Hansan: Rising Dragon portrays the historical battle of Hansan, which took place five years before The Admiral’s Battle of Myeongnyang. Daimyo Wakisaka Yasuharu comes to the Japanese Naval base in Busan in June 1592, following the naval battle at Sacheon, to take command of the fleet and confront the dangers presented by Joseon Naval Commander Yi Sun-sin. He hears of a new, entirely contained Joseon battleship from desperate survivors and spies. The most recent maritime warfare conflict revealed some serious weaknesses in its design.
Wakisaka joins forces with the rest of the Japanese fleet to assure the Japanese navy’s decisive triumph in their effort to capture Joseon and, from there, Ming China. The rest of the tale revolves around the battle of Hansan and what happens to Admiral Yi Sun-sin.
In The Admiral, Park Hae-il takes Admiral Yi Sun-baton sin’s from Choi Min-Sik (2014). He is completely serene and dignified as the extremely brilliant strategist that the whole East Asian region dreads. However, compared to the previous movies in the trilogy, the film doesn’t allow him much to do for his acting caliber.
Hansan: Rising Dragon is the second film of the Kim Han-Trilogy, min’s Kim’s directed by him and written by him and Yun Hong-gi. Admiral Yi Sun-sin, possibly the most productive Naval Commander of the Joseon dynasty, leads the naval battles in the film, which also serves as a prelude to the 2014 film The Admiral: Roaring Currents. Hansan: Rising Dragon is based on the real battle of Hansan, which occurred five years before the events of The Admiral.
Hansan: Rising Dragon opens with Japanese Naval Commander Wakisaka Yasuharu gaining command of Japan’s naval station in Busan and planning a conflict with the Navy of the Joseon Kingdom. His ultimate goal is to kill Admiral Yi Sun-sin, who has become a fearsome figure for the Japanese Army due to his strategic acumen. Wakisaka joins the rest of the Japanese fleet to conquer Joseon and, from there, Ming China.
What follows is nearly an hour of planning, plotting, strategizing, and spying on both sides of the fight. On both ends, spies were apprehended, tortured, and murdered.
Unlike The Admiral: Roaring Currents, Hansan: Rising Dragon suffers pace concerns during the drama portion of the film. It may try your patience at times, but the fight sequences in the second hour more than make up for it with an even more well-conceived conclusion.
The film masterfully creates a larger-than-life air of mystique surrounding Joseon’s closed main battleship, the bokkaisen (Japanese word for sea monster). It is elevated and treated like a character, which is why the climactic battle becomes more exciting with the addition of Bokkaisen. The fight sequences in Hansan: Rising Dragon is vividly shown, and the battle methods are frequently reminiscent of John Woo’s Red Cliff (2005).
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Hansan: Rising Dragon would be a thrilling experience for people unfamiliar with Korean history. The size and fight scenes adhere to the notion of ‘larger-than-life cinema’ flawlessly. However, it suffers from poorly developed characters and pace concerns. This is when the picture falls short of John Woo’s Red Cliff. Individually, the performers are great, but they lack the enthusiasm that their predecessors possessed in the last picture.
In short, Hansan: Rising Dragon is a popcorn movie with epic combat sequences and superbly conceived Joseon’s historical naval design. If you’re willing to overlook unnecessary characters and some pacing flaws in the first hour, The Admiral (2014) and Hansan may make for a fun weekend double bill.
Admiral Wakisaka is played by Byun Yo-han. He is a good actor, but he does not instill terror or imperial hatred. This is one of the reasons why Hansan: Rising Dragon falls short of the previous film’s outstanding nemesis, Ryu Seung-ryong. For all of his brilliance, Kim Sung-kyu should have had a more substantial part. The remainder of the cast is underutilized.
Music and Other Divisions
Hansan’s soundtrack and camerawork by Kim Tae-Seong: Rising Dragon is every bit as good as The Admiral: Roaring Currents. The soundtrack explodes in the second hour, and the pre-climactic bokkaisen ascension is magnificent. The lighting and color are excellent. Without a doubt, the theatrical experience would have been superior.