aka 화랑브이삼총사 aka Hwarangbeu-i samchongsa
Written and directed by Kim Yeong-han
With Hwarang-V Trio, we return again to the world of Korean children’s film, a hive of scum and villainy that makes Mos Eisly look like a church choir. Previously, we got stuck on this detail with Super Batman & Mazinger V and Alien Lightning Dragon, and you can expect many more soonter than later. Because if I have to suffer, YOU have to suffer, dear readers! I’m also going to reveal my ignorance in anime robots, so forgive me if I don’t immediately identify popular robots I don’t know anything about if they’ve been ripped off for the cartoon robots in Hwarang-V Trio. Which is highly likely. The main robot is off his animation model so much they might not have even been using the same model.
Hwarang-V Trio features a whole host of enemies each with a ridiculous costume culled from the finest props left over from the dozens of other Korean kiddie films. Or maybe some of these costumes are even new, it’s not like we’d be able to tell the difference, and they’re surely used again in later films.
With that in mind, I’ve dubbed the villainous crew the Evil Circus, because their colorful costumes and presence of an evil Clown lend that thought to mind. I’ve tried to list all of the villains I could, but many just are standing around doing nothing in the background before their untimely death by cartoon robot, so don’t expect much!
Both the Evil Circus and the heroic band of random children suffer from the same affliction – their numbers randomly increase and shrink, often during the same scene. Characters never seen before join up for an important search of fight sequence and then are never spied again. It’s almost as if the filming was as haphazard as the watching. Despite all the confusion, there is a sort of basic plot of a space princess, annoying children, an evil space queen, and giant robots murdering people. This is why you never get involved in space royalty, the body count racks up so high in the sky that you can’t go twice as high as a butterfly. Because you’re dead!
Director and writer Kim Yeong-han was involves in several Korean kiddie films, including directing/writing duties on Robotstar Zanga and it’s sequel, Star Zanga Z Mazinga V Super Betaman – which we know as Super Batman & Mazinger V! Besides him, the cast list is impossible to connect names to faces without some outside help, so unless that help shows up in the comments, everything will remain a mystery…
As usual, there are no subtitles (and at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles!) so everything that happens ranges from conjecture to confusion. But it’s not like things here will make much sense even with pop-up annotation.
Dr. Baeng-deok is a wacky scientist character who I hated from the first second due to the red clown nose he was wearing. Dr. Baeng-deok leads a gaggle of kids (the number is constantly changing, sometimes within scenes, including kids never seen before or since) on adventures as they help him with his inventions. After a psych-out involving a crappy robot (that sadly isn’t a real robot), everyone wanders into the woods with butterfly nets.
In the woods, three of the boys and one of the girls wander into a spooky cave, because whey wouldn’t you go into a spooky cave in the woods? One of the boys stumbles across a Space Alien Lizard Guy! The other three kids find a big room decked out with a giant skull decoration. Princess Lanka is trapped in a tiny crystal prison, and her Green-skinned Guardian lies damaged on the floor. She’s guarded by three alien goons – a Huge Fly Man (nice costume), a Guy In Robes with Weird Skin Color, and an Evil Clown with a lavender wig. They have the boy who ran into Space Alien Lizard Guy captive and are arguing about him.
The other two boys attack, and Princess Lanka uses her magic princess powers to defeat the bad guys (so what does this crystal prison actually do?) The damaged Green Guardian lines up the four kids and zaps them with electrical magic, and then dies. The kids take Princess Lanka to see Dr. Baeng-Deok, because none of the children have parents or guardians or know how to call the cops, apparently.
Hwarang-V Trio becomes more rocking thanks to the newest villain, an Evil Lady with bats on her outfit. She and the goons (including a few new goons) scheme and plot how to regain the princess.
Princess Lanka has telekinetic powers, and so do the kids who were zapped. The fat kid uses his new telekinetic powers to steal a sandwich and ice cream from young children, who cry and cry. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen! Eventually these dumb kids get their act together enough to save an old lady from huge falling rocks, which are polite enough to not fall until the hero kids are ready for them. It’s hard to find good rock help these days, most pet rocks were abandoned and eventually grew up feral and disrespectful, falling on old ladies whenever they wanted.
The boys transform into space cadet outfits and pose for a bit. The girl Ae-ri who was with them also has the telekinetic powers, but isn’t allowed to transform and pose (though she does transform later. Maybe her costume wasn’t back from the shop when they filmed this?) The space cadet boys fly into space (accomplished by a still photo of them above a moving background) So they’re the Hwarang-V Trio, even though there is really four of them.
Princess Lanka is adjusting to life on Earth, but is then kidnapped by the Evil Circus!
The heroes, all the other kids, and Dr. Baeng-Deok search for Lanka, wandering all over the place except for looking in the room in the cave where all this mess started, which is where the Princess is held again. During the search, the most random kids never seen before or since are around. This whole section goes on for far too long and is obviously in to pad the already short runtime. Evil Woman sends Evil Clown and a Strongman to go beat everyone up, but instead they both get beat up by all the children. A shameful circus.
The Evil Circus is joined by their Evil Queen Serius, who dresses like she’s a Disney villain and has a skull staff that is the most realistic skull you ever did see.
Dr. Baeng-Deok builds some new gadgets to help find the Princess, but in doing so cries into a cup. I have a theory that his inventions are powered by tears. In which case, Dr. Baeng-Deok probably has an unlimited power source thanks to everyone complaining about Star Wars prequels!
Finally, everyone goes back to the cave, the four members of the Hwarang-V Trio transform (yep, they let Ae-Ri change this time!) The group (which includes many unpowered children that are being brought into harm’s way) enter the spooky cave and go to the skull room and everyone fights. Unarmed children are surprisingly effective against gorilla men and monsters. Queen Serius blasts her skull staff and everyone runs, escaping with the Princess.
I forgot to mention Dr. Baeng-Deok has the coolest shirt of all time, a Hawaiian type deal with wacky graphics and the word “explosion” all over it. I must track this shirt down…
Everyone is in a small canyon area, and the three Hwarang-V Trio kids fight some of the goons – Wolf Guy, Gorilla Guy, Strongman, and Evil Clown. Of course, they aren’t powerful enough to defeat small children. But just in case, Princess Lanka calls in the cartoon Robot!
Robot begins blasting the bad guys, with the most seamless combination of animation and live-action since Roger Rabbit.
Serius fires her skull wand and blasts the Robot, then calls in her TWO Flying Robots. What is this, Robot nuclear deterrent? The two Flying Robots shoot up Robot a bit, knocking away his sword, then drag him around by a chain. The Flying Robots fly Robot way up into the air and drop him, and he falls to the ground with a crash (despite scenes of him flying earlier!)
The three Hwarang-V Trio kids grab the robot’s decidedly non-animated sword and toss it to Robot, who suddenly is then energized and remembers he can fly. Robot fights the two Flying Robots, kicking their butts after an extended sequence where the entire Hwarang-V Trio theme song plays.
The villains then decide to just mob the children and beat everyone up. This almost works! Special shoutout to the Gorilla Guy doing something that looks very filthy to poor Dr. Baeng-Deok. The children soon literally begin killing the evil goons. A cartoon jet lands (???), transforms into three ugly robots (???!???), and the robots blast and murder all of the evil characters except Queen Serius!
Serius transforms into a disembodied space queen form and tries to blast the robots, but is defeated when one crashes into her and is destroyed, the jewel in her forehead becoming a comet that flies away. Is she dead? defeated? Just going to get more goons and coming back to murder all life on Earth thanks to some dumb kids? Who know.
“Hooray, we killed them all!” the children cheer. Let’s dance and dance and dance for several minutes and make Princess Lanka happy. But she has to go home, so now everyone cries. She leaves in her spaceship, which she probably could have done the whole time, right? And out she goes, like a Poochie. Yep, her home planet needed her. And she probably died on the way there. Or at least went back to Earth again and got captured again by a different group of moron evil idiots. Heck, there are enough of these Korean kiddie flicks, I would not be surprised if huge swaths of ones with unrelated names shared a universe. I do know that Shim Hyung-rae reprised his Wuromae character in many movies outside of the Wuromae series. So who knows what we shall find as I go through this collection.
Rated 2/10 (Spaceship, mask used in Wolf Devil Woman)
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