Pirates: The King’s Seal (Hae-jeok: Ba-da-ro gan san-jeok) (Blu-ray) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Adventure
Director: Seok-hoon Lee
Distributor: Splendid Film
Duration: 130 minutes

Pirates: The King’s Seal (Hae-jeok: Ba-da-ro gan san-jeok) (Blu-ray) – Movie Review

Site Score
Good: Action scenes, humor, great acting performances, friggin pirates
Bad: Some cgi scenes are underwhelming
User Score
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)

Pirates, these deadly ‘sailors’, were considered antique until Johnny Depp made these obsolete warriors popular once again. Funny antics were linked to great combat scenes and these scruffy looking rogues also showed a decent amount of compassion and love. It seems that ‘Pirates: The King’s Seal’ is a subtle wink to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but nonetheless they succeeded in making something fun, yet exciting to see. Hoist the sails!


China,  the middle of the 14th century a lot of struggles for power are going on, in order to found new dynasties that are recognized by the grand emperor. One of these new provinces, has earned the right to receive the title of Joseon-dynasty and a royal seal as proof. Sadly, when sailing back to the newly founded Joseon-dynasty, the boat gets attacked by a giant whale, who happens to eat most of the wreckage, including the seal. A disgrace, that would certainly earn the death penalty for the royals who would return to their home country. Luckily they come up with an excuse, that grants them a bit of extra time in order to retrieve the seal.

Seeing the royals were able to blame the pirates for their failure, they force the young female pirate captain Yeo-wol (Ye-jin Son) to capture the whale and bring back the contents. As pirates are normally happy-go-lucky-killing-machines, they normally ignore such orders, but the threat by the formerly convicted officer So-ma (Kyeong-yeong Lee) of killing their families, is a rather convincing one. The hunt is on, albeit a more tedious one than expected. Yeo-wol received her title by overthrowing the previous captain, who did not care for his own men. Her choice of taking command might come back to haunt her.

On the mainland we have the fairly clumsy, but loveable rogue Jang Sa-jung (Nam-gil Kim), who has had a rough life since his battle with So-ma. Once on the same side, now they could not be further apart. Jang Sa-jung has thrown away his military career to become a villain who lives in the mountains, together with some of his old followers. Even though they are not the most successful band of rogues, they are content with how life is currently going. During a failed robbery attempt, that causes them to attack the army, instead of a caravan, they also get involved in the adventure of hunting the mysterious giant whale.


Whilst the plot might sound fairly odd and vague, it becomes clear early in the movie that the story is actually fun and above all interesting and exciting. The overall storyline sets a great base for a fun pirate movie that has a lot more to offer than meets the eye.

Even though the cover and the trailers make it seem as if the movie itself is a very serious movie, this is certainly not the case. Sure, the movie has a lot of serious events and it shows a lot of hardships many of the main characters have to endure, but it also has a lot of comedy value. Certain amusing scenes feel like a subtle wink to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but at times even better. Silly antics lurk around every corner and sometimes the simplicity of the humor is actually what makes the movie lighter and that much more loveable. The humor does not get in the way of the serious topics but it gives you the chance to relax from time to time.

Acting performances feel a bit like a mix from typical Asian movies and also certain characters from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. For example, Nam-gil Kim actually feels like an Asian Johnny Depp at times. He is able to portray Jang Sa-jung in such a fashion that it reminds you of the now legendary captain Jack Sparrow. His clumsiness, determination and overall manliness will steal the show at a lot of key points during the movie. On the other hand you will see that Ye-jin Son puts a firm foot in badass land. She shows us that a female captain should not be underestimated, which gets very clear during the fighting scenes of the movie. Kyeong-yeong Lee is a great villain together with the original captain of the pirate ship. Both give the impression of sternness, as well as an air of a coldblooded killer.


The CGI scenes in the movie call out mixed emotions. You will notice that the animals, as well as certain action scenes are done in a very realistic fashion. There are many details to be found and there’s an overall feel of realism. Other scenes, where high jumps or certain ‘rope swings’ are shown, don’t look nearly as impressing. You will see the computer rendered animation very clearly, thus breaking the original realistic feeling of the movie.

An honorable mention goes to the props and the costumes that were used in the movies. The costumes and the overall grittiness of the characters make it feel as if they truly have a hard life on the open seas.

When it comes to the extras, Splendid Film always succeeds in providing a list of underwhelming features. You will simply find several trailers on the disc and that’s pretty much it.


Pirates: The King’s Seal is one of those amazingly fun movies that, despite their length, keep you entertained from start to finish. Amazing looking props, acting performances, action scenes and the right dose of humor, will form a great mix. Certainly worth the watch and it almost makes us sad that there won’t be any more movies of these loveable thugs.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Pirates: The King's Seal (Hae-jeok: Ba-da-ro gan san-jeok) (Blu-ray) - Movie Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.