The Tiger (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
August 7, 2016 by Dennis Amith
Hoon-jung Park’s “The Tiger” is an amazing, yet violent film that features a wonderful performance by actor Choi Min-shik. And the collaboration of both men have no doubt led to creation of a unique and wonderful film. Highly recommended!
© 2015 NEXT ENTERTAINMENT WORLD & SANAI PICTURES. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: The Tiger
YEAR OF FILM: 2015
DURATION: 140 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Dub, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment
Release Date: August 9, 2016
Directed by Hoon-jung Park
Written by Hoon-jung Park
Produced by Min-jung Park
Executive-Producer: Jae-Duk Han
Line Producer: Minkyung Shin
Cinematography by Moo-gae Lee
Music by Yeong-wook Jo
Art Direction: Hwa-sung Cho
Costume Design by Sang-gyeong Jo
Min-sik Choi as Chun Man-duk
Man-sik Jeong as Goo-gyeong
Sang-ho Kim as Chil-goo
Eun-woo Lee as Mai-nyeon
Mi-ran Ra as Chil-goo’s wife
Hyun Seung-min as Sun-yi
Yoo-bin Sung as Suk-yi
Jung Suk Won as Military Officer Ryu
Ren Osugi as Govt. Official Maezono
Hong-pa Kim as Herbal shop owner
An ex-sharpshooter for the Kingdom of Korea (CHOI Min-sik, OLDBOY) is hunting the country’s last tiger. But Japanese forces and vicious local poachers also seek “The Four-Legged Mountain Lord,” and will stop at nothing to claim their prey.
From filmmaker Hoon-jung Park (“The Showdown”, “New World”) comes his latest film “The Tiger”.
Starring veteran Min-sik Choi (“Oldboy”, “I Saw the Devil”, “Lucy”, “Lady Vengeance”), Man-sik Jeong (“Miracle in Cell No. 7”, “Veteran”, “Breathless”), Sang-ho Kim (“Sea Fog”, “The Happy Life”, “The Big Swindler”), Eun-woo Lee (“Moebius”, “Gyeongju”, “Romantic Heaven”), Ren Osugi (“Fireworks”, “The Twilight Samurai”, “Audition”, “Sonatine”) and Yoo-Bin Sung.
And now, “The Tiger” will be available on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment.
The film begins in 1925. Living in the mountains in Mt. Jirisan is Chun Man-duk (portrayed by Min-shik Choi), a man who hunts for food for his wife and son and has a reputation for being one of Korea’s top shooters.
One day, while hunting, Chun Man-duk went hunting and comes across a tiger and shoots it.
Fastforward, more than a decade later, during a time when Korea is now occupied by Japan.
The Japanese High Government Official Maezono are after the illusive great tiger of Mt. Jirisan and pressures Japanese Military Officer Ryu (portrayed by Jung Suk-won) to capture the tiger.
Meanwhile, hunters led by Goo-Gyeong (portrayed by Jung Man-sik) have been trying to capture the “one-eyed tiger” but only have been able to kill its mate and two cubs.
And as Maezono is to go back to Japan, he orders his Japanese Military Officer Ryu to get the one-eyed tiger immediately before he leaves.
The Japanese military wants Chun Man-duk to capture it for its skin but for some reason, he no longer hunts and prefers to live in a hut raising his 16-year-old son Syeok (portrayed by Sung Yoo-bin).
Each time Syeok asks his father about the Japanese going after tigers, his father tells him about the mountain gods and refuses to discuss it.
The real reason is because one day, while hunters were trying to capture the one-eyed tiger, they led the tiger into town. As Chun-man Duk was trying to hunt for it, he accidentally shot and killed his wife instead. Thus the guilt has prevented him from hunting since that day and he has tried to keep the truth away from his son.
But for Syeok, when he finds out his girlfriend is being forced by her parents to marry another boy, because Syeok and his father are broke.
Determined to prove to his father that he is grown-up and can make his own money and hunt for the tiger, Syeko goes to Japanese Military Officer Ryu to join the hunting team led by Goo-Gyeong.
While they know the boy is to young and inexperienced, they feel that with Syeok joining, chances are that Chun Man-duk will be forced to help the hunters capture the tiger.
But what happens when Syeok joins the hunters in their major hunt for the one-eyed tiger?
“The Tiger” is presented in 1080p High Definition. As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is good as there is a good amount of grain. Upclose details are very good and skintones are natural (especially the scars on the hunters face or the snow-burned skin of certain individuals), black levels are nice and deep. Even the CG of the tigers are well-done and look realistic.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Tiger” is presented in Korean 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Dialogue is crystal clear, as with the musical score. There is great use of surround sound during the more action-driven scenes involving artillery blasts, gun shots, the sound of the pack of wolves or tigers growling. Lossless audio for this film is great!
Subtitles are in English.
“The Tiger” comes with a theatrical trailer.
When it comes to Korean cinema, I have grown accustomed to watching Min-sik Choi films and knowing that with each film, you are going to get something well-written, violent and sometimes, a film that can be quite dark.
While many will be familiar with Min-sik Choi films such as “Old Boy”, I think that I will remember the first time I watched Choi’s work through the film “Swiri” and with each film, I learned throughout the years, we are going to get something unique and different.
And with his latest film “The Tiger” directed by Hoon-jung Park (who is known for writing film such as “I Saw the Devil” and “The Unjust” and directing “New World”), the collaboration of both men is wonderful.
Without spoiling anything major about the film, the film revolves around the Japanese military expecting Korean hunters to kill and bring back the great one-eyed tiger.
Anyone who has tried, have been savagely killed by the tiger.
But for Japanese High Government Official Maezono, who is fascinated by tigers, before he leaves to Japan, he wants possession of the great tiger’s skin.
With Japanese Military Officer Ryu’s career on the line, he wants the hunters to do all that is necessary to catch the tiger.
But also knowing that one man, who is known for his shooting and hunting skills is important to be involved in the hunt group.
Unfortunately, that man, Chun Man-duk, has stopped hunting and is a family man raising his teenage son. For Chun Man-duk, he looks at hunting as the will of the mountain and appeasing the mountain gods, as many of the locals living in the mountains believe in as well.
But because Chun Man-duk has lived a life of poverty and is quite content with his lifestyle, his son Ryeok is not. Especially now that his girlfriend’s mother is wanting her daughter to marry a boy who comes from a family with money.
Wanting to prove that he is a man and that his father had taught him enough about hunting, Ryeok enlists himself with the Japanese military to join the hunters in their next major hunt for the great one-eyed tiger.
Again, I am not going to spoil the storyline at all, but I will say that director/writer Hoon-jung Park has taken great care in the storyline and not reduce it to any fluff or happy moments, but to show the savagery of hunting, the work of karma and for those who have researched or read traditional Asian stories about respecting the land or its gods, these details are interwoven with the storyline.
Protagonist Chun Man-duk is a man of the land and believes in the tales, while his son does not and just wants to live a normal life like everyone else and wants his father to not live this poor life, picking herbs.
It’s no doubt a struggle, not just with nature but any parent can see how either way is justified.
But what is interesting is how the film shows the mutual respect between Chun Man-duk and the great one-eyed tiger. And slowly giving viewers tidbits of information of this respect between man and beast but also knowing that karma works in unique ways.
The performance by actor Choi Min-shik is fantastic but credit should also be given to the direction by Hoon-jung Park, the cinematography by Mo-gae Lee but also the visual effects, especially its realistic looking tigers and wolves.
The Blu-ray release features fantastic picture quality and because the number of action sequences, including sequences involving artillery, these sound great for its lossless soundtrack. Unfortunately, there are no special features included but a theatrical trailer.
Overall, Hoon-jung Park’s “The Tiger” is an amazing, yet violent film that features a wonderful performance by actor Choi Min-shik. And the collaboration of both men have no doubt led to creation of a unique and wonderful film.
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