Kmovie Recap: A Frozen Flower

***Special guest post by nichan***

In my head (which certainly is no source of authority on anything but, like, how delicious cookies are), I have “Taboo”, “Farewell my Concubine”, and “King and Clown” plopped together in a neat little set. I got “A Frozen Flower” with the idea that it’d fit in with those three. …Not so much, though. After watching it, I’ve decided it’s more like “Lust, Caution”: Good, but… kinda dirty.

But it is really, really good.

Just… Kinda dirty.

Once upon a time in a far away land – or based on a true story if Wikipedia has any basis in reality – there lived a king and his troop of young boys destined to grow up to be members of his personal guard. The king watched over his troop and had a particular favorite who he liked to chill with.

The king even blew off meeting his new wife in order to have a jam session with his favorite boy:

The king has a garage band.

“Freebird! FREEBIRD!!!”

This, um, set a bit of a pattern…

Fast forward I-don’t-know-how-many years (because the subtitles are mostly good, but every now and then – particularly towards the end of the movie – they sort’ve leave a bit to the imagination), and the boy has grown up to be Chief Hong, the right hand man slash best friend of the king. When he’s not doing chief stuff, he’s chillaxin’ in the royal chambers.

"Open up for the choo-choo train!"

Does he make the airplane noises when he’s spoon feeding the king?

"Go file some reports or something!"

The chief, trying to keep the sub-chief in line… and failing, ’cause the sub-chief is slowly starting to sneak his way up the management ladder.

Well, anyway, things are sort of awkward between the king, the queen, and the chief. The queen’s role is to produce an heir, and she’s having a bit of an issue pulling that off since the king’s too preoccupied rockin’ out with the chief to bother touching her.

Singing at the picnic.

Nothing makes a picnic more fun like singing a sad love ballad to your husband, only to have him start getting all sappy and romantic about his bodyguard…

"Hey, lady. I'm right here!"

…who’s standing right behind the both of them.

Suddenly: NINJAS!!!

Airborne ninjas, no less!


Okay… Maybe not ninjas. Maybe something else, but still dudes in head-to-toe outfits who just totally fly over the fence and decide to crash the picnic. Apparently they wanted some potato salad and burgers off the grill; apparently they didn’t get invited ’cause they tend to try to kill everyone while fighting over watermelon.

After a wicked epic fight scene, it turns out that the chief has been hurt, but the king has been hurt worse.

The king has no tact.

Awkwardness: When you’re injured, and your wife is right there, but you decide to cry out to your bodyguard for comfort.

So here’s where the plot finally settles down into a somewhat familiar cookie cutter pattern: the king has to answer up to his in-laws, and they’re getting antsy about the ninja attacks and the lack of an heir. They kick up some dust, and the queen kicks up some dust, and all the pressure is on the king to figure something out.

Well… Something besides touching his wife, that is.

So he does what any completely sane man would do in his situation and tells his best buddy, Chief Hong, to go nail the queen.

"This won't traumatize you at all, dear."

The king kisses his queen before tromping off. This is, seemingly, the first time he’s ever so much as looked her way.

"Good luck figuring out the chick parts, dude."

Then he says, “good luck”, and hands her off to the chief like a relay baton.

"Close your eyes and think of England."

Annnnnnd things are a little tense after that.

So the king’s got it in his head that the queen and the chief will get together three times (why three, I don’t know), she’ll get preggers, and things will go back to normal. He’ll be able to hang out with his boy, the chief won’t be phased at all about having been with the queen, and the queen will go back to doing whatever chick stuff it is that she does.

This, um… isn’t exactly how it goes down, though.

Not a huge surprise here, but the chief discovers that maybe he likes chicks. Maybe he likes them as much as dudes. Maybe he likes them more. The king starts playing mind games with the chief, and the chief finds himself starting to get a smidge dishonest about what he’s doing every night when he’s not with the king.

At least he doesn't snore.

Because, if you haven’t figured it out by now, the king and the chief are a bit of an item.

Meanwhile, though!

Remember how this all started over the in-laws wanting an heir? Well, there’s a bit of a court conspiracy to name an heir, rather than wait for one. The conspirators decide that they have to woo the queen’s brother into signing onto the plan.

And the queen’s brother? He seems to annoy the daylights out of the king:

Nothing better than your drunk brother-in-law chatting your ear off at a family dinner.

“Yo, bro! What’re the haps, my man?”

And where’s the queen and the chief during all of this?

Studying hard in the library.

It’s like she’s the beanstalk, and he’s Jack.

…The library. They’re in the library. Because nothing says “Sexy fun times” like the Dewey Decimal System.

So where are we by this point? There’s a conspiracy to name an heir rather than wait for one to occur, and the queen and the chief are sneaking around behind the king’s back.

And the king? He’s still quite devoted to the chief, thinking that love will conquer all. He even buys him a horse, and decides to wait and see the expression on the chief’s face when he gets it.

"Is this the convertable model?"

Like buying your boyfriend an Aston Martin to reinvigorate your semi-rocky relationship.

This is the cleanest image I could capture from this part.

But the chief never shows because he’s busy participating in a really long smut scene with the queen.

Now… Remember the sub-chief? I mentioned him once, in a caption, way up towards the top. Throughout the course of the movie, he seems to be doing more and more work while the chief seems to be, um, doing a lot of what’s going on in that previous photo, there. He’s still looking to hit the management fast track, so he goes out on a limb and propositions the king.

A romantic dinner.

“I like long walks on the beach.”

The king, however, isn’t just plowing the chief because it’s his hobby. He’s actually genuinely in love with the dude, even if he does, you know, tend to be a little odd about it. (Like setting the guy up with his wife, and then getting all weird about it afterward.)

So the king, annoyed about being propositioned, and even more annoyed about not being able to give a horse to the chief, calls the chief out for a fight. (I think this is how guys renew their bonds, right?) But since this is long ago and far away, they don’t have a fist fight. They have a sword fight. A pretty awesome one, too.

Nothing says "I love you!" like a butt kicking.

“I’ll hit you, you’ll hit me, then we’ll feel better and go screw around, ‘kay?”

We now interrupt this romantic moment with more court intrigue! It seems the conspirators have gotten the queen’s brother to sign on to the pact:

Tea and rebellion - a classic combination.

That scroll is like your f list on Facebook: bad when your employer stumbles over it.

The king finds out and sends his guard to go track down all of the bad guys. Then he throws a dinner for them. A dinner of beheading.

Here. Let us cut your steak for you. And your throat.

The main course? DEATH.

The chief, however, is given a special assignment. He has to go personally whack the queen’s brother. It’s sort of a backhand by the king, trying to remind the chief that they’re an item, and that the queen shouldn’t matter a lick to him. (Haha: lick. Get it? Punny.)

"Don't kill me, bro!"

The queen’s brother makes it difficult for the chief to get a good slice at his neck.

The king tells the queen that he’s sent the chief to go kill her brother, so she corners the chief in the library and demands to know what’s happened. He explains that he’s helped her brother sneak away, which is a pretty crafty thing, since it involves doing the exact opposite of what the king had demanded. …And since he’s a rebel, he decides to hook up with the queen again.

"I didn't kill your brother, so let's do it."

Sweet, sweet library lovin’.

The sub-chief, meanwhile… Well, he’s done gone and went and killed the queen’s brother, takes the head back to the king, and reports that the chief kinda dropped the ball. This dude? This dude wants his promotion!

"If you'll just sign for the head, sir."

This kid is a go-getter.

The king knows that the chief’s betrayed him, but the chief doesn’t know the king knows. So surprise, surprise when he calls the three of them together for another meeting about the heir issue… and then drops a bombshell.

Pimpin' ain't easy.

“Yeah, I’m just gonna go ahead and have some other guy impregnate the queen, ‘kay? Thaaaanks.”

Somehow he doesn't see that comin'.

The queen tries to kill herself, but she goes across the street instead of up the road.

Now, the chief has been pretty conflicted throughout this entire tale. Although he keeps running off to the queen, he’s had a most-of-his-life relationship with the king that’s still tugging at his heartstrings. He starts to mope at the weight of his conflict.

So much woe.

If he had an iPod, he’d been listening to emo music right now.

Eventually the king is charmed by his remorse, and lets him back into his life. The chief starts being a very, very good boyfriend, although it seems like he’s going through the motions in order to convince himself that he can live this one-sided life instead of having two partners.

"Let me serenade you..."

100.5 Easy Rock and Love Ballads for the Capital City area!

Things are going well enough, and the chief is managing to hold out… Until the queen’s servant tells him that all of their fooling around in the library has finally resulted in conception.

At least he's still not snoring...

“You’re the baby daddy!” is a declaration that will keep you up at night.

The chief can’t take it anymore, and he runs off to go find the queen and talk about how they’re going to handle the somewhat untimely creation of an heir. …And the king? He kinda wakes up and notices he’s alone and goes on a slightly unhappy search for his wayward boyfriend.

"I'm'a fight a man tonight..."

This is from before you could just hack an e-mail account or root through the call history of your suspicious-acting boyfriend’s phone.

Mmm. The smell of encyclopedias.

Guess who starts messing around in the library again.

Welllllllllll, this time the king catches them in the act, and things go pretty badly. Like “Jerry Springer” badly.  You know, where they start chanting “Steve! Steve!” while the chairs fly across the stage.


This isn’t going to end well.

So what happens next? Well… A lot. A whole lot. But I don’t want to ruin it for you!

But once you do find out what happens next, let me know if the chief was bisexual and in love with both the king and the queen, or if he was just devoted to the king because he’d been raised that way, or if he was just sleeping with the queen because it seemed like the thing to do. I’m… I’m kinda not really convinced one way or the other.

More about nichan:
i like cantonese music, japanese music, a dash of korean music, and our site owner has recently exposed me to mandarin music. — joey yung was my introduction to asian music.

i like manga and anime. — “sailor moon” was my introduction to anime, and my first manga obsession was “gravitation”.

i really like ancient chinese literature. — i believe “the tale of genji” was my introduction to asian literature, but i very quickly converted from japanese to chinese. i’m pretty sure my first chinese literature experience was “a dream of red mansions”.

i was a history major in college. i did my senior thesis on the comparison of yaoi and slash fan histories. when i got out of college, i still had a year left on my parents’ insurance, so i went back to the local college and did an independent study on learning world war i through “gundam wing”.

i like the occasional asian movie, but i don’t really have the attention span for movies…

i loves me some loligoth/gothloli.

the problem, you see, is that i’m way, way, way too cheap and lazy to bother getting new stuff, so i predict that all of my reviews will be on things i’ve already watched/read/heard, rather than new and up-to-date releases. don’t be expecting to see new titles and whatnot listed under my name… i buy from the bargain bin!


  • Spoiler alert!

    Ya know the ending was a lil confusing cus he tells the king that he never loved him when the king asks him right but when they are both laying there dying they are both looking at each other as lovers do when they know they are about to die and this is after he takes his final look at the queen that his dying breath is towards the king.

    Suggesting he loved them both but was constricted by duty and the times . or maybe by who he loved more cus i don’t care what u say u don’t look at a man like that and let him man love you if u don’t like it no way!

  • probably didn’t help that the king was, um… shall we say a bit of a difficult boyfriend?

  • HAHAHA! Omg, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed this much on such a post. Watched ‘A Frozen Flower’ as well, and don’t quite understand Hong Lim/Chief’s perception and view on everything. I’m having trouble trying to figure out if he really did love the King. It’s killing me that the King never fully understood or got to actually know the true meaning behind that “No” when the Chief was questioned if he loved him or not. It makes me so angry that the ending leaves you with something like that (even if it was a good ending) and I need some reassurance that the Chief really did love him 😦

    Plus, I need to know what the actual gross/box office was for this movie. Wiki says it but Wiki is so unreliable.

    THANKS IN ADVANCE. Love all the captions you put under the pictures (made me laugh heaps).

    • I still haven’t watched this all the way through and am pretty content just leaving it at nichan’s review as I was totally confused by what little I did see. Anywho, one source said that this movie grossed approx. $18 Million USD in its native South Korea. Which I can believe as if you look at some of the weekly numbers, they grossed almost $7 million in not quite a full week. For whatever reason, this movie was one of the big hits of 2008 in South Korea.

  • I think the chief loved the queen. He looked at the king when he saw the queen and understood that the king had lured him to the palace, thinking that the queen was dead. Remember, the king knew the chief would only return (to seek revenge) if he thought the queen was killed by her husband. He was raised in the palace and groomed by the king to serve him in any way possible. But it was with the queen he discovered love. He went back, thinking the queen was murdered by the king. He went back to kill him and knowing he would also die.

  • Nikki Fernandez

    I think he loved both the King and the Queen. He was conflicted with both duty and love. It really got muddled loving both. I truly believe you can love more than one person at a time but this situation Chief Hong knew the position both the King and Queen were in. It was hard to choose one or the other. I believe he fell for the Queen because he also grew to know her and pitied her and fell for the King because they are best buds and he devoted his life for the royal family. In the end, Chief was real victim being put in such a tragic love triangle.

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