Review: Empire of Lust (South Korea 2015)

Trashy enough to live up to its title, Empire of Lust is a hilariously overwrought and deeply, deeply silly historical action/drama that takes itself deadly seriously. Full of preening villains, sexy femme fatales, and convoluted scheming, Empire of Lust wants to be a moving love story but is more like a Cinemax bodice ripper with a blockbuster’s budget and production values. The only actor who seems to be having any fun in all of this sturm und drang is Jang Hyuk (Volcano High, Please Teach Me English) as the wily older son of the king who is stepped over in favor of his younger brother. Jang’s prince is dangerous and unpredictable, but also smarter than most other characters and seemingly bemused by the twisty plot, and he brings a breath of fresh air every time he is on screen. 2 stars out of 4 (Okay).  Part of NYAFF 2015.

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