Pirates: The Mountain Bandit that went to Sea

This movie is the Korean Pirates of the Carribean with Son Ye-jin and Kim Nam-gil.


Korean Title – 해적: 바다로 간 산적

Basic Information

Kim Nam-gil as Jang Sa-jung
Son Ye-jin as Yeo-wol
Yoo Hae-jin as Cheol-bong
Lee Geung-young as So-ma
Oh Dal-su as Han Sang-jil
Kim Tae-woo as Mo Heung-gap
Park Chul-min as Monk
Shin Jung-geun as Yong-gap
Kim Won-hae as Chun-seop
Jo Dal-hwan as San-man
Jo Hee-bong as Oh Man-ho
Jung Sung-hwa as Park Mo
Choi Sulli as Heuk-myo
Lee Yi-kyung as Cham-bok
Ahn Nae-sang as Jeong Do-jeon
Kim Kyeong-sik as Subforeman
Lee Dae-yeon Yi Seong-gye
Jeon Bae-soo as Baek Seon-gi
Park Hae-soo as Hwang Joong-geun
Lee Do-yeon as young Yeo-wol
Kim Won-joong as Catfish
Song Yong-ho as Snakehead
Moon Seong-bok as Eel
Lee Gyu-ho as Mool-gom
Jeon Won-gyu as Pine cone
Lee Jae-ho as Cudgel
Kim Jae-hak as Straw




It is the middle of war and victory is near. However, a non-twist occurs the night before the troops attack the enemy village. The commander gives a passionate speech to the officers, which boils down to the troops are done and will go back home. The rationale? The troops can’t fight in the rain and it would be rude for a smaller nation to attack a larger nation.

Kim Namgil(Sa-jung) crashes the meeting and does the unspeakable. Hearing the news that they are pulling back without even attempting an attack, he questions the relevance of the Commander’s logic in a war. At the impudence, the Commander orders that Sa-jung is silenced and Sa-jung’s own superior officer (we’ll call him Eyepatch) takes the responsibility of executing the order. During the fight, Sa-Jung wins and screams his frustration and sense of betrayal at the world. Watching this, the Commander orders that the army take care of this problem (Sa-jung). Fortunately, as the army members descend, Sa-Jung’s loyal troop members come riding horses to his aid. So begins Sa-jung’s life as the leader of mountain bandits.



female captives

Meanwhile, pirates attack and takeover a ship at sea. The captain (our story’s Whitebeard) executes the last survivor and tells his first mate Yeo-wol that if you let them live, they end up as liabilities that kill you. Yeo-wol looks unhappy about it but stays silent. For their efforts, they get supplies and a case of gold Buddha statues.

During the raid, Yeo-wol hears something and her crew breaks down a wall to find a bunch of imprisoned girls being transported for sale. The crew members mutter that the people originally on board deserved their fate for engaging in human trafficking and reassure the women that they will be returned to their homes. One of the girls (Heuk-myo) asks to join Yeo-wol because her father was the one who sold her.

One night in the future, the the pirate crew partakes in your good one around the fire story time as one of the members regales old members and new with the valiant stories of Yeo-wol’s victories. Yeo-wol’s pretends to not care but interrupts multiple times to correct the story and increase the extravagance of her achievements (ie- she went against over not less than 5000 enemies and won).

It is interesting to note that the crew is devoted to Yeo-wol and unsatisfied that they have to keep bribing the Navy with their spoils.

One of the crew (Cheol-bong) becomes seasick and goes to relieve himself. On his return to the deck, he overhears the crew’s captain speaking with the captain of the navy. The captain hands over the stolen goods as “payment” to continue their relationship, which is accepted. However, the navy captain notes that he needs to bring back prisoners or the King will question his efficacy at his post.  Whitebeard agrees to give him some of his less-helpful crew members. Cheol-bong steals a lifeboat and abandons ship.  The two agree and head up to the deck, where Whitebeard orders that the crew stand down as he names the crewmembers that he is abandoning. Yeo-wol and the others protest but Whitebeard silences them by pulling rank.

yeowol fight scene

The Navy Captain eyes Yeo-wol lasciviously and asks for her. Whitebeard refuses because Yeo-wol is his firstmate. Not wanting to ruin a good relationship, Whitebeard offers to give Heuk-myo instead of Yeo-wol. At this point, Yeo-wol refuses to stand down if Heuk-myo is given to the Navy Captain to be raped. She pulls out her sword and stands in front of Heuk-myo to which the Navy responds by pulling out their sword against Yeo-wol. This triggers the pirate crew, which pulls out their swords to back up Yeo-wol. Things get tense as the crew ignores Whitebeard’s commands to stand down. As a result Whitebeard pulls out his large sword to regain control. He begins a duel against Yeo-wol. An entertaining action scene commences with Whitebeard using his strength and Yeo-wol using speed and agility. Yeo-wol wins.


Whitebeard is given an execution with a chance to survive. He is tied and dropped into sea.




During this time, the King’s representative is on a ship returning from China.  The representative carries both a scroll containing Korea’s official name, Joseon, and the King’s official seal as endowed by the Chinese Emperor.  One night, the navy members on the ship spot a baby whale and decide to attack. The mother whale shows up and tears apart the ship for firing at her baby.  To put the icing on the victory, she swallows the seal.  For the viewers’ convenience in identifying the whale, the mast breaks and trikes the mother whale in the back, if not her blowhole.

The King’s representative miraculously manages to swim the rest of the way to Korea where he debriefs one of the court ministers as to the Whale-Eaten-Seal. The minister worries that Korea is still a very superstitious country.  If it gets out that a whale ate the official seal, the people would believe that the heavens do not bless the King’s rule. The minister directs the representative to tell the king that the ship was attacked by pirates, who stole the seal.

The apologetic report to the king starts out as planned. There is a lot of wailing from the prostrated representative that he and the crew should be killed. The king is understandably unhappy that they lost the seal.  However, the King is slightly mollified that the crew took it upon themselves to survive the attack to bring him back the official name of China-sanctioned-Korea.  As a result, he gives them 15 days to find the pirates, who stole the seal, and get the seal back.

The hunt for the whale-that-swallowed-the-seal begins.




The officer that fought Sa-jung and lost (Eye-patch) is taken out from his imprisonment in a hole. The minister tasks Eyepatch with leading the Navy and finding the whale and the swallowed seal or else.

The first thing that the Eyepatch and the Navy do is approach Yeo-wol’s ship to demand that Yeo-wol’s crew catches the whale in ten days. If the pirates refuse, the Navy threatens to hunt and kill all of the pirates’ families.




We return to the army fugitives lead by Sa-jung, which welcomes a new volunteer (Cheol-bong), an ex-pirate turned volunteer mountain bandit. He is accepted into the group because Sa-jung takes pity on the man who obviously was kicked out by his prior crew.

Sa-jung’s mountain bandits attempt their first fleece with Cheol-bong.  They plan to rob a road caravan. The monk signals at the right time.  The new recruit cuts the rope.  A net drops on the carvan. Sa-jung swings by in Tarzan-style. The bandit crew descends on the caravan and filches the goods.

The Plan fall to pieces when the King’s army comes up the road right after the caravan. The monk tries to signal abandon plan. The new recruit doesn’t understand and cuts the rope, just in time for Sa-jung to swing by in front of the army officer. Cue relentless chase of Sa-jung’s crew by the King’s army.  Additionally, the army has now seen Sa-jung’s face and wanted posters are posted.

Sa-jung then goes to town to find an ex-bandit that turned civilian for some revenge.  It is too coincidental that the army was coming up that mountain looking for bandits.  The ex-bandit is tied upside down and dunked into a large bucket of water by the bandit-monk until he says that he has good information, which he would give for free.  The information? A whale swallowed a ship and the King’s seal.



first meeting

The rope holding on to the man is cut by an arrow shot by Yeo-wol. Sa-jung tries to confront Yeo-wol for interrupting men in the middle of a transaction to which Yeo-wol counters that she only sees stray dogs and no men.  The pirate crew pass Sa-jung and the monk into an inner room with a Buddhist monk. Yeo-wol bribes the monk for information regarding the whale-that-ate-the-seal. She gives him one day. Sa-jung and the monk eavesdrop on the transaction to confirm their own lead that there is a whale that has eaten the King’s seal.

storytime around fire

Sa-jung returns to the group to tell them the news.  The group first thinks that Sa-jung’s important news is that he is going to disband the group because they haven’t successfully achieved one raid. The men are actually quite receptive of the idea and ready to leave to Sa-jung’s dismay. Sa-jung has to quickly convince the men that there is another opportunity for them with this whale business.  The men first don’t believe that a fish could attack and break a ship. That is until Cheol-bong, the ex-pirate, explains that this is possible if it was a whale and not just any fish. The bandits, not knowing what a whale is, starts to plan their turning point in life when they capture this fish. After all, how big could a fish get?


Meanwhile, Yeo-wol’s crew buys new weapons to capture the whale. Ever a believer that one should not have to reinvent the wheel, Sa-jung’s crew filches the carts with the new weapons. Another chase ensues! The pirates after the mountain bandits, both of whom are chased by the local guards… Yeo-wol rides one of Korea’s first rollarcoasters (the water system) and Sa-jung destroys part of the town in an effort to lose the pirates by using one of the bombs. The bomb explodes against the watermill system and lets loose the great wheel. At the end of the chase, Yeo-wol and Sa-jung end up in the middle of the marketplace, with arrows flying at them.  Sa-jung hugs Yeo-wol and takes all the arrows in a flash-back-to-Queen-Seodok-Bidam-esque-move.  Luckily, his hard shield saves him from serious injury. Yeo-wol and Sa-jung take the opportunity of the chaos from the watermill’s wheel rolling into the marketplace and subsequent explosions as the wheel crushes the cart with explosives to flee from the guards.

Both sides head out to sea.  Yeo-wol’s crew effectively on their ship. Sa-jung’s crew heads up to the mountains, through the forest, and finally to sea on a small boat.



Sa-jung’s small sailboat floats out to sea until the crew spots a shark. Immediately, the crew assumes that the shark is the whale. One of the crew’s fall off-boat catches the shark’s attention and it attacks the boat. Sa-jung sticks the shark with a spear that is tied to their boat. Rather than dying, the shark (with the spear in it) turns the ship into a speedboat as it swims away inadvertently pulling the boat along.

This interlude brings us back to Whitebeard, who has heard that Yeo-wol is looking for the whale-that-ate-the-seal.  He tells his firstmate that they will find Yeo-wol because they have the fastest ship.  Meanwhile, Sa-jung’s small ship (pulled by shark) zips by as Sa-jung’s crew tries to slow down by shooting the shark with a handheld bazooka. The bullet from the bazooka hits Whitebeard’s ship. Whitebeard’s crew rains fire on Sa-jung’s ship in return, but the little ship is too fast.

Sa-jung finally hits the shark with the bazooka and it dies. The crew celebrates for a short time until Cheol-bong convinces everyone that nope, the shark is not a whale.

Realizing how big a whale actually is, Sa-jung decides that they need to steal a larger navy ship. Cheol-bong is not convinced at the crew’s ability to steal anything let alone a navy ship and wants out. Since Cheol-bong is the only member with any experience at sea and with ships, Sa-jung manipulates Cheol-bong into staying by elevating him to second in command. Cheol-bong comes up with a strategically sound plan, in which the crew sneaks on board on of the outer ships to commandeer it. Meanwhile, Sa-jung creates a distraction by setting the innermost ship aflame. All goes to plan until Sa-jung comes face to face with Eyepatch. The fight is cut short when Sa-jung jumps into the sea to swim to his new ship.

Meanwhile, Yeo-wol’s crew has almost perfected their ability for accurate long attacks.

Left with no ships, Eyepatch has to come up with an explanation. He decides that they will tell the government that pirates attacked. However, the Navy under his command was successful in regaining the seal. To accomplish this, they burn the nearest village and kill the villagers, who they label pirates. Then they set off to sea to actually get the seal.



prefight prefight2

Cheol-bong leads as second in command and teaches the bandit crew how to run a ship. The crew is still skeptical of Cheol-bong’s past as a pirate because he keeps getting seasick.

Meanwhile, at Yeo-wol’s ship, they spot the whale-that-ate-the-seal.  Yeo-wol wavers before ordering the death of a living animal.  During this wavering period, Whitebeard attacks Yeo-wol’s ship.

The two ships face each other as both groups try to determine whether or not they will attack on the offense. This is when Sa-jung’s ship innocently floats in between the two ships. All hell breaks loose. Sa-jung’s group ends up joining the fray randomly. They fight random people on what seems to be both sides. Yet, when Whitebeard wins his fight against Yeo-wol, Sa-jung’s group quickly state their support for Whitebeard and his crew. Whitebeard is not convinced and has Sa-Jung chained to Yeo-wol, before both are pushed off-board.


Underwater, Yeo-wol’s charm bracelet tinkles and the whale-that-swallowed-the-seal hears it. Coincidentally, the whale-that-swallowed-the-seal remembers when she was a baby whale and saved by a young Yeol-wol.  Young Yeo-wol had cut the net holding the whale.  The whale-that-swallowed-the-seal comes to Yeo-wol’s aid.

Sa-jung wakes up to find that he and Yeo-wol are miraculously on land. Because Yeo-wol harbors the injury to her shoulder from being speared by Whitebeard, she is still unconscious. Ever the gentleman, Sa-jung finds fresh water to give to Yeo-wol. He also takes Yeo-wol to a cave and builds up a fire.  Yeo-wol wakes up while Sa-jung sleeps. We have a brief humorous interlude as we see how their being cuffed together means that she has to scratch everywhere Sa-jung scratches.


Once Sa-jung wakes up, they have a heart-to-heart at the fire. Sa-jung and Yeo-wol discuss her background and her decision to turn into a pirate due to the King’s men assassination of her father, who was a pirate and the murder of her mother for being the wife of a pirate…She also explains that the pirates respect no king as they feel that the king has abandoned them.

Later, an attempt at breaking the cuffs with rocks fails… The two then go into sea to relieve themselves simultaneously. Luckily, they have to relieve themselves again later that night, which gives us some more fan service as both Yeo-wol and Sa-jung show off their scars (and skin) to brag about who is the more accomplished fighter.  During this time bragfest, the monk with Sa-jung’s ship sails by and the two get their chains cut by the monk.

Meanwhile, the two crews fight it off in Whitebeard’s prison. Additionally, the King refuses to grant an extension. The ministers have 2 days to find the seal.

Now free, Yeo-wol and Sa-jung save their crew members from execution at the hands of the King’s men. Sa-jung offers to take Yeo-wol to the mountains and she refuses. Sa-jung’s crew is released on a lifeboat. They return back to a ravaged village.




Thinking that all of the minute details are taken care of, Whitebeard and Eyepatch wait for the whale-that-swallowed-the-seal.

The baby whale surfaces to breathe and the ship attacks to bring the mother whale out to the surface. The baddies are successful in spearing the mother whale and they tie her to the boat.  At this point Whitebeard tries to take over the ship. If they kill off the pirates, they don’t have to share any of the accomplishment. However, Whitebeard is just as cunning and foresaw this coming. Whitebeard dares Eyepatch to attack because the pirate crew has set up bombs below deck and are holding the rope that leads back to the said bombs. If the pirates die, they will light the ship on fire and Eyepatch’s Navy dies as well. While the two groups eye each other, Eyepatch decides to attack and call Whitebeard out on his bluff that the pirates will blow up the ship.

This fight is interrupted by Yeo-wol’s ship, which has returned to save Heuk-myo, who was the only prisoner that Eyepatch and Whitebeard kept. They brought her along to sacrifice her to the sea if they couldn’t find the whale.


During the fight, Yeo-wol valiantly cuts the ropes, which tie the whale-that-swallowed-the-seal and whale is free to drift back into the sea in peace.


Not to be left out, Sa-jung’s crew comes along bearing explosives to back up Yeo-wol’s crew. Sa-jung faces off against Eyepatch and Yeo-wol has the leisure of focusing on Whitebeard. In an eye-for-an-eye fashion, Yeo-wol spears Whitebeard as he had injured her in the prior fight. Pinned to the wall, Whitebeard tells Yeo-wol, as he’s dying that the ship is about to explode and to abandon ship. In the middle of the chaos of the fighting, someone had lit the rope leading to the bombs… Meanwhile, Sa-jung successfully pins Eyepatch’s foot to the ship’s floor. Yeo-wol runs up yelling at everyone to abandon ship before it explodes. Everyone except Eyepatch, who is pinned to the ship by his foot, and Whitebeard, who comes above deck to taunt Eyepatch, jump off the ship in time.





Sa-jung visits the King in his sleeping chamber. Sa-jung identifies himself as man without a country. He then asks the King how he can be less than a mother-whale that gives up her life for her baby. How could a king sacrifice men to find a seal swallowed by a whale.

Sa-jung finishes by stating that if the King can create a decent country, he would be happy to consider himself a citizen of the new Joseon. Sa-jung asks the King to think carefully about what type of country he wants to make. He notes that the whale-swallowing-the-seal was a sign that the current situation under China is not blessed.

The next day, the King confronts his courtiers about the seal that was “stolen by the pirates,” and calls them out on the truth-that the seal was swallowed by a whale. He then mandates that his representatives go back to China.  Additionally, all of the children that were imprisoned to be sent to China are ordered released.  When the ministers protest that the release of the children, which was a requirement under the negotiated arrangement, the King answers that the ministers better renegotiate the relationship. If the ministers fail, their children will be on the next shipment to China. Finally, the King warns them to bring the seal back successfully this time.

The movie ends with Sa-jung’s crew joining Yeo-wol’s crew.


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