Sunday, February 16 2014, 12:19 PM MST
Blu-ray Review: Masquerade
Genre: Drama, History
Street Date: February , 2014
Available On: DVD, Blu-ray
Synopsis: To avoid assassination King Gwang-hae commands his councilor to locate a double. Ha-sun, a lowly comedian, is hired, but not before Gwang-hae is poisoned. While Gwang-hae recovers, Ha-sun, aided by the king’s councilor, assumes the role of king to keep the kingdom from spiraling into chaos and rebellion.
Recommendation: Masquerade (AKA Gwanghae: The Man Who Became King) was a massive hit in its native country of South Korea where it went on to sweep the 49th Grand Bell Awards (the South Korean Oscars). The film stars Lee Byung-hun, who is best known as Storm Shadow from G.I. Joe: Retaliation, as both Gwang-hae and Ha-sun. The dual roles allow Lee to show off his acting prowess and range (which is no surprise for those familiar with previous work in films like I Saw the Devil and The Good, the Bad, the Weird) as he shifts from cruel to affable with ease.
Masquerade is a gorgeous epic with fantastic cinematography, beautiful costumes and a nice mix of drama and action. What is surprising about the film is that it is also able to mix in some lighthearted comedy and romance into the mix without upsetting the balance. This mix of high drama and comedy sets Masquerade apart as something fresh and a bit different (its Korean box office numbers suggest that it also widened the movie’s audience).
Masquerade is highly recommended.
-Ryan Michael Painter