The Destined King (2016) – By Philip Smolen


“The Destined King” is an 11 minute short film that tells the story of a noble Korean warrior named Yushin (Hugh Cha) who during a time of chaos is instructed to take care of an infant who will assume the throne and become king. Yushin does as he is told and he travels day and night in order to get away from the wars that are consuming his country. Suddenly, Yushin is confronted by a former student named Sanggun (Christopher Kim) who wants to take over the throne for himself. He orders Yushin to turn over the child, but the warrior refuses. Will Yushin be able be able to protect his precious cargo from Sanggun and ensure that the true king ascends to the throne?

This is a fabulous short that captivated me from its opening shot. Writer/director Kiyun Sung knows exactly how to hook an audience and even though his film is barely 10 minutes long, Sung makes every scene memorable. From deep focus photography that captures the magic of a dense forest to a brutal sword fight that delivers bone-jarring action, this is one movie I didn’t want to end.

All of the leads are wonderful including Hugh Cha as Yushin and Christopher Kim as Sanggun. They give memorable and fiery performances as do co-stars Elly Han and Mihee Lucia Choe. Andrew Goodwin contributes a majestic and captivating score while Kiyun Sung’s photography takes your breath away.

“The Destined King” is a magnificent and magical short film that would make a terrific full length feature. It effortlessly sweeps you into its world and carries you away. It is simply one of the finest short films I have seen this year. If you are attending a film festival anytime soon, keep an eye out for it. It’s that good.

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