Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 8


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,004
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Movie Info

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

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (2)

  • 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.

    Feb 7, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Sep 20, 2012 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jun 6, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Competently directed, the real pleasure in this high-grossing South Korean film lies in its performances, which lighten the regal solemnity with comic warmth.

    Mar 15, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…
  • As entertainment, it's a decidedly unstuffy costume drama that's compelling to the end.

    Feb 14, 2013 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Nov 30, 2012 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Masquerade

  • Aug 07, 2016
    Formulaic, but thanks to the performances and execution, it's reasonably entertaining.
    familiar s Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2013
    This film is really a showcase for Byung-hun Lee's talents more than anything else. The story is certainly predictable and familiar but it is a well-told story nonetheless. Seeing as this man is taken from the bottom to impersonate the king, and how he adjusts himself to his new change and actually finds himself being more of a king to the people than the actual king is always a good story to tell. The production values of this film are absolutely incredible, the cinematography and the costume/set design are absolutely top-notch. It adds a lot to the film. As mentioned, Byung-hun Lee is tremendous, but I'm surprised he was good at comedy. Almost everything I've seen him in has been serious and while he's not great, he's certainly good enough to come across as a completely different person. I think the characters goes on an interesting arc of, at first, being manipulated by the court in order to get the laws, tax, bills, etc. dropped. But it's also good seeing how the impostor becomes aware of the laws and the ways the court is trying to screw over the weak and the poor and how he tries to fix those problems. While I love Korean movies, I can't say that their dramatic movies are subtle, and this film is no exception. I don't wanna say it is melodramatic, but it is a little sentimental and, like I said, not particularly subtle. Its message is worn on its sleeve, if you can't see the message then you're probably deaf and blind. I still really liked the movie even if it is made up of familiar themes and concepts, Byung-hun Lee, as always, delivers in spades and his performance is the main reason to watch this movie. Damn good movie here.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer

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