Netflix released Kingdom: Ashin of the North, a special episode of the gripping K-drama series Kingdom. It is a prequel to the streaming giant’s show which gained popularity due to its amazing story. It explores the backstory of Ashin, played by Jun Ji-hyun, who appears at the end of season 2 of the show. It also shows the vengeful origin story of the show. Both the show and the special give a unique and interesting take on the historical and horror genre.
– The Kingdom: Ashin of the North review contains spoilers –
At the end of season 2 of the show, Chang and Seo-bi find the resurrection plant near the Chinese border and are informed that someone from China is selling it. The final shot is of Ashin smiling mysteriously. Kingdom: Ashin of the North takes us to the backstory of Ashin. It gives us information about the plant, which is the cause of the outbreak. We are also shown Lee Chang, played by Ju Ji-hoon. In Kingdom: Ashin of the North, Lee Chang seeks to save his empire from the invading undead.
An Eye For Detail
The special is filled with Zombies and fights between the dead and undead. What makes this more exciting is that Kingdom: Ashin of the North is not just about zombies. A political drama brews in the back and is paralleled by the other story. Recently, many movies have been released that have a political or social issue-related story as the backdrop of a thriller or horror.
An interesting thing about the special is that it has kept the pace up from the starting which keeps us on the toes till the end. Even the acting of all the actors including the zombies is might blowing. Though there are times when you might feel disconnected and find plot holes in the story, the visuals make up for them. Each shot is highly engaging, almost makes you get lost in the story. The director of the special, Seong-hun Kim, has kept an eye on the details.
In one scene we can see a deer eating a plant and then drinking water. After that, it gets into a fight with a tiger. At the same time, we can see mysterious drawings on the wall of an abandoned shrine that shows a deer and tiger. Upon that is written, “This plant brings the dead back to life but you must pay the price.” After that, the tiger turns into a zombie and attacks the deer. Firstly, a zombie tiger? That is pretty impressive. But also are the hints that are given throughout Kingdom: Ashin of the North.
A Good Prequel
The mystery behind the resurrection flower is unfolded slowly, as the story moves forward. There are several plot twists as well which will blow your mind. When Ashin is planning her revenge plot, she discovers that her father, who she thought was executed by the Pajeowi, is alive and is at a prison camp.
One thing that is evident in the Kingdom: Ashin of the North is an important theme that revolves around the story. The writer, Kim Eun-hee had kept hunger as the starting point of the undead. From detailed period costumes to the portrayal of poverty and the battles are well executed. The special remains true to its roots while following the story of Ashin. Kingdom: Ashin of the North is a must-watch special if you have watched the show. Even if you haven’t, you can enjoy it for the zombies and its mise-en-scene.
You can watch Kingdom: Ashin of the North on Netflix.