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Martial arts with a few laughs

Arahan
Genre: Action
Director: Ryoo Seung-wan
Cast: Ryoo Seung-beom, Yun Soy, Ahn Sung-ki, Jung Doohong
Storyline: A bumbling, wellmeaning cop with powerful chi may well be the saviour of mankind from The Master of Absolute Evil.
Bottomline: A lot can happen over a cup of chi.

You've got to love a villain with a tagline such as ``The Master of Absolute Evil" Heug-un (Jung Doo-hong). Especially when you are watching a Korean martial arts flick dubbed in English with Indian accents. Though this does make it more authentic than outlandish American accents for a bunch of palm-blasting, gravity-defying chi-masters from Seoul.

The logistics of an action film such as Arahan do not allow for subtitles and the original Korean version. Because this is a film that shouldn't be restricted to the festival circuit crowd. It's funny, it's silly, it has great action sequences and a rather complicated plot. That's why it's good news you can now catch the Hindi version Dhoom Dhamaka, which is Akrosham in Tamil. Or Kung-Fu Veerulu in Telugu.

Policeman Sang-hwan (played by the director's brother Ryoo Seung-beom) has good intentions but is quite unfortunate while on the beat. Everything changes when a gorgeous young woman, aiming for a purse-snatcher, blasts the sense out of him with her palm. He starts training to become a Maruchi along with the beautiful palm blaster with bad aim Eui-jin (Yun Soy) whom he clearly lusts after.

The film has the mandatory, enjoyable training sequence, the revenge scene where he gets back at the thugs who humiliate him and some great fights with Mr Master of Absolute Evil. And our hero is a goofball, so there are quite a few laughs. Go... discover your chi.

Arahan Glossary Chi: the life force. Palm blast: Using your palms to cause an explosion much like a bomb. Maruchi: The enlightened male master Arachi: The female version of Maruchi.

SUSAN MUTHALALY

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