What starts out as a magic-driven wuxia-like, visually close to Blades of Blood, set in the Joseon era in Korea, segues into an unsophisticated popular blockbuster film.
Woochi, an undisciplined, mischievous Taoist wizard, banished inside a scroll by three wise men, is unleashed in modern times to help against an invasion of goblins in a world that has forgotten all magic. Laden with special effects and aerial fights, Woochi is light in the story department, succumbing to the imperative of the plot train a few minutes into the film, like similar films Les Visiteurs (Jean-Marie Poiré, 1993) or Masters of the Universe. (Gary Goddard, 1987). Dong-hun Choi does a great job as director with the thin material he provided himself as the movie’s writer. Yun-seok Kim, the linchpin of the overhyped Korean thriller The Chaser (Hong-jin Na, 2008), is pitch-perfect as the bad guy in a common-denominator comedy blockbuster. Coupled with Secret Reunion, Dong-won Kang confirms he has the charisma and technique to be one of Korea’s superstars of the silver screen.
Taken as mindless entertainment, Woochi could be considered successful. It was a financial success in Korea, with a gross of 43 million won for a budget of 12 million. But, in truth, Woochi was as remarkable to me as a Chris Columbus film.