Assassination Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Gianna Jun
  • Directors: Choi Dong-hoon
  • Format: Blu-ray, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: Korean
  • Subtitles: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: December 1, 2015
  • Run Time: 139 minutes



            Assassination is a historical action film, a period ensemble blockbuster with many twists and turns in the narrative and enough characters and tonal shifts to force audiences to work for their entertainment. This doesn’t make for a bad film, just one that requires a bit more attention to fully appreciate the spectacle. Although I am always an advocate for appreciation of international cinema, this is also a film likely to carry additional relevance for those who have lived through (or are at least familiar with) Korean history.


            As much as Assassination leans on the historical accuracy for the impact of its narrative, this is not the somber drama that it could have been, instead integrating humor and action into the period-relevant plot. This allows the freedom of absurd story devices, such as twins separated as infants, overblown action sequences, and any number of double-crosses between the film’s many assassins. This convoluted collection of characters and motives makes Assassination a difficult film for those seeking mindless entertainment, though each individual sequence provides satisfaction for those desiring spectacle.  


            At the center of the complex narrative is an extremely simple premise involving a group of exiled rebels planning to assassinate an Army official in Japanese-occupied Korea in 1933. The target is a Commander responsible for atrocities carried out against Koreans in Manchuria years earlier, and is headed up by a sniper for the Korean Independence Army named An Ok-yun (Jun Ji-hyun). The plot becomes more complicated with the discovery that one of the collaborators behind the assassination is actually a double agent, hiring other assassins to kill the very team he put together for treason against Korea. If this sounds confusing, that’s because it is. But it also happens to be gorgeously shot and full of exciting sequences, however disjointed they occasionally feel from each other.


            As large as this production was, it is hard to believe that there are absolutely no special features, whether deleted scenes or behind-the-scenes featurettes. While the high definition is admittedly a plus in viewing this film on Blu-ray, there is no excuse for the lack of extras. And English subtitles don’t count when you are releasing a foreign language film on a region 1 disc.


    Entertainment Value: 7.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10

    Historical Significance:  6/10

    Special Features: 0/10

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