6/10
Better than expected
23 April 2016
After reading the critiques, I had rather low expectations for this movie. I only gave it a chance because I'm a huge fan of South Korean cinema in general and movies set in the Joseon dynasty in particular. I'm also a bit of an admirer of Kpop diva Son Ga-In, so I had to watch this film for her appearance alone. As it turned out, Ga-In's acting performance, albeit far from being Oscar-worthy, was surprisingly passable, and the same can be said about the movie as a whole.

The somewhat flimsy plot has some lengths in the middle part, but picks up towards the end and delivers a satisfying, action-packed resolution. The alternation of slapstick comedy, drama and romance that some critics lamented isn't all that jarring, and it's not exactly unusual for Korean movies either. Think of "The Good, the Bad, the Weird", or take the psycho-sci-fi-dramedy "Save the Green Planet" if you want an extreme example.

Granted, the dramatic parts were a little soap opera-esque, and I could have done with less repetition of the tragic childhood flashbacks. But other than that, the movie delivered perfectly watchable popcorn cinema with surprisingly good sets and effects, passable acting and acceptable fight choreographies. Ga-In's and Ye-Won's bickering even made me smile a couple of times, and the romance between the resolute Ga-Bi (Ga-In) and a hapless comic relief character was both goofy and sweet.

PS: Another reviewer described the female lead roles as sexist and stereotypical. I happen to feel the exact opposite way, since I've come to detest the ubiquitous "strong female character" trope. Hollywood's emotionally stunted, male-coded action heroines glorify traditionally male character traits and only deepen the stereotype that equates femininity with passivity and emotion with weakness. The three leads in Huntresses are anything but weak and submissive, and yet they're still young women who don't hide their feminine side (or their dorky side, for that matter). This is a refreshing change in my opinion, as is the lack of flimsy and revealing combat outfits.
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