The South Korean action-adventure film ‘The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure‘ filled with pirates and bandits tells the exciting tale of a quest to find the royal treasure. It is now available to watch on Netflix.
The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure takes the audience along the adventurous journey of the crew going to seek a hidden royal treasure, sailing across the vast ocean.
The crew, led by their daring and charismatic captain Hae-Rang (Han Hyo-Joo) and comical yet skilled Moo-Chi (Kang Ha-Neul) set out first to a mountainous island, with cliffs to find the first of multiple clues to the treasure.
They then make their way to a mind-boggling underwater cave that could only be accessed through a current made in the ocean.
Here, they discover a different treasure, but also come face-to-face with an enemy crew with the same purpose. They enter into a scuffle with the enemy crew.
Escaping, they move on to their next step from a clue discovered. This final island is guarded heavily by a blanket of stormy clouds that showers their ship with lightning. They narrowly avoid these deathly blows and make it to the island to claim the final royal treasure.
Once the crew set foot on the island, they prepare to face multiple enemies after the same treasure and the quest to find the hidden treasure itself.
Han Hyo-Joo delivers a good performance as the driven and caring captain Hae-Rang. She embodies the character well and puts forth performances filled with initiative and strength, just as one would expect from a female captain leading a predominantly male crew.
Kang Ha-Neul satisfactorily portrays the quirky and often slow Woo Moo-Chi. He works to show serious facades of his character at times but is mostly overshadowed by the character’s dullness and usage of slapstick humour.
He could not, however, redeem his performance due to the abysmal exaggerated acting demanded by the script.
Lee Kwang-soo remains true to his comedic repertoire in this film. He convincingly plays Mak-Yi, highlighting all of the character’s cowardice. He manages to depict the character growth Mak-Yi goes through at the end of the film, bringing some amount of redemption.
The chemistry between the two protagonists is very convincing and adds a sense of purpose for both the characters.
The artistic direction taken by the film is commendable, with bright, saturated shots setting the adventurous tone.
The film follows a repeated cycle of introducing a storyline and not following through with it. As seen in the scenes where the first treasure is discovered, the marketplace scene and the introduction of the supporting female character, the storyline is confusing and incomplete.
There are unnecessary plotlines portrayed. Multiple fight scenes could have been omitted as they contributed absolutely nothing to the plot. The concept of the whale and penguins being present could have easily been removed, making no changes to the story.
There is heavy use of CGI present, which often looks odd and fake. It is extremely evident and brings a sort of discomfort to the viewer to watch the unnatural CGI.
A confusing wardrobe is provided to the protagonist Hae-Rang, who is seen in European 18th Century attire, which is appropriate when portrayed in Western pirate movies. However, this film is set in the Joseon age of Korea, misses the mark.
The comedic route the directing has taken is questionable, with boring and exaggerated jokes paired with the hyper-expressive acting which one would assume would propel the jokes, but here, just falls flat.
The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure is a confusing amalgamation of multiple movies seen before and their plotlines. It turns into a yawn-fest with its endless fight scenes and irrelevant details followed by lacklustre comedy, making it easily avoidable.
Also Read: Restless (2022) review: Generic yet entertaining action-thriller