Kingdom: Ashin of the North went a little south

For the longest time, both seasons of Kingdom plagued my mind, so I had to watch it three times to move on finally. So when Kingdom: Ashin of the North finally got a release date, my heart cried tears of joy. 

Unlike Kingdom, Kingdom: Ashin of the North is a spin-off movie that focuses on the origins of the flower of the dead and the mysterious character at the end of season two.

Halfway through the movie, I had to watch everything again. Sadly it wasn’t because it was so good that I had to indulge it twice. It was because I still didn’t fully understand what was happening.

The story revolves around Ashin, a young girl who learns about a resurrection flower on cave paintings in the mountains. Despite her father’s warning, she continues looking for this flower to save her ill mother. However, her clan is slaughtered, which starts Ashin’s thirst for revenge.

What I didn’t fully understand was the conflict between the three(?) clans.

When Ashin’s clan is slaughtered, she willingly joins a neighbouring clan, the real perpetrators behind the massacre. I think. There, she masters archery and learns that this clan kept her father alive and kept him prisoner. I think. After her father dies, she kills a few villagers and unleashes the plague.

I don’t even remember exactly why Ashin’s clan was even massacred.

While the beginning scenes focused on the unity of Ashin’s clan, there wasn’t enough focus on Ashin and her family, the characters that mattered. So when Ashin unites with her father, I didn’t really feel anything. But Jun Ji-hyun’s acting was brilliant.

In the final fifteen or twenty minutes of the movie, I finally got what I came here for: The gore and horror of zombie terror that I loved so much in Kingdom. But even that was short-lived, and the intensity wasn’t as good as the series.

However, I love how Ashin looked so badass during this whole fiasco. It was the best part of the entire movie.

The ending was also a little disappointing. I was expecting it to connect to the end of season two in some way, but the ending felt abrupt with Ashin vowing to kill “every living thing in Joseon.”

The bottom line is that I think the movie focused too much on explaining a complex plot with little action. As a result, the plot points that really mattered weren’t expanded enough. The ending had a lot of potential for so many incredible action scenes or plot development, but it’s something we’ll probably never get to see.

Final rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

5 thoughts on “Kingdom: Ashin of the North went a little south

  1. Personally for me, I felt that the movie was pretty straightforward. I’ll try to explain things just as how I remembered it from the movie.


    So the conflict between the three clans is actually just a conflict between the two clans, the people of Joseon and the Jurchen clan. Their conflict mainly stems from the usual military tension between the two powerhouses. Ashin’s tribe is simply just another family branch of the Jurchen clan, except that they side with the Joseon people because of the history between the past King and Ashin’s ancestors.

    As for why Ashin’s clan was massacred, it was because of the incident between some Joseon officials that massacred 15 of the Jurchen’s people. Fearing the backlash of a war with the Jurchen people whilst being under pressure from the Japanese, the kingdom of Joseon pushed the blame to Ashin’s family, saying that they were the ones that had killed the 15 people. So the main force of Jurchen killed off Ashin’s entire family as an act of vengeance, and tortured Ashin’s dad because he was the main figurehead that spread false rumours and directly betrayed the Jurchen people with his lies. Of course, the Joseon people had also purposely accused Ashin’s dad as the mastermind of it all.

    As for the ending, it directly connects with the past seasons of Kingdom. To begin with, this movie was simply a backstory of Ashin to explain her role after seeing her in Season 2’s final episode. Ashin was shown then as this mysterious identity that had chained up and collected a bunch of zombies. We didn’t yet know how exactly she would be a part of the whole story.

    But with the movie, we finally understand who Ashin is and what her role will be in Season 3. I think the purpose of the movie was never an action-packed zombie fest like its two other seasons, but rather a backstory that gave us a clear picture of the identity of the “evil” perpetrator of the revival flower is. So don’t worry, we’ll definitely get to see it all happen in the third installment of the Kingdom series.

    The best part about it all is that with this new information about the true mastermind behind the whole disaster befalling Joseon, we can no longer treat Ashin as the typical vile villain. Because Ashin herself was a victim of Joseon’s horrendously evil deeds. Watching Season 3 address these issues will be a fun watch 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting. I wonder who the three groups of people were when they were facing off the undead tiger then.. I didn’t think the purpose of the story was to be a zombie fest either, but I was expecting more of it or action in general, where it could’ve happened but didn’t.

      Fingers crossed for a season 3.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There were only two groups chasing the undead tiger! The soldiers and the other people that were in rags and with bells were both Joseon units. But among the people in rags were Jurchen soldiers that had infiltrated the tiger hunt.

        The soldiers were the leaders that called for regular people to help with a fake tiger hunt, all in an attempt to appease the Joseon people to make them believe that the tiger had been the culprit of the deaths of 15 of their men.

        So yea, it was just the Joseon people and the Jurchen people chasing the tiger.

        But you’re definitely right that there could’ve been more action! I even think that the overall action in the movie could’ve been better or more carefully thought-out. I personally found it underwhelming as well!

        Liked by 1 person

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