Shadowless Sword

Shadowless Sword

Infobox Korean Film
name = Shadowless Sword

caption = "Shadowless Sword" movie poster
writer = Kim Tae-kwan
Sin Joon-hee
starring = Yoon So-Yi
Lee Seo-jin
Shin Hyeon-jun
cameoChoi Ji Woo, Kim Soo Roh
director = Kim Young-jun
producer =
editing =
cinematography = Seo Geun-hee
distributor = CJ Entertainment
released = November 18, 2005
(South Korea)
runtime = 98 mins.
language = Korean
rating =
music =
budget =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
imdb_id = 0488763
hangul = 무영검
hanja = 無影劍
rr = Muyeonggeom
mr = Muyŏnggŏm

"Shadowless Sword" is a 2005 South Korean film. A martial arts epic filmed in China, the film follows the exploits of the last prince of the Balhae Kingdom, who hides his identity in a small village until he is called to battle invaders from Khitan. It was released in North America by New Line Cinema on DVD as "The Legend of the Shadowless Sword".


After the fall of Sanggyeong, the capital of Balhae in 926, Khitan establishes Dongdan Kingdom meaning Eastern Khitan. Dongdan Kingdom dispatches Chucksaldan, a group of the hit squads and sweeps out the royal family in order to prevent a reconstruction of Palhae. Resistants who are composed of the rest of the followers of Palhae leave to find out the family member of the king, who is able to rebuild Balhae.

The movie begins at the quarters of Balhae Crown Prince Dae Soo-Hyun. An eagle passes by and screeches. Soohyun hears this and knows that the Chuk Sal dan is about to hit. His Imperial guards see the walls fly, and two arrows kill of several soldiers. A battle ensues as the Balhae Imperial guard and the CSD fight off. Gun appears and sees that Mae and the CSD soldiers took care of the Imperial guard. Gun and Mae enter the Crown Prince's quarters. Suddenly, the captain of the Imperial guard enters the room to protect the Crown Prince, but is killed by Mae. Gun asks the Crown Prince and gives him one more chance to surrender to the Dongdan, but the Crown Prince refuses. He unsheathes his 'Mooyonggum' (shadowless sword), and charges at Gun, but Gun gets the Crown Prince from below, and the scene ends with rain and thunder. Then, the Crown Prince is shown lying down on a bloody floor with his sword out of his hand. The results of the duel are clearly shown.

The next scene shows a Balhae cavalry messenger enter a fortified base. Then, a meeting is shown with the remainders of the Balhae Military council. They discuss the events of Gun Hwa-Pyung and the Chucksaldan killing off all of the Royal Family. The Prime Minister, and head of the Military Council, reminds them that there is still one last hope: an exiled prince, born by a royal concubine. Prime Minister Lim Sunji sends the young, talented swordswoman, Yeon Soha, to find Prince Jeonghyun and bring him back safely. She discovers him at a bar in a small town and tries to talk him into returning to become Emperor of Balhae. Jeonghyung remembers how he was unfairly exiled and refuses at first. He asks his gang members to take care of the visitor, but he finds her harder to dispose of than he had anticipated. He escapes yet again using a smoke screen, but runs into trouble with his boss, the kingpin of the gang. At the same time, the Chuksaldan comes to assassinate him. The boss is a pure moron and tries to talk the Mae, the second-in-command, into working together, but is killed. A massive fight between the gang and the Chuksaldan results in the victory of the Chuksaldan, obviously. The CSD chases after the prince and his guardian, but lose them. The Prince tries to escape his guardian once again, but is caught with the help of another local gang, whose leader felt emotional towards Soha. They continue on the way and get closer. The Prince stops by at a friend's shop to buy horses, and a sword. The journey continues and the two stop by at a Chinese town at the request of the Prince.

The Prince flees to his friend's house, but discovers that the CSD had found his friend first and made a deal with them. Prince Jeonghyun encounters an elite member of the CSD and defeats him while Soha fights against Mae and ends up winning. The two jump into a canal, but CSD soldiers follow them in and begin another fight. (This scene involves Chinese stars and was pretty cool). Soha defeats all of them, and they escape into an exitway. As they're about to leave, they confront Gun Hwa-Pyung, and Soha fights him for a while until the Prince makes another smokescreen to lead their escape. Soha tends to Jeonghyun's wound on his back, and she sees a scar on his back. She recalls how he went to a battlefield as a young 16-year old to save a village from Khitan pillagers. A flashback occurs and the young prince can be seen running into a village with two of his assistant generals. They fight off and kill many Khitan soldiers, but Jeonghyun gets hit with an axe on his back. He gets back up to fight and kill the soldier. A young girl is seen in the background. Then, as the flashback ends, the prince wakes up from his sleep. He fixes an abandoned cart and starts on the road again with his guardian. Jeonghyun begins to show changes in character when he takes the wheel from Soha and tells her to rest. They stop by at a village so that they could prepare to cross the border between China and Balhae. They change into Khitan outfits so that they would not face any difficulties passing through Khitan villages. As they drive past a village, the Prince watches in horror and anger as Khitan soldiers torture Balhae villagers.

That night, Soha sets up a campfire, while Jeonghyun sits down and is deep in thought. Then he picks up the Soha's muyonggum, and begins maneuvering the sword with astonishing speed and skill. It is during this scene that the Prince's fighting capabilities are revealed to the audience. Soha has her back faced to the prince and hears the sounds of a ki whistling through the air. She turns as the prince finishes his maneuver and is suddenly amazed. The next morning, they arrive at a lake and Jeonghyun catches a fish. Soha and Jeonghyun have a good time, but are interrupted by the CSD. The two flee the pursuing CSD soldiers and end up in a trap where more CSD soldiers are waiting. Soha throws her sword to Jeonghyun while she fights with her bare hands. Jeonghyun defeats all of the soldiers while Soha fights Mae. Soha kills a chief archer, but she is wounded with a poison dart from her encounter with Mae. The two keep walking and finally cross the border into Balhae. They keep walking and find an emergency fire alert. There, they meet General Jo Chun-Soo, who is the foster parent of Soha, and the messenger to escort the prince for the remainder of the trip. Soha faints, and General Jo, who is also a medic, heals her overnight, while Jeonghyun sits outside of the tent to guard.

Meanwhile, Gun's boss punishes Mae by raping her, while Gun watches in anger. The next day, Gun and his master escort troops, but Gun kills his master in revenge, and alerts the Khitan Grand Army to move quickly so that the last member of the Royal family may be captured and eliminated.

General Jo shows the Prince to the shrine and grave of the late Royal concubine, and mother of Prince Jeonghyun. While the Prince is speaking to his mother, an eagle appears in the air, and the prince immediately knows that the CSD is nearby. Soha wakes up and sees the eagle as well. She and General Jo run to the Prince, and encounter Gun. General Jo recognizes Gun and the two talk. General Jo tells Soha to take the prince and run. General Jo and Gun begin to fight, and after a few clashes, they part. General Jo stands there, and Gun faces the old general knowing that he had already won. General Jo compliments Gun, but a few seconds later, he begins to spit out blood and explodes like all of the other people who had been previously killed by Gun.

The scene then switches to Jeonghyun and Soha running. They stop and see the CSD with Mae. The CSD charges at the two, and Jeonghyun runs to fight off all the soldiers, as usual, while Soha and Mae fight off. Jeonghyun quickly kills off the soldiers, and watches Soha defeat Mae with ease. Then, Gun appears out of nowhere and hits Jeonghyun with the hilt of his sword. Gun lands, and Soha runs to Jeonghyun's side. Soha attacks Gun and nearly defeats him, and charges at him for a final strike, but Mae flies in to receive the sword that was meant to kill Gun. Soha's sword stabs into Mae, and pierces Gun slightly. Gun then pulls out the other Shadowless Sword(the one that he stole from the late Crown Prince Soo-hyun), and stabs through Mae and pierces severely into Soha. Soha kicks Gun and Mae away and she stumbles toward Prince Jeonghyun. Jeonghyun catches her fall. Mae gives a surprised and sad look at Gun for the betrayal and she falls dead with her eyes wide open and tears falling.

Jeonghyun sees Gun's sword and recognizes it to be a Shadowless Sword, one that was similar to the one he had given to a little girl before he was exiled. Gun sees Jeonghyun's surprised look, and reminds him that Dae In-Seon had given two of his sons, who were of the same age, a shadowless sword. These swords were identical. Then, Gun reveals that he had killed Crown Prince Soo-Hyun. Jeonghyun and Soha exchange looks at each other, and then Jeonghyun realizes that the young girl at the village, of whom he had saved, had been Soha.

Another flashback occurs of that same little girl begging a 16-year old Jeonghyun to teach her the Balhae Swordsmanship. Then, returning to the present, Jeonghyun picks up Soha's sword, which he had given to her 14 years earlier, and walks up to fight Gun. The two stand and prepare for the duel, and the two swords can be seen shaking with Ki. Then, they charge at each other and their swords lock. Then, as they part, a hyper dimension-like background appears and the two Master swordsmen engage in duel. Then, they lock swords again, and the background returns to normal as the two lock their swords and circle. Then, they depart, and return to their stances.

Gun gives that victorious look at the Prince, as the Prince falls to the ground with his sword plugged into the ground. The camera shows a close-up of the prince, and the left side of his face turns black and a line begins to appear, but disappears shortly. Then, Gun looks surprised and the prince explains that he had mastered the ability to control ki as a child. Then, Gun looks at his hand and begins to explode. As soon as Gun falls down dead, an eagle comes into the sky and circles the area. Prince Jeonghyun walks toward Soha and the two have a deeply emotional conversation until an army appears out of nowhere. This army is the Dongdan Grand Army.

The commander raises his fingers and is about to tell his archers to open-fire, but he looks up and is suddenly hit with an arrow. The Prince and Soha turn around to see an army of orange and black-armored soldiers charge at the Dongdan Grand Army. This new army was the Balhae Remnant army, and the soldiers are seen fighting gallantly. Jeonghyun and Soha look in the sky and see a column of smoke coming from the place where General Jo was supposed to have died at. The scene is turned to the source of the fire, and General Jo can be seen kneeling before the fire for the last time. Then, Soha explains to Jeonghyun where the Balhae Remnant army had come from and that he needed to be ready to lead these soldiers.

Soha falls and the two share last words before Soha dies in Jeonghyun's arms. The battle is over by then, and the Balhae Remnant army is victorious for the moment. Jeonghyun grieves over his dead guardian as all of his soldiers and subjects watch.

Then, a match with a spiral column of smoke is seen, and a bearded man with long tied hair, and special armor is seen sitting on a log. A year has passed and Jeonghyun has become the new Emperor of Balhae. It can be assumed that by this time, the Balhae Remnant has managed to reconquer much of the former territory of Balhae before it fell under Emperor Ae (Dae Inseon). In the next scene, a massive army is walking through the night toward a vast fortress. At the front of this massive army is Emperor Jeonghyun. He stops and gives a speech to the army, and declares that the city shall be called Sanggyeong once more, and the kingdom will be called Balhae.

After giving the speech, the fortress' guards can be seen running around. Apparently, they are fleeing and panicking at the sight of the powerful army of Balhae. Emperor Jeonghyun is seen putting on his helmet, and unsheathing his sword, saying, "ATTACK!" in Korean. Then, as he advances, the camera shifts to one of the flags of Balhae and ends. Then, the ending words tell the audience that the Dongdan Kingdom retreated down to the Liaodong peninsula during 928 AD, and two kingdoms were established on the former Balhae's territory: Later Balhae and Jung-Ahn guk. Later Balhae was most likely the one that Emperor Jeonghyun's successors and descendants ruled over for a brief time. In the middle of the credits, a scene before Jeonghyun gets taken to his place of exile is shown. He talks to young Soha and gives her to General Jo as an adopted daughter. Then it ends.


Daejeonghyun, the last prince of Balhae

When Daesoohyun, the last member of the royal family is killed by ‘Chucksaldan’ Lim Sun-Ji, the minister of Balhae is reminded of one person in a full of mournful atmosphere. Daejeonghyun, the last prince of Balhae who has been forgotten from people’ memory since he was involved in the political strife of the royal family and condemned to exile 14 years ago! Now he is the only hope.

Yeon Soha, the best warrior of Balhae

Yeon Soha with an image of graceful and straight figure is the best woman warrior of Palhae, who always carries a shadowless sword (Mooyounggeom) and shows a excellent skill in swordsmanship. She takes up the task of bringing Daejeonghyun to the camp safely in order to make him a king of Balhae.

Gun Hwa-Pyung

Gun Hwa-Pyung was the son of a Balhae general/official who was executed by Ae of Balhae, who was the last emperor of Balhae. Gun Hwa-Pyung somehow survived the execution and defected to the rising Khitan. He and several other defective Balhae people gathered together to form the Chuk Ssal Dan. He and this organization were under the control of a governor of the Dongdan. Hwa-Pyung vowed revenge on the Balhae Royal Family for destroying he and his father's family name and status. He secretly plotted to kill off all of the royal family members, betray his master, and put himself on the former Balhae throne as emperor of a new kingdom. This plan does not seem to work out for him, as he finds that the last prince of Balhae has some secrets of his own to share.


* [ IMDB Page]

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