Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 8th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: South Korea, 2013
Director: Kyung-Taek Kwak
Writer: Kyung-Taek Kwak
Cast: Oh-seong Yu, Jin-mo Ju, Woo-bin Kim, Ho-bin Jeong
DVD Released: September 16th 2014
Approximate Running Time: 121 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.75:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Korean, Dolby Digital Stereo Korean, Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: CJ Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $26.98
Friend 2: The Legacy picks up seventeen years after its predecessor. And this time around the plot focuses a trouble young man named Choi Sung Hun, whose life is on a downward spiral. One day his mother reaches out to an old friend named Lee Jeong Suk, who is serving time in prison for killing his childhood friend Choi Sung Hun’s father. From there these two form a bound as Lee Jeong Suk becomes Choi Sung Hun’s mentor and eventually makes him his right hand man when it comes time for him to reclaim his position of power that he once had before going away to prison.
Friend 2: The Legacy was written and directed by Kyung-Taek Kwak whose other notable films include Friend and Eye for an Eye. And though several characters return from Friend, this film is not merely a rehash of what has come before. Sure themes about brotherhood and loyalty run throughout this film and yet in the end this is not the underlying message of this film. This time around the overriding theme throughout this film’s narrative is regret. And nowhere is this more evident than in the relationship between Lee Jeong Suk and Choi Sung Hun. Also each character have their own cross to bear in regard to their regrets. Lee Jeong Suk wants to make amends for killing Choi Sung Hun’s father, while Choi Sung Hun regret is that he was not there for a friend who ultimately died because of his absence. Another reason why their relationship resonates as deeply as its does it because until very late in the film when Choi Sung Hun that he discovers that Lee Jeong Suk killed his father.
From a production stand point the visuals are consistently strong, pacing is never an issue and when it comes to moments of carnage things are sufficiently gory and at times brutal. One of this film’s key moments of violence involves a chainsaw that is used to hack off body parts a driver and the man opposing Lee Jeong Suk for control over the gang. This is just one of a handful of violent set pieces which perfectly offset this films more dramatic moments.
Without a doubt this film’s most durable asset are performances of its cast, especially the solid performances from Oh-seong Yu (Friend) in the role of Lee Jeong Suk and Woo-bin Kim in the role of Choi Sung Hun.
When it comes to sequels it is difficult not to be overshadow by your predecessor. And when said sequels relies too much on what has come before them, instead of bringing something new to the table. Fortunately Friend 2: The Legacy manages to avoid both of these familiar traps and delivers something that not only stands on its own, but something that expands upon the universe laid out by its predecessor.
CJ Entertainment Friend 2: The Legacy in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. Colors look nicely saturated, black levels look consistently strong, details look crisp and there are no issues with compression.
This release becomes with four audio options, a Dolby Digital 5.1 and stereo in Korean and Dolby Digital 5.1 and stereo in English. Audio four mixes sound clean, clear and balanced throughout. Range wise the 5.1 mixes offer a slightly fuller sound experience then the stereo mixes. Of course watching this film in its native Korean is a must and the two English audio tracks have that all to familiar canned sound to them. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras include three brief ‘Making of’ segments, the first one titled ‘Characters’ (4 minutes 28 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Korean with English subtitles), the second one titled ‘Making of Friend 2’ (3 minutes 2 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Korean with English subtitles) and the third one titled ‘Cast & Crew Interviews’ (2 minutes 11 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Korean with English subtitles). Topics discussed include the character they portray and their thoughts on the film. Rounding out the extras are trailers for Fists of Legend, The Berlin File and Windsight. Overall Friend 2: The Legacy gets a strong release from CJ Entertainment.