"Terror and chaos reign in the land of Chungwon. Carmellia Blossoms - the most powerful of the Warring gangs - use this time of unrest to wrestle control of the country from the ailing peoples government, producing counterfeit gold coins to cripple the struggling economy. Within the Camellia Blossoms gang a group known as "Five Dragons" is being trained to kill in martial arts. Two brothers, Danlyong and Muklyong belong to the group but Danlyong, with the aid of his elder brother, escapes. In relation, the group punishes Muklyong, they take control of his mind and body, he will be their "weapon of death"." "Three years on, the innocent townspeople are too afraid to move against the evil Camellia Blossoms. The government has now been overthrown by the most powerful of the gang's martial arts expert, Lord Seobong, and there is no one left to oppose him. In the countryside, smaller gangs continue to flourish, causing death and mayhem in the villages. Honglyung, seeking revenge for her father's murder, sets out with friends to find the only person who can save the country - Red Hawk, but to be victorious, Red Hawk must face and kill Camellia Blossoms most powerful weapon. Red Hawk must kill his brother!"
Director: Sang IL Sim Copyright: Dai Won Animation Co. Ltd, Dai Won Publishing Co. Ltd. Language Format: English Language Running time: 90 mins Certificate: 12 Label: Manga Video Catalogue no: MANV 1197 Price: £13.99 Release Date: 10th November 1997
This being the first paragraph, it's usually where I write a little background to the release, and try to give a brief synopsis - without spoilers - of the plot. However, in this case the review tape was merely an excerpt clip of 5mins 30sec of fight sequence, so that makes the job a lot more difficult. It's rather like someone showing you one goal, and then asking what you thought of the match.
Furthermore, I've been able to find out nothing else about Red Hawk. I'm told that it was animated in Korea, although the look is very Japanese. From the clip it seems to be a period "sword-epic" story, but the clip gave very little away about the three principal characters involved (except that the eponymous Hawk is presumably the good guy), or their motivations.
The dub in this clip varied from acceptable to risible, and there's quite a bit of unintended mirth to be had from some of the excesses here.
As fight scenes go, this one seems pretty reasonable. It's quite well animated and choreographed, although the slow motion posturing brought back memories of Fist of the North Star - definitely not a pleasant experience. The problem is, is the fight the climax to a well plotted and characterised story, or is it merely one more in an hour and a half of similar scenes, with little or no connecting story? I've absolutely no idea - caveat emptor. [Neil Morris]