Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Red Hawk: Weapon of Death Anime Review

Red Hawk: Weapon of Death
Manga Entertainment
Movie - 90 mins. - 1 disc
$14.99 (2002)
ISBN 660200411428
English Audio
Director - Jung Yul Hwang/Sangil Shim
Studio - Daiwon

Synopsis: In the land of Chungwon a powerful gang called the Camelia Blossoms is terrorizing the countryside and destroying entire villages of people.  They make counterfeit gold coins  and anyone who refuses to accept their worthless coins meets a cruel fate.  The government is powerless to stop them.  The gang is led by the 5 Dragons Martial Artists with fearsome, almost magical abilities.  Among them are two brothers - the younger brother called Red Hawk and his older brother Muklyong.
Red Hawk is a martial arts badass!
When Red Hawk defects from the gang after refusing to commit inhumane slaughter against innocent villagers the Camelia Blossoms call for his death.  They force Muklyong to drink a potion removing his free will and turning him into a mindless killing machine.  Red Hawk opposes the gang and rescues the helpless when they are in need.  He is a champion of the people.
Honglyong only has eyes for Danlyong, not this other shrimpy guy!
Honglyong dotes over the clumsy, pretty-boy Danlyong when he visits the restaurant where she works.  Danlyong is a big eater!  When her father is killed by the Camelia Blossoms, both Danlyong and Honglyong journey to confront the gang.  Lunyong is a tough, female martial artist with a powerful secret technique.  She confronted the gang years ago and was defeated.  She was rescued from further humiliation by Red Hawk and has been seeking to meet him ever since.  She accompanies Honglyong and Danlyong to confront the gang in hopes of seeing Red Hawk again.
Pretty boy clutz Danlyong
Will the group of friends survive their journey to confront the leader of the Camelia Blossoms - Lord Seobong?  Can Red Hawk defeat the other Dragons Martial Artists and then face his own brother?  It's a battle to the finish with mystical martial arts action!
One of the Camelia Blossoms' thugs
Pros: It's a Korean anime and you don't see too many of these released in the U.S., fairly coherent story
Red Hawk fights!
Cons: Animation is pretty lame, character designs are goofy, final battle could have been better, seemed like a ripoff of Dragonball Z, terrible English dub
Red Hawk's red hawk
Mike Tells It Straight: Some anime (especially the old skool '80s stuff) can be so bad it's actually entertaining.  When I first started watching Red Hawk I was hoping this would be the case, but it stayed bad and got worse by the end.  This movie is a Korean animation set in a feudal era and focused on a martial arts 'superhero'.  He's kind of like Zorro crossed with Ryu/Ken from Street Fighter and Goku from Dragonball Z.

The evil Lord Seobong
I thought the main characters (Danlyong, Honglyong, and Lunyong) were fairly good and had interesting personalities.  Their motivations made sense.  It was amusing seeing the girls try to figure out Red Hawk's identity and his brother Muklyong was a tragic character.  On the other hand the bad guys were totally lame, their lines were made even worse with a bad English dub using too much swearing, and they predictably fell to our hero like paper tigers.  The ending was no surprise and I was completely bored most of the way through this movie.
Red-haired Goku?  No wait, it's just Red Hawk!
Aside from a few good character moments between the two girls and Danlyong there just wasn't much to like about Red Hawk.  It was a terribly mediocre martial arts  movie and Red Hawk morphed into a cheap Goku knockoff at the end.  I'm usually a sucker for 'bad' old anime, but just couldn't get into Red Hawk.  Check out some better Korean anime like My Beautiful Girl, Mari, Wonderful Days (aka Sky Blue), or Yobi, The Five-Tailed Fox.

TO BUY and Recommendations: