The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure Korean Movie Review

I wanted to watch the first installment of The Pirates first before I embarked on what was supposed to be a second adventure but as it turned out, I didn’t have to worry. It was an exciting, entertaining watch all on its own.

Synopsis: A group of bandits led by Woo Moo Chi (Kang Ha Neul) and Kang Seop (Kim Sung Oh) are rescued at sea by the pirate group of Hae Rang (Han Hyo Joo). In return for their rescue, they are forced to serve as deckhands on the ship. They come across a clue to the legendary treasure of the Goryeo Royal family and set off on a big adventure fraught with dangers. Unknown to them, a disgraced general (Kwon Sang Woo) of the Goryeo empire has also embarked on a search for the lost treasure to advance his own ambitions.

I liked that even though this was made up of an ensemble cast, everyone had their fair share of the limelight, even the supporting characters. There were a lot of familiar faces among Hae Rang’s crew from Korean dramas and movies.

Han Hyo Joo and Kang Ha Neul really had great chemistry and led the cast well. Kang Ha Neul, an accomplished dramatic actor, had great comedic timing and Han Hyo Joo had the tough girl power role down pat. Their bickering and one upmanship would pass for any good romcom. Coupled with action, it was really engaging.

As a fan of Lee Kwangsoo of Running Man, it gave a me a kick to see him as a betrayer again reminiscent of his character in the variety show. Kwangsoo is a natural at comedy and I loved hoe each of his scenes caused me to belly laugh. I was a bit disappointed though that the potential of EXO’s Sehun and Chae Soo Bin as the pirate archer and con woman was relegated too much in the background. I have half a mind to campaign for a repeat pairing in a Kdrama or web series.

Approach wise, I very much liked that it was very light and comedic, much like a Korean version of Pirates of the Caribbean. It had its own eccentricities and the characters bounced off on each other flawlessly. They were so much fun to watch. And Kwon Sang Woo as a villain revealed a menacing side to him after starring in countless romantic Korean dramas in the past. Even though he was not a main character in this movie, he made his mark as a fitting adversary. It also speaks a lot about Kang Ha Neul that he was able to match this veteran’s on screen presence and acting chops with each encounter.

I loved the cinematography and the CGI in this movie. The scoring really gave off the feel of an upbeat pirate adventure. And the penguins, oh, poor Kwangsoo!

All in all, there was a lot of swashbuckling action, a great script slapstick and physical comedy that kept viewers interested. Even the boss fights were very creative. Visually, it was impressive. When combined with a great cast, it was epic. So happy that Netflix picked it up. Too bad I wasn’t able to see it on the big screen. It would definitely have delivered a different feeling.