Review: Rampant (2019)

Starring Hyun Bin, Jang-Dong-gun, Lee Sun-Bin

Fight Choreography by Si Jung Yoo

Directed by Kim Sung-Hoon

Political intrigue meets swordplay during the Qing dynasty gets a lot more interesting when zombies show up!

The film opens as a group of rebels led by the crown prince are thwarted in their attempt at a coup of the current despot king in the land of Joseon, and in an attempt to save his men the Crown Prince kills himself in front of his father. Little do they know that the foreign traders they were dealing with brought a little disease with them that causes people’s skin to look rather terrible, and giving them a lust for eating other people. And being dead. That one’s important.

While the walking dead are literally shambling closer and closer to the kingdom, the second prince Lee Chung returns home from his overseas adventures when he heard his brother had passed, and has to become the leader the people need him to become in order the stem the tide of the zombie threat that sweeps across the land, even as darker forces within the court threaten everyone’s survival…

Rampant can only be described as a fun movie! Filled with some great swords play moments, and some harrowing zombie attacks, this film scratches just about every itch. It’s not a film full of gore, which may turn off die-hard zombie aficionados, but I’m not one, and I enjoyed this film quite a bit. The actors are all game for all the shenanigans, and Hyun Bin is great as the immature prince, who must toss away the Errol Flynn-attitude to become the leader the people need him to become, and both actor and story really sold this character arc. Jang Dong-gun also rocks it out as the minister of defense Kim Ja-Joon, a snake in the grass who cares nothing for the people, nor does he care about the zombie invasion, only becoming the new King.

The story moves at a brisk pace, and is mostly cohesive. There were a few moments where they break their own established “zombie rules” to serve the plot, but it’s easy to overlook due to the sheer fun of watching zombies take on sword-wielding soldiers with martial arts, and this truly describes this film: sheer fun.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8

Rampant is a great addition to zombie horror: a period martial arts piece where swords and kicks may not save them against the dead, but it’s a great time watching them try!