Better late than never! Woochi was actually the first full length feature film I saw for HIFF, but I haven’t written about it until now. Shame on me, since it was such a great film.
From the description about vanquishing goblins and magic flutes, I thought it would be a cool little Asian fantasy film. It was so much more because at some point during the production of this film, someone left the “Humor” valve on maximum. The jokes and funnies blindsided me, as I was expecting a serious fantasy film. It was like being tackled by a bunch of hilarious comedians who tell you jokes nonstop for the length of the movie. I’m glad I didn’t buy any soda because most of it would’ve been shot through my nose.
Woochi is about a wizard, also named Woochi (coincidence? I think not), who is on a quest to become the most powerful wizard in the world by finding a mirror and a knife. He’s not your average wizard, like say, Gandalf or that one Potter guy. He’s egotistical, arrogant, immature, and uses his magic to play tricks on people and get his way. As far as wizards go, he seems to be fairly powerful: he can summon illusions, control the minds of people, control the elements, and jump through gateways and portals…at least, until he runs out of Talismans. You see, Woochi is a wizard in the loosest sense of the word: he doesn’t do magic out of his spirit, per say, but rather relies on magical talismans to cast his spells. Without the talismans he is just a normal, overconfident person. With the Talismans he is a demon slayer extraordinaire and master of the elements. Woochi hopes that with the magical items he seeks, he can become an uberwizard.
The real wizards out there don’t need no stinkin’ talismans to do magic and regard Woochi as a troublemaker: a nuisance. He gets in their hair when there are more important things to do, like banishing these goblin demon things that roam the land disguised as real people. There’s one wizard who, with the help of his entourage of three incompetent demigods, has made a name for himself as an expert goblin hunter. He has also given himself the quest of acquiring and safeguarding a magic flute which can summon demons or something really cool like that.
The wizard turns out to be a goblin in disguise, and he kills Woochi’s master in an attempt to get both pieces of the flute and pins the blame for the murder on Woochi. The mislead gods banish him and his friend into a painting for 500 years, but Woochi manages to grab half the flute before being ensnared, denying the goblin/wizard his goal of being demon overlord.
500 years into the future, Woochi is summoned out of his prison by the demigods on the condition he destroy the goblins, or be banished forever.
This is when the movie got really interesting because I hadn’t expected the sudden change in setting. Of course, had I read the description carefully I would’ve seen it coming, but it was a nice surprise nonetheless. I’m not going to spoil the rest of the movie, but know this: Woochi has his goals, the demigods have theirs, and the goblin wizard has his. The goals don’t mesh quite well with each other, and leads to conflict in the form of PHYSICAL ALTERCATIONS AND BEATDOWNS. A formula for a great movie!
The fighting is really enjoyable to watch because the movie doesn’t take itself seriously. The combat isn’t realistic, but it works because it is a fantasy film with magic and goblins. Woochi uses his talismans against the goblins in sometimes over-the-top and ridiculous ways. He doesn’t just even the odds: he completely stacks them in his favor! He then arrogantly proceeds to dish out some pain on goblins. You strongly suspect he’s going to win when he does that, so you just enjoy the fighting and get giddy at seeing HOW he is going to win.
Plenty of the film’s enjoyment comes from the tear-producing humor. I know at one point my side and eyes hurt because of all the laughing I had done. It isn’t hard to see why the movie is funny: all of the main characters manage to have at least one sidekick available at all times for comedy routines. Woochi has his horsedoghuman assistant, the goblinwizard has the three bumbling demigods, and even Woochi’s significant other (spoiler ale…too late.) has a comical old guardian. This means that whenever there is a lull in the action, someone is going to do or say something funny. Heck, even during the action they manage to crack jokes! The best part about the humor is that it doesn’t get old. Even reused jokes are funny, which is a good sign for a film.
Woochi’s strongest points are in its humor, which is prevalent in every aspect of the film, even during its action sequences. When watching this movie you will laugh so much you will cry. Hilarious dialog, slapstick humor, and situational comedy makes this a fun film to watch. Having an interesting and comprehensible plot was just the icing on the cake and rounds out the film into a must see fantasy comedy. Woochi is a hilarious adventure that manages to blend action, comedy and fantasy into one startlingly good package. You will not regret watching this film.