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The Yellow Sea (Hwanghae) (AKA The Murderer) (2010) (Blu-ray)
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Award winning director of The Chaser NA HONG-JIN now brings us the enthralling action packed thriller THE YELLOW SEA .
SYNOPSIS: Gu-nam is a desperate gambler and debt-ridden taxi driver in Yanji City in a region that has adjoining borders to North Korea, China and Russia. His wife fled to South Korea six months earlier and he hasn t heard from her since. In order to repay his debts and find his wife this mild unassuming man accepts a contract killing from hit man Myun-ga.
Crossing the dangerous Yellow Sea to Seoul he seeks out both his target and wife, but soon finds himself in the middle of a dangerous conspiracy of lies and betrayal. Before he can fulfil the contract, he witnesses others murder his target. Fleeing the scene, he is not only being pursued by the police, but those responsible.
THE YELLOW SEA is the first Korean film to ever receive investment from a major Hollywood studio (Fox International Productions).
REVIEWS: A gripping existentialist thriller, where jealousy, greed and desperation lead inexorably to a chaos of carnage, and where exile and death cross borders to merge into an emotionally-charged sequence of final images. (4.5 stars) - Film 4
Writer-director Na Hong-Jin achieves a vibe of urban desolation right off the bat, and deepens the mayhem with acutely observed and charged details about illegal-immigrant life. (4.5 stars) Village Voice
Fast and tense with twists that keep you on the edge of your seat. (4.5 stars) Electric Sheep Magazine
- 8 behind the scenes featurettes
- 4 Trailers
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Top Customer Reviews
I won't go into too much detail about the film so as not to spoil it for anyone but suffice to say that if you enjoyed 'The Chaser', as well as other Korean movies such as 'Nowhere to Hide', 'Tell Me Something', 'Green Fish' and any of the great Korean thrillers between 1999 and 2005 will be well-pleased with this film. Of recent some Korean Thrillers have failed to reach the heights of the aforementioned with the exception of 'I Saw the Devil',and 'The Man from Nowhere' but 'The Yellow Sea' is very much a return to form.
The blu-ray release is from Bounty Films and distributed By Eureka. The cover and case are slightly different from the one shown on Amazon U.K. in that the case is light green and the cover has additional text.
If you buy just one film this year - this ought to be the one! Watch it back-to-back with 'A Bittersweet Life' and you will see why people like me talk about how some of the best films over the last twelve years have come from South Korea. Make it a Korean film night with 'Epitaph' and 'The Host' and you will feel like you are in film heaven!
The violence is brutal, bloody and often up close. It is also excessive and never ending. Western films often glorify an intense moment of violence whilst The Yellow Sea follows it to its (un)natural conclusion. Remember the days when Seagal would walk into a room with a knife and kill everybody? This is the modern equivalent but done with Asian flair, outstanding production values, and a human-centred, relevant and modern tale. Like many Asian films, it's also slightly confusing if your mind switches to autopilot. So whilst you could watch this as a straight 'action' film and be happy with the violence, it's much better getting involved in the story too.
The perfect non-Western action film.
However, he is as adept at gambling as a high wire actor with vertigo. Thus his debts start mounting, then he gets approached by local gangster and all round nasty bloke, Myun jung-Hak (Kim Yoon-seok), who offers him a wad of cash and a bank deposit account - without the Pin. He gets that on delivery of the thumb of a Korean man he wants to be `taken out', and I don't mean to a local restaurant.
Thus he is despatched to South Korea, but things do not go as planned and whilst trying to find his wife and carry out the job, he unintentionally end up being on the wrong side of the Chinese mafia, the police and the Korean mob. What happens next is a movie so full of twists as to make your eyes water. We have some spectacular car chases, gory violence, manic man hunts and what can only be described as good old fashioned medieval butchery.Read more ›
Yet at the same time in the Chaser there were many moments of humanity. In the Yellow Sea I struggled to find this humanity within most of the characters themselves. Partially difficulty in finding reasons to empathise with the characters comes from some of the detracting features in the film. Reviews abound on the internet, and you might seek out and find comments there such as 'women not portrayed in enough detail', 'overly long', 'lacks editing'.
But at the same time there are many reasons to watch this film. Let me give you a few:
- As social comment, albiet from the director's angle, this film differs from many of the more popular Korean films of recent years, examples here would be Oldboy, Bittersweet life, in particular The man from nowhere. Instead there is possibly a lack of character development, in the traditional sense, in favour of seeing the poverty and hardship of the lives in the first third of the film. This focus on Urban life/poverty/hardship demonstrates why the characters do as they do (to some extent).
- The cinematography here is very good, much as in The chaser there is attention to detail, artistry with the lens. Not as polished looking as The chaser I would say the investment of more money, possibly time, and locations for filming opened up the use of different camera styles.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm in shock that someone ( quiet a few) gave this piece of crap 4 - 5 star reviews.Terrible film if you've got a brain. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Nice_Lieutenant
A Must for any action fan who likes originality and adult violence action scenes!Published 3 months ago by 2Coolman
"The Yellow sea" is a gritty drama from South Korea, written and directed by Na Hong-jin (who also wrote and directed the excellent "The Chaser"). Read morePublished 4 months ago by Chunky Monkey
A totally brilliant movie,shocking,sad and sometimes funny. You'll never see a Hollywood movie like thisPublished 10 months ago by DF
great acting, thrilling action, sinister atmosphere, but complicated plot. kind of film noir. Defenitly worth watching.Published 12 months ago by Michael hochloff