By: Caroline Frost · December 2, 2018
When the Crown Prince dies, his brother Lee Cheong (Hyun Bin) returns to his homecountry... only to find that Joseon is being devastated by a plague of zombies.
My brother and I are very different. He had something to protect. I don't.
I hate zombies. Or, well. I strongly dislike them. They're just so... messy. Gross. Ew. And yet here I've been for a couple months now, eagerly awaiting the release of Rampant, and its subsequent availability with english subs.
And you know what? My gut proved accurate, because I enjoyed the heck out of this. Everything was shot like a painting, it was incredibly beautiful to see, the actors were good, the music was nice, the plot was interesting and layered without getting too complicated, the fight scenes were executed very well, and the ending was well done. Also, Hyun Bin. I haven't seen him in anything since Secret Garden, which I confess I never actually got around to finishing, but boy was it good to see that fine man again. Guess this was a good warm-up for Memories of the Alhambra, huh? (Do not disappoint me, show.)
First things first, as I mentioned earlier, the cinematography in this movie is absolutely stunning. I definitely wasn't expecting that from a zombie movie of all things, but the colors were incredible, and there were so many times where I felt like I was just looking at a painting. Combined with Hyun Bin's gorgeous features, Rampant is a feast for the eyes.
The main character was really loveable, and while I wish there had been time for more character development and backstory, I think they did a good job at conveying his personality. He's sassy and funny in his own, subtle way, and isn't afraid to risk his life for others, but he's not foolish either. Also, his dynamic with his eunuch was extra.
I also appreciated the fact that the plot didn't limit itself to “bad zombies, fight, kill,” but instead managed to weave politics and history through all the supernatural stuff. It made Rampant feel much more wholesome than if it had been a random “kill the zombie” movie.
Finally, while the zombies ended up being nowhere near as scary as they could have been (which suits me just fine), the fight scenes were incredible. They managed to make it all look very fluid, organic, no overdone CGI or anything like that, and it ended up working really well to show just how good the prince is with his sword.
My final thoughts are simple: I wish this had been a drama instead of a movie. The secondary characters deserved development, just like the protagonist, the production quality was excellent, and I would have loved to see more of those characters, spend more time with them, and learn to know them better. But this is a very entertaining movie.
Country: South Korea
Starring: Hyun Bin, Jang Dong-Gun, Lee Sun-Bin, Jo Woo-Jin
Genres: Horror, Sageuk
My grade: ★★★★☆