RED HAWK is only the second Korean animated feature to be officially released in the US, but its colorful, action-packed tale of young super-powered heroes fighting demonic villains in ancient Korea matches its Japanese models in almost every department.
In the land of Chung Won, a corrupt noble, Lord Sibong seeks to destabilize the country and cause Emperor Won Woo to be driven from the throne. Aided by his enuch Liu, Sibong stages a campaign of terror against the countryside led by his henchmen, the Five Dragons. After three years, a mysterious
costumed young man calling himself Red Hawk comes forward to defend powerless villages from Sibong's assassins.
A female martial artist, Yun Yung, investigates a series of murders of craftsmen. She is soon joined by Hon Yong, a maiden whose father is among the victims, and Hon Yong's male friends, Jun Chon and Mon Yon. The group travels to Siman, where they soon come under attack by outlaws working for
Sibong, but are rescued by the timely arrival of Red Hawk. It is revealed to the group that Red Hawk was originally a boy named Dan Yung who was one of the Five Dragons, along with his older brother Muk Yung. Dan Yung objected to the senseless killing and broke with the others, with the help of
Muk Yung, who was then taken by the assassins and transformed by potion into an insane killer.
Hon Yong is abducted and taken to the castle of Lord Sibong. An attempt to free her leads to a series of final confrontations with Red Hawk and Yun Yung fighting the remaining Five Dragons, the eunuch Liu, Lord Sibong himself, and Muk Yung. At the start of the battle, Red Hawk is revealed to be
Jun Chon (Dan Yung's disguise). Dying from a mortal wound inflicted by a reluctant Red Hawk, Muk Young insists that Red Hawk and he keep fighting until Red Hawk finishes him off. After all the foes are vanquished, Red Hawk bids his friends goodbye so he can seek out new enemies.
Produced in 1995, RED HAWK came out on US home video in 1998 following ARMAGEDDON, another Korean animated feature, which was actually produced later, in 1996. RED HAWK (given the subtitle WEAPON OF DEATH for its US release) is the better of the two, with a more cohesive plot and a set of
compelling heroes and villains. The historical settings and costumes are nicely executed. The design scheme is clean, bright, and simple, although the story line is overpacked with detail, in the Japanese tradition. Korea, which boasts a number of animation production companies doing work for
American cartoon series, appears to be developing its own animated body of work that could eventually compete with Japan.
Unfortunately, the scripter for the English-language dubbing decided to fill the mouths of the bad guys with gratuitous modern-day obscenities, thus limiting the audience for a relatively clean adventure that was otherwise quite suitable for younger viewers. (Violence, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1995
- Rating: NR
- Review: RED HAWK is only the second Korean animated feature to be officially released in the US, but its colorful, action-packed tale of young super-powered heroes fighting demonic villains in ancient Korea matches its Japanese models in almost every department.… (more)