Although Martial Arts is primarily about self defence and attaining a high degree of physical perfection, in some circles of the arts pupils prefer to argue which technique is the most effective in actual combat. When eight masters of various styles cross paths on a website, they decide to meet up and pit their skills against each other in an effort to prove who is the greatest fighter. Tae kwon do, Kung Fu, Muay Thai and Wu Shu all go head to head in a no holds barred tournament that hopes to settle the arguments once and for all with one prize awaiting the champion - the chance to duel the mysterious and undisputed master known only to the world as Geochilmaru. Will our competitors battle with honour and dignity or will the name of the game be tactics and dirty tricks? There's only one way to find out - watch 'Geochilamaru'!
There's something about films that utilise the internet as their core component that really bugs me. I realise that this is relatively bizarre statement coming from someone who is so involved with the internet on a day to day basis but within movies, it often seems to serve as nothing more than an easy excuse to fill in the gaps. Rarely has their been a more accurate example to corroborate this theory than 'Geochilmaru', a movie that not only attempts to plug the cavernous plot holes with the "internet" excuse but also bases it's entire premise around the concept. Essentially, the film breaks down as nothing more than a group of Martial Artists who meet on the internet and organise a mini tournament. The obvious lack of effort that has been put in to devising this story means that the film is an extremely empty vessel that relies solely on its action to provide the entertainment with no room for even an ounce of original scripting. Alongside this, the acting talent on display is extremely amateur and all concerned are highly unlikely to progress any further in the industry. Its fair to say they do just about enough to convince in their expected roles but the character development and lack of distinguishable personalities means that no one emerges as a face for the future.
Unfortunately for a film that is crying out for awe inspiring action sequences, 'Geochilmaru' also maintains a lightweight attitude towards the fight choreography. In this incident, it can mainly be attributed to the way in which the action is directed and the talent is handled. Most of the fighters who possess the more eye pleasing abilities are dispatched of early on and each of the duels (particularly the latter ones) appear choppy and exceedingly raw. Its disappointing really considering that a lot of the actors clearly know how to fight (from what I hear most of them were chosen because of their martial arts skills) and there are a few moves that impress but the action director chooses to setup the combat on a one hit basis that sees each of the combatants strike and then dance around before taking another calculated hit. Evidently this was intended to add realism to the action but sadly it only succeeds in slowing down the pacing of the scenes and prevents them from ever igniting a significant spark in the viewer. As a slight plus though, the soundtrack within the film does stand out thanks to a memorable main theme and the insertion of various upbeat dance style tracks during the fight sequences that always help to attain the right atmosphere.
How much you enjoy 'Geochilmaru' is entirely dependant on just how desperate you are for fresh blood in the action genre or perhaps just how much alcohol you've had to drink. That might sound harsh because it's not the worst film ever made and could score points as cult entertainment in a cheesy way but for most, it is highly likely to leave a sour taste.