For the Emperor (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 5, 2015 by  


“For the Emperor” is a film that could have been much better.  But the writing focuses too much on violent action and its storyline doesn’t get stronger but actually becomes weaker for its second half.  But for those looking for a violent popcorn action Korean film, may find “For the Emperor” to their liking.

Images courtesy of © 2015 Well Go USA. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: For the Emperor


DURATION: 105 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 16:9, Korean 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment


Release Date: July 7, 2015

Directed by Sang Jun Park

Screenplay by Yong-soo Lee

Based on the Comic Book by Seong-Dong Kim

Producer: Tae-hun Lee

Music by Dalparan, Peach

Cinematography by Taek Gyun Cha

Edited by Changju Kim, Kyoung-sook Park

Production Design by Je Heyon Park

Costume Design by Na-ry Son


Jae-young Han as Tae-Moo

Jae-won Lee as Kyung-Soo

Min-ki Lee as Lee Hwan

Tae-im Lee as Cha Yeon Soo

Sung Woong Park as Jung Sang Ha

A disgraced pro baseball player goes to work for a mob-connected loan shark, rising through the ranks of money and power. But when his love interest disappears, he finds himself in a deadly battle of wits against his bloodthirsty mentor.


For those looking for violent and action-driven films will enjoy the knife-wielding, bloody crime drama “For the Emperor”.

Directed by Sang Jun Park, “For the Emperor” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment in July 2015.

The film revolves around Lee Hwan (portrayed by Min-ki Lee), a professional baseball player who has been throwing games for payday by underground crime gangs.  But after being caught and arrested, he is forced to quit his career.

But for Lee Hwan, his passion has always been making money which leads him to working for loan shark Jung Sang Ha (portrayed by Sung Woong Park), a man who becomes Hwan’s mentor.

Not afraid of getting into the fray of hurting people who owe money or killing his rivals with a knife, Lee Hwan wants to grow in the ranks of the criminal group, but life changes for him when the woman he loves, goes missing and pits him against his mentor.



“For the Emperor” is presented in 1080p High Definition. Picture quality is very good as closeups showcase great detail on the skin of characters. Some scenes have an earthy tone, while others are colder, but picture quality features skin tones that are natural, I saw no problems with banding issues or artifacts.

If anything, “For the Emperor” looks great on Blu-ray!


“For the Emperor” is presented in Korean 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and stereo with English subtitles. Because of the amount of action in this film, one can expect to hear a lot of knifing and that distinct sound when someone is stabbed, the groans of people who have been hurt or are being thrown to a gate or over a table to crystal clear dialogue.  While not entirely immersive, the loss audio does utilize surround channels well, when it needs to.


“For the Emperor” comes with a theatrical trailer of the film.


With Korean films, it’s becoming the norm to see violent and bloody action, especially involving knives and people getting stabbed.

While the storyline of underground or gang wars have been common storytelling of Hong Kong cinema for many decades, “For the Emperor” is a storyline inspired by a comic book and for the most part, director Sang Jun Park focuses on creating a bloody, violent popcorn action film.

“For the Emperor” focuses on a former pro baseball player named Lee Hwan who is highly touted as a pitcher but loses games in order to get paid big money.

After being caught by police, losing his career, he becomes an employee of a major loan shark and eventually rising the ranks because he is no-nonsense, he is an excellent and violent fighter and he has what it takes to grow the ranks in the organization.

Problem is that he is growing too quickly and his mentor, his boss Jeong Sang-ha is not too thrilled about it.  Also, for the fact that Lee Hwan’s focus has been too much on Madame Cha (portrayed by Lee Tae-im).

When Madame Cha goes missing, this becomes a rival between Lee Hwan and Jeong Sang-ha.

While the film gets high marks for its use of violence and knives aplenty, it’s a weak attempt storyline wise when compared to Jeong-beom Lee’s “The Man from Nowhere” and “No Tears for the Dead”.  It’s a film with no ultimate resolution, you are left with a “is that it?” type of feeling and felt that its potential was robbed due to a storyline that really never resolves anything, which is disappointing.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is quite solid and close-ups show great detail.  Lossless audio was good considering all the action featured, especially the many stabbings there are in the film.  For special features, only a theatrical trailer is included.

Overall, “For the Emperor” is a film that could have been much better.  But the writing focuses too much on violent action and its storyline doesn’t get stronger but actually becomes weaker for its second half.  But for those looking for a violent popcorn action Korean film, may find “For the Emperor” to their liking.

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