Jung Hae-in is the only line of defense in Conspiracy–Age of Rebellion
When I first saw the promos, I initially thought this film was actually a new blockbuster drama, since the names attached to the project are more familiar in dramaland than in Chungmuro. Director Kim Hong-sun is having a pretty busy fall, with his OCN drama Black currently airing, and the premiere next month of his first film, Conspiracy–Age of Rebellion. The action thriller sageuk features rising star Jung Hae-in (While You Were Sleeping), as well as Kim Ji-hoon (Thief-nom, Thief-nim), Jo Jae-yoon (Mad Dog), and Lee Won-jong (Uncontrollably Fond).
The film is set in the fourth year of King Yeongjo’s reign. This is the king at the center of Joseon’s most tragic father-son relationship, although the execution of his son, Prince Sado, won’t happen for another 35 years or so. King Yeongjo inherited the throne from his half-brother, King Gyeongjong, when factionalism in the court was pretty much at its peak, and as we know from the plethora of dramas and films that depict political conflict in Joseon, it can get pretty bloody.
Conspiracy focuses on one such incident of political strife, a rebellion led by real-life figure Lee In-jwa (Kim Ji-hoon), who allegedly planned the revolt to take revenge for King Gyeongjong’s murder. (Rumors that Yeongjo poisoned his older half-brother in order to ascend to the throne dogged the king for much of his reign.) In historical records, Lee In-jwa’s advance on the capital was cut short by the army, after which he fled, was captured, and executed. In Conspiracy, however, the film presents an alternate version of history, where the rebels make it all the way into the royal palace.
Thankfully for Yeongjo, he has Jung Hae-in, Joseon’s best swordsman, at his side to protect him. Jung Hae-in plays the role of a bodyguard to Yeongjo, and he will singlehandedly go up against Lee In-jwa and a cadre of assassins, with no help from a court infested with traitors. The trailer shows that Jung Hae-in is more than willing to rise to the challenge, vowing to kill every one of the rebels. Though I do hope he gets a little outside help during “the night history left unrecorded,” because just watching the snippets of him constantly fighting by himself is giving me secondhand fatigue on his behalf.
As expected from PD Kim Hong-sun, who also helmed Voice and Liar Game, the film looks super stylish and dark, though the latter might be attributed to the fact that most of the film takes place during one eventful night. The action scenes look pretty spectacular, and baby-faced Jung Hae-in is surprisingly convincing as a skilled warrior, so I’ll be looking forward to watching this when I get the chance. I always love a good, gritty action sageuk.
Conspiracy–Age of Rebellion will release on November 23 in South Korea.