Shui mailing list.  It's where all the cool kids on the internet hung out in the late 90s.)

Anyway, a few months ago, I posted a trailer for Woochi the Demon-Slayer, and noted that it looked like just about the perfect Feng Shui film.  Last night, I actually got to see it, and I have to say my initial assessment was pretty damned close.  The one thing I didn't get from the trailer (but knew from IMDB) is that apart from being a kick-ass action film, it's also a comedy.  This had me a little worried, because first-hand experience with lots of Asian films has taught me that comedy often doesn't make the cross-cultural transition very well.  In the case of "Woochi," there are no worries.  Much of the comedy is of the broad style Jackie Chan employs so well, and the rest is a good deal of fish-out-of-water stuff.

The plot, such as it is, deals with Woochi, a trickster mage from ancient Korea who finds himself initially battling demons in his time period, only to be trapped in a painting for 500 years.  Released into the 21st century by a trio of bumbling Taoist gods, he has to fight them anew amongst the glass and steel of modern day Seoul.  The action is jaw-dropping, and the CGI special effects are quite well done.  If a Feng Shui player or GM can't watch this and get tons of ideas for fight scenes, magical effects, and insane stunts, they're playing the wrong game.


  1. Despite the remarkable pool of animation and CGI talent in Korea (where I make my home), it is a sad fact that a lot of films like this get made and then disappear without much local notice or fanfare.

    I saw the trailer for it and waited for it to be released, but... while I know it played it snuck in and out of theatres with a good measure of stealth.

  2. Man, that sucks. I was momentarily surprised by the quality of the special effects, but then I remembered that Korean animators are pretty much the mainstay of Hollywood now.

    If this is an example of what Korea has to offer the fantasy/martial arts genre, I'm going to have to seek out more videos. I'm quite conversant with HK films and know a bit about Japan's contributions, but this was the first Korean film I've ever seen that fit the bill.