No Tears for the Dead Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Jang Dong-gun, Brian Tee
  • Director: Kim Jung-beom
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: Korean
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: CJ Entertainment America
  • Release Date: February 17, 2015
  • Run Time: 116 minutes


            From the director of The Man From Nowhere comes another story involving a regret-filled professional killer utilizing his skills to protect the innocent. South Korea seems to be flooded with this particular narrative, with stylistic choices being the element which separates the mediocre from the great. Although No Tears for the Dead is mostly forgettable, there are sequences within the generic storyline which make all of the rest worthwhile.


            The film follows a professional Korean hit-man named Gon (Jang Dong-gun), who was raised by an American mafia syndicate to become the best at what he does. When he accidentally kills a young child during one of his assignments, Gon begins to question his entire existence. This is only furthered by his latest assignment; to travel home to South Korea in a mission to kill the mother of the young girl accidentally killed. Unable to complete this task, Gon finds himself forced to either find a way to kill Mo-kyeong (Kim Min-hee) or make the decision to protect her from the assassins which will follow him.


            As a director, Lee Jeong-beom embraces the carefully constructed action sequences effortlessly. There is impressive gunplay, hand-to-hand combat, and some rather brutal knife-play as well. All of this is expertly handled, but I couldn’t help but wish that Lee’s screenplay were as exciting as his action sequences. The problem doesn’t come from the simplicity of the story, because that worked rather well in The Man from Nowhere.


    The real problem comes from a lack of engaging characters, mostly because we never know enough about them to truly care. The ‘hit-man with a conscience’ has become more of a caricature than the ‘hooker with a heart of gold’ in South Korean cinema. At the very least, we need to be given a unique reason to care about Gon, but he ends up indistinguishable from dozens of other movies about professional killers.


    The Blu-ray release includes a making-of featurette and a commentary track with Lee. There are moments within the film that the high definition presentation is noticeable, but this package is far more impressive for the 5.1 digital surround sound. The action is impressive because of this sound, combined with the choreography and editing. The cinematography is decent, but usually the action is too fast-paced for it to be admired. 



    Entertainment Value: 7.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10

    Historical Significance:  6/10

    Special Features: 6.5/10



    No comments: