Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 23rd, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: South Korea, 2014
Director: Seong-hoon Kim
Writers: Seong-hoon Kim, Hae-jun Lee
Cast: Sun-kyun Lee, Jang In-sub, Man-sik Jeong, Jin-woong Jo, Dong-Young Kim, Bo-gum Park, Dong-mi Shin, Jeong-geun Sin
BluRay released: November 24th, 2015
Approximate running time: 111 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Korean, DTS-HD Stereo Korean
BluRay Release: Kino Lorber
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: Distraught and drunk on the way to his mother’s funeral, a crooked homicide detective accidently hits a man with his car. In a moment of panic he decides that it is best for him to flee the scene of crime and act like this tragic event never happened. Unknown to the homicide detective is that there was a witness to his crime and now he homicide detective finds himself at the mercy of a blackmailer.
When one thinks of law enforcement themed movies, the majority of them are firmly rooted in good verse evil angle. Fortunately there are always going to be films that goes against the norm and try to give this genre a much needed jolt in the arm. Case in point, A Hard Day a film where there are no grey areas and it is crystal clear to all things related right wrong.
Everything begins and starts with this film’s protagonist. And it is quickly established that he is someone who uses his position as a law enforcement officer to help him in his own criminal activities. And as the film narrative starts to evolve it becomes apparent why he does not involve he co-workers in his latest moment of indiscretion. They are all currently under investigation and he is not sure who he can fully trust. Things get more complicated when he discovers who the man was that he hit with his car and when it comes to getting rid of his blackmailer, it is more than just a simple payoff. There is a personal connection between the dead man and the blackmailer. Needless to say it has to do with something greatly damage the blackmailers’ reputation.
Structurally the first act establishes the main players, while the middle act is a kind of cat and mouse game between the homicide detective and his blackmailer. And by the time the final act rolls around everything is clicking on all cylinders. With a well-executed final showdown that will leave you breathless.
When compared to other South Korean thrillers the tone of this film is in direct contrast with them. With it use of humor to lighten up the mood, being one of its greatest assets. And when it comes to this film’s depiction of violence it is considerably toned down when compared to other South Korean thrillers. For a perfect example of how this film establishes tension. Look no further than the scene where he protagonist is about to say his final goodbyes to his mother and he needs to use her casket to hide the corpse of the man he ran over.
Though the cast all are good in their respective roles. This film sinks of swims on two performances, Sun-kyun Lee (Petty Romance) in the role of Go Geon-soo, the homicide detective that is being blackmailed and Jin-woong Jo (Kundo) in the role of the blackmailer. With the scenes where they interact are by far and away the most intense moments in the film. And perhaps this film’s greatest assets is the sympathy that Sun-kyun Lee is able to obtain for such an unlikable character.
A Hard Day comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Colors and flesh tones look accurate. Black levels look solid and details always look crisp. Also there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Korean and a DTS-HD stereo mix in Korean. Both audio mixes sound great and they both provide solid audio experiences with their tremendous amount of range and depth. Dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced. Also included with this release are removable English Subtitles.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (1 minute 36 seconds, in Korean with English subtitles), nine deleted scenes (23 minutes 21 seconds, in Korean with English subtitles), two featurettes – the first featurette titled ‘Bad V.s Worst’ (7 minutes 24 seconds, in Korean with English subtitles) and the second featurette titled ‘The Making of a Hard Day’ (17 minutes 29 seconds, in Korean with English subtitles).
Topics discussed in the extra titled ‘Bad V.s Worst’ include, the premise of the film, the characters which they portray, adding a bit of reality and comedy to counterbalance the more prevalent darker tone and the directors’ expectations from his cast.
Topics discussed in the extra titled ‘The Making of a Hard Day’ include, the director reveals what inspired him to make this film and key scenes from the film are discussed in depth.
Overall A Hard Day gets a first rate release from Kino Lorber.
Note: Kino Lorber are also releasing this film on DVD.