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Time Out says
Coming a full six years after his breakthrough feature, the dazzling cop flick ‘Nowhere to Hide’, expectations ran high in South Korea for Lee’s historical drama, but the result proved a high-profile disappointment both critically and commercially. It’s not hard to see why, since this Chosun-era detective story throws away its exquisitely pampered visuals on a script which is paper-thin when it’s not plain confounding. When an upsurge in counterfeit coins threatens the nation’s economic stability, a female investigator goes undercover with a more experienced male officer to crack the case, but along the way she contrives to fall for the chief suspect, a masked master swordsman known only as ‘Sad Eyes’. Leading lady Ha Ji-weon is happier doing tomboy-ish pluck than moon-faced romance, while the whole conceit of putting the would-be lovers through choreographed exchanges, which are as much mating dance as sword-swishing combat, looks ravishing but carries zero conviction in terms of the policier plot. Clearly, Lee has an extraordinary eye, but wilful self-indulgence leads him astray here.