Japanese butt gets roundly kicked in "Pyongyang Nalpharam," a routine period actioner from North Korea with flashes of interest for Asiaphile auds. Eighth feature by former d.p. Pyo Gwang recalls Hong Kong chopsockies of the '70s, as patriotic Korean martial artists battle attempts by nasty Nipponese to get their mitts on precious Korean martial arts tomes.

Japanese butt gets roundly kicked in “Pyongyang Nalpharam,” a routine period actioner from North Korea with flashes of interest for Asiaphile auds. Eighth feature by former d.p. Pyo Gwang recalls Hong Kong chopsockies of the ’70s, as patriotic Korean martial artists battle attempts by nasty Nipponese to get their mitts on precious Korean martial arts tomes. Local B.O. in August was a reported 6 million admissions, and pic has made a local star of willowy lead Ri Ryeong-hun, 25.

Jeong Taek (Ri) is an expert in Pyongyang Nalpharam, a form of the ancient Taekgyeon martial arts style honed on Mt. Taeseong around ancient Pyongyang. During the Japanese Occupation, roughly 100 years ago, Taek returns home to find his father poisoned by a mysterious woman, Mieko (Yu Hye-gyeong), a Korean-born Japanese, who claims her father was killed by Taek’s dad. Complicated plot, which involves Taek mistaking Mieko for his real childhood sweetheart, So Gyeon (Kim Hye-gyeong), is basically a series of fights, in true genre fashion. Action choreography by Seo Yeong-cheol is adequate, but only one sequence (during a masked entertainment) has real verve. Tech package is standard.

Pyongyang Nalpharam

North Korea

Production

A Korea Film Studio release and production. (International sales: Korea Film Export & Import Corp. Pyongyang, North Korea.) Directed by Pyo Gwang, Maeng Cheol-min. Screenplay, Kim Jong-seok, Jo Se-hyeok.

Crew

Camera (color), Shim Yeong-hak; editor, Kim Hye-gyeong; music, Seong Jong-cheol; art directors, Ri Jong-cheol, Ri Cheok-seok. Reviewed at Pyongyang Film Festival (noncompeting), Sept. 14, 2006. Original title: Pyeongyang nalparam. Running time: 107 MIN.

With

Ri Ryeong-hun, Kim Hye-gyeong, Ri Yun-su, Yu Hye-gyeong, Kim Gweong-yeol, Nam Ryeong-woo, Kim Cheon-yeol, Choi Yeong-chun, Ri Seong-gang.
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