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.