Assassination (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
December 26, 2015 by Dennis Amith
“Assassination” is one of more exciting Korean action films that I watched in 2015. And it’s no surprise to me that the film did amazingly well in Korea and is the top grossing Korean film for the year. Featuring an exciting storyline and wonderful acting, “Assassination” is a film that I highly recommend!
Image courtesy of © 2015 Well Go USA Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
YEAR OF FILM: 2015
DURATION: 139 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Color, 1:85:1 aspect ratio, Japanese and Korean 5.1 HD Surround Sound, Subtitles: English SDH
COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: December 1, 2015
Directed by Dong-hoon Choi
Written by Dong-hoon Choi, Ki-Cheol Lee
Produced by Bin Shen
Music by Dalparan, Young-gyu Jang
Cinematography by Woo-hyung Kim
Edited by Min-kyung Shin
Production Design by Seong-hie Ryu
Art Direction by Seong-hie Ryu
Costume Design by Sang-gyeong Jo, Na-ri Son
Gianna Jun as An Ok-yun
Jung-woo Ha as Hawaii Pistol
Jung-jae Lee as Yeom Seok-jin
Jin-woong Jo as Sok-sapo
Dal-su Oh as Young-gam
Kyung Jin as Ahn Sung-Sim
Duek-mun Choi as Hwang Dok-sam
Snipers. Marksmen. Hired Guns. Double Agents. A group of exiled rebels are planning a hit on an Army Commander in Japanese-occupied Korea, but the only killer for the job is in prison. Now, the Resistance must devise a jailbreak, escape a hitman…and discover which of them is a traitor.
Choi Dong-hoon excited moviegoers with his slick and action-packed 2012 film “The Thieves”.
Choi returns with his latest success, “Assassination” which has become the biggest box office success in Korea for 2015 and now, will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment.
Featuring an all-star cast which includes Ji-hyun Jun (“My Sassy Girl”, “The Thieves”, “Il Mare”, “Windstruck”), Jung-jae Lee (“Il Mare”, “The Housemaid”, “The Thieves”, “New World”), Jung-woo Ha (“The Chaser”, “The Yellow Sea”, “The Berlin File”), Jin-woong Jo (“Roaring Currents”, “The Front Line”, “Hwayi: Monster Boy”), Dal-su Oh (“Oldboy”, “The Host”, “Thirst”) and many more!
The film begins in 1911 as Yeom Seok-jin (portrayed by Lee Jung-jae) is an assassin who’s job is to take out Kawaguchi Mamoru, the governor of the Japanese garrison in Gyeongseong and Japanese sympathizer, Kang In-gook.
We learn that Yeom Seok-jin is working with Kang’s wife, who secretly works with the Korean activists/resistance and is a mother of two twins.
When Yeom Seok-jin’s assassination fails, he is imprisoned, while Kang orders his wife to be killed. But before he has her killed, she manages to take one of her children, while having the other go with another who will raise the child in Manchuria, along with other Korean resistance.
Fastforward to the 1930’s and Korea is still under Japan’s colonial rule and Yeom Seok-jin, has escaped prison and is now an agent of the provisional Korean government. He helps three people escape prison, the sniper and dedicated resistance fighter Ahn Ok-yun (portrayed by Jun Ji-hyun), “Big Gun” Chu Sang-ok (portrayed by Cho jin-woong) who is an excellent arms dealer and marksman and his cellmate, Hwang Deok-sam (portrayed by Choi Deok-moon), an explosives specialist.
The three are released but for the purpose of assassinating another high-up Japanese dignitary and once again, the business tycoon Kang In-gook.
But unfortunately, one of these people are secretly working with the Japanese. And has hired freelance assassins “Old Man” (portrayed by Oh Dal-su and the legendary “Hawaii Pistol” (portrayed by Ha Jung-woo) to take them out.
Will the resistance fighters accomplish their mission or will they be thwarted by the assassins going after them?
“Assassination” is presented in 1080p High Definition and in 2:39:1 aspect ratio. Picture quality is fantastic as the outdoor scenes look wonderful, closeups feature amazing detail. Skin tones are natural and I saw no problems with banding or artifacts.
“Assassination” looks fantastic in HD!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
As for the lossless audio, “Assassination” is presented in Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and for an action film, one can expect a good number of immersive scenes that really do a good job in utilizing the surround channels. Dialogue, music, gun shots, explosions…all are crystal clear and sound fantastic!
Subtitles are in English SDH.
“Assassination” comes with no special features.
When it comes to Asian live-action films, we are starting to see more and more action films that are showcasing more gun and knife battles versus martial arts films (which we are starting to see more from Indonesia and Thailand).
May they be gang films, war films, we have seen a growth of Asian live action films which tend to have a strong anti-Imperial Japan sentiment due to the atrocities committed in the past by the country towards China and Korea.
And for Korea, the pain between both Korea and Japan still exist, but fortunately, the pop culture are bringing people more closer together, while politics continues to rear its ugly head for both countries today.
With “Assassination”, this film rings clear of those pains during a time when Japan occupied Korea, Korean rebels and activists plotted to overthrow Japan and unfortunately, it was a troubling time, especially in the late 1890’s with the assassination of Empress Myeongseong and also the Kempeitai, military police who were known for their brutal tactics.
The film quickly establishes how Korean activists and rebels plotted to assassinated major Imperial Japanese dignitaries, but also had Koreans who were in it for the money and worked against their own people.
We are introduced to Yeom Seok-jin’s character Lee Jung-jae, a Korean activist who’s attempt to assassinate a Japanese governor ends with him being shot multiple times and receiving prison time, while another Korean activist, wife of a man who sells his services to the Japanese and mother of two infant twins, is killed courtesy of an order by her husband for working against him.
Fast forward years later and Lee Jung-jae escapes from prison and organizes a rag tag group of assassins who must work together in pulling off a major assassination.
But unfortunately, one of these people are secretly working with the Japanese and the goal is to actually destroy any Korean rebels who pose a threat to Imperial Japan.
Actress Jun Ji-hyun does a wonderful job playing a dual role as Ahn Ok-yun and Mitsuko, the twin daughters of the woman assassinated during Yeom Seok-Jin’s first assassination attempt.
Jun Ji-hyun has always proved herself to undertake any role, emotional or even action-based and give a fine performance. Ahn Ok-yun was raised with the Korean rebels and is a sniper, who killed her superior and was literally raised to be a killer. She is unaware that she has a twin sister, who was raised with a lavish lifestyle with her father, Kang In-gook the Japanese sympathizer who had his wife killed at the beginning of the film.
Fans of “Il Mare” will love the fact that Yeom Seok-Jin and Jun Ji-hyun are reunited in a film together (their last collaboration was in 2012’s “The Thieves”). But unfortunately, their characters are not together all that much. So, while it’s great to see them in this film, fans of “Il Mare” should not expect too much of their latest collaboration together. And this is not a romantic film, so no one should have any romantic expectations between these two talents.
Throw in a group which includes Chu Sang-ok a.k.a. “Big Gun” who is wonderful with weapons and his cellmate Hwang Deok-sam, an explosives specialists and these three are set to cause some major havok.
Meanwhile, two other assassins, “Hawaii Pistol” and “Old Man” come into play, but are they friend or foe.
“Assassination” is a captivating, action film featuring plenty of action and drama but also features one of the slickest productions I have seen in a Korean action film and the pacing of the film, the acting and the surprises really make this an exciting film worth watching.
The Blu-ray release looks and sounds magnificent and while there are no special features but a single trailer, I still recommend people on watching the film.
Overall, “Assassination” is one of more exciting Korean action films that I watched in 2015. And it’s no surprise to me that the film did amazingly well in Korea and is the top grossing Korean film for the year. Featuring an exciting storyline and wonderful acting, “Assassination” is a film that I highly recommend!
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