REVIEW: The Huntresses (2014)

Three bounty hunting femme fatales are tasked by a Korean Charlie to track down a royal envoy carrying a sought-after treasure.


By Raymond Arcega
Last updated on

The Huntresses

Original title: 조선미녀 삼총사
Year: 2014
Country: Korea
Language: Korean
Genres: Historical, Comedy, Action
Director: Park Je-Hyun

Take the American film Charlie’s Angels, change the country to Korea and the era to the Joseon Period, then you get The Huntresses.

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This film has a cast to satisfy the cravings of fans looking for eye candy. It stars the ever-popular Ha Ji-won, teaming her up with Gang Ye-won and K-pop band’s Brown Eyed Girls’ Son Ga-in.

The three girls are bounty hunters who are tasked with tracking a royal envoy in possession of a stauroscope, which they must ensure gets back into the hands of the king. They are organized by a guy who might as well be Charlie (Ko Chang-Seok), who sports a beard that looks as real as one an Abraham Lincoln impersonator would wear. He also loves to do the horse dance from “Gangnam Style”, and blend in with Africans in black face.

The film is definitely inspired in some way by Charlie’s Angels. We have three butt-kicking heroines in a male-dominated world. However, it’s also 3 Ninjas in the sense that the main stars were casted at how cute and funny they can make the action scenes look, as opposed to looking genuine. All in all, the film attempts to be cute so that it accommodates a variety of viewers.

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Let’s start with the main characters. Ha Ji-won’s character was written for action fans, as her story is that of a revenge tale. Gang Ye-won’s sassy character was written for the bored housewives, as her character is constantly fighting against not only bad guys, but also Korean marital conventions. Son Ga-in is the cool as ice ass-kicker, but she appeases fans of romantic films by falling in love for a guy for no real reason other than the writers thinking that the film needed some face sucking.

The Huntresses suffers from the cinematic illness of not choosing what genre it wants to be. It wants to be a heroine film, but there are ways to write a girl power story in which the ladies aren’t constantly fighting off against sexual harassment.

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The film also wants to be a revenge and a comedy piece, but there is so much switching between either genre that it’s easy to be taken out of the story and forget what it was about in the first place.

But overall, the best character award goes to Song Sae-Byeok, who plays a royal constable who helps the girls. He’s meant to be comedic relief, and does manage to pull off a few smiles with his deadpan delivery. Plus, he’s the lucky bastard who Ga-in falls in love with.

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The Huntresses is for those situations which you need something fluffy or trashy to put in the background while you do other stuff, like clean the house or organize a shelf. Or trying to find another film with actual focus in its story.

There are as many sub-genres in this film as the moods a woman would go through during that time of the month. There are even Michael Bay explosions as icing on the cake. And, in typical Korean cinema fashion, the story takes a stab at making you cry. Spoiler: you won’t.

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But hey, if that’s your thing, then cool. And, if you love typical heroine conventions which are based on two-dimensional stereotypes, and don’t do much to establish how bad ass heroines could actually be, then this film could be for you.


Watch this film…

…if you enjoy watching girls bicker amongst each other over who gets jewelry, while an awesome revenge story is happening in the next room.


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Raymond Arcega

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