Posted: 09/26/2011

 

The Sword with No Name

(2009)

by Ruben R. Rosario



Now available on Blu-Ray and DVD from Funimation.


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The Sword with No Name is another foray by Funimation into the world of live action films that is an awesome look into the Joseon Dynasty in 19th Century Korea. The film follows Queen Min, the queen that sought to modernize Korea after marrying King Gojong by force. It is a fictional account of her love affair with Mu-Myeong, which translates to No-Name, is a former christian that vows to protect the queen after he falls in love with her. Korean cinema has been on the rise for the past 10 years and The Sword with No Name is a worthy entry into it’s national cinema.

While the love story between the Mu-Myeong and the queen maybe false, the tale is told so well amongst the back drop of the political turmoil that engulfed Queen Min. As a period piece, The Sword with No Name shines in the production department through it’s use of lavish sets and costume design to give the Joseon Dynasty some real flair. The performances committed to the screen by Soo-Ae’s and Joo-Seung as Queen Min and Mu-Myeong are fantastic and do a great job carrying the film’s romance to the very end. While The Sword with No Name is primarily a romantic mellow drama, it balances great amounts of action, comedy and tragedy so well and captures a period of Korea that is rarely seen here in the U.S..

The Sword with No Name
is presented on Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack that gives a high def and standard options. One the video side, the Blu-Ray has a 1080p AVC encoded HD transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The film on Blu-Ray looks absolutely gorgeous and gives all of the details of the films production and aesthetic some great color saturation. While there are times where the CGI can look a little out of place, especially during the fight scenes, it still looks really great in HD. The video on the DVD is also presented in in the same aspect ratio and looks very good as well.

The audio on the Blu-Ray version of the film has two Dolby TrueHD mixes, a Korean 2.0 mix and the English dubbed 5.1 mix. While the english dub has much more going on in terms of being a wider mix, I found the original Korean language track to be much more immersive. While the voice talent of the English dub isn’t bad, at times the mouth movements don’t match the voice and it can take away from the much more intimate and intense moments of the film. The DVD includes the standard Korean Stereo mix and the English 5.1 Mix.

The extras included on both the Blu-Ray and the DVD are pretty minimal. There’s a behind the scenes look at the making of the film, which is just an assortment of footage being shot and various set ups. Another is an interview with the two main starts speaking about their roles of the film and why they chose to make a film like this. Two trailers for film itself and Funimation’s own list of trailers round out all of the extras for The Sword with No Name. There is one cool little tidbit on Funimation’s end that really made full use of the packaging. On the skip case is an image of Mu-Myeong holding a sword and when you remove the slipcase, there’s an image of Queen Min on the cover that makes for a cool interactive cover.

The Sword with No Name
is a fascinating film, full of grace, action and beauty. It’s a great look into a country’s history that you usually never get to see and does it very well. All of the elements of this production make for a great historical mellow drama that will make one cry at the tragedy, excited at the action and be amazed at the level of detail. Funimation has done right by presenting the film here in the west and makes full use of the BD/DVD combo pack. With all of the elements contained, it’s too easy to recommend The Sword with No Name.

Ruben R. Rosario is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Audio for Visual Media. He works as a freelance location sound mixer, boom operator, sound designer, and writer in his native Chicago. He’s an avid collector of films, comics, and anime.



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