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In order to avoid the constant threat of assassination, the tragic historic figure of King Gwang-hae orders his councilor HEO kyun to find him a double. Ha-sun, a jester who looks remarkably like the king, is finally chosen. But the day that King Gwang-hae feared comes all too fast: the King is now in a coma induced by an unknown poison. Quickly realizing what he believes takes to be a good king, Ha-sun must now rule Chosun as if it were truly his own.
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Critic Reviews for Masquerade
There are plenty of antecedents for the story, like "The Prince and the Pauper" and "Dave." But what it lacks in originality, it makes up for in Lee's performance.
As predictable as these stories invariably are, Lee's wonderful turn reignites the potent fantasy of peasant wisdom - if given the power - melting politically cynical hearts and legislating through decency rather than fear.
Following in the long tradition of lavish Asian epics, this new South Korean entry is a beautiful addition to the genre of period prince-and-the pauper themed films.
Competently directed, the real pleasure in this high-grossing South Korean film lies in its performances, which lighten the regal solemnity with comic warmth.
As entertainment, it's a decidedly unstuffy costume drama that's compelling to the end.
a somewhat sentimental tale of royal intrigue and romance; a crash course on the claustrophobic, often bizarre details of courtly life; and a showcase for the acting talents of Korean superstar Lee Byung-hun, in dual roles.
Director Choo Chang-min delivers a familiar tale with elegant skill and assurance. He proves that if you have a good story, there's no need to gild the lily.
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