Kingdom: Ashin of the North Review: Is This Prequel Necessary?


Kingdom: Ashin of the North, the spin off prequel to arguably the best zombie series in the planet right now, Kingdom, releases on Netflix. Will the movie spin off live up to the expectation set by the original series or will it be a misstep for the critically acclaimed zombie franchise?

Read on this review to find out.

Kingdom Takes Us Back

Blood has been spilled back in the period zombie universe of Kingdom. But more mysteries are still left in the open after that major cliffhanger headlined by one of Korea’s top actresses Jun Ji-hyun appearing for a brief but peculiar moment. Now, Kingdom: Ashin of the North tries to answer those by taking us back to where it all started.

Set perhaps a couple of decades before the events of Kingdom Seasons 1 and 2, Ashin played by Jun Ji-hyun finds a plant that is said to be able to resurrect the dead. This triggers a series of events which unfortunately led to the deadly zombie infestation that has happened in the main series Kingdom.

Don’t expect to see your favorite characters from the main series since they probably don’t even know about the events in this film. However, the magnificence of what made the Kingdom series such a hit is ever so present here. The storylines cleverly tie up to the main series like a string of delicately woven webs. Put simply, if you loved the original series, you are sure going to love this just as much.

The Real Villain?

There’s a reason why Jun Ji-hyun is widely considered as one of the best and most sought-after actresses in Korea. And her performance in Kingdom: Ashin of the North show us exactly why. Her finesse and on-point portrayal of the mysterious Ashin is probably one of her best if not her best performances to date.

And although her character mysteriously appeared at the end of Season 2 with a seemingly villainous aura, there is much more to her story. The movie prequel shows us who the real villains of the story are and it’s not who you might expect. Hint: It’s definitely not the zombies!

Is It Necessary?

Prequels much like sequels rarely hit the mark. There have only been a handful of prequels/sequels that either live up to or surpass their original material. In the case of Kingdom: Ashin of the North, it works, in some levels, sort of.

The viewers still get to see the gorgeous cinematography and flawless action choreography that made the Kingdom series such as a huge critical hit. But the importance of Ashin’s storyline remains to be seen. We briefly got to see her towards the end of the second season of Kingdom. And right there and then we all would like to find out what her story is about. Who is Ashin? What could possibly drive someone into this bloody path of destruction?

Kingdom: Ashin of the North answers exactly just that and then some. The origins of the resurrection plant and how it works exactly and how it eventually ended up into the hands of the emperor’s physician. The prequel movie tries to answer them all. So, in a sense, there is indeed some reason for this film’s existence. But there are still so much more questions to be answered in the Kingdom universe. Perhaps we’ll get to find out more once the third season drops.

Skip or Watch?

As far as prequels go, Kingdom: Ashin of the North is one of those rare successful ones. It still captures the strengths of its original material while answering most of the mysteries from the main series.

Jun Ji-hyun’s performance as the tormented Ashin keeps the fire burning brighter. Cinematography is still picture perfect and the storylines as intricate as ever.

With the prequel movie’s addition, Kingdom is sure to continue its successful run as we wait for the release of the third season.


Here is salida|etc’s rating for Kingdom: Ashin of the North.

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