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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
And where’s the queen and the chief during all of this?
…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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!