Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 24th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: South Korea, 2014
Director: Jong-bin Yun
Writer: Cheol-Hong Jeon
Cast: Jung-woo Ha, Ye-ri Han, Man-shik Jeong, Dong-won Kang, Hae-suk Kim, Seong-gyoon Kim, Kyeong-yeong Lee, Sung-min Lee, Dong-seok Ma, Ji-hye Yun
BluRay released: October 21st, 2014
Approximate running time: 138 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Korean, Dolby Digital Stereo Korean
BluRay Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $24.98
Synopsis: Unable to defend themselves against an unjust noble who rules his territory with an iron fist, a group of militia trained bandits take it upon themselves to remove said noble from his position of power.
Content wise, this film is equal parts Spaghetti western and Wuxia film. And though the premise is your basic good verse evil scenario. The end result is anything remotely basic since the film is filed with richly detailed characters who ensues that this film is going to hold your attention.
Besides the aforementioned Spaghetti western and Wuxia influences. There is a hint of Robin Hood in there somewhere and most importantly this yet another well laid tale rooted revenge, something that has become synonymous with South Korean cinema.
Narrative wise this film covers a lot of ground over the course of its two hours plus running time. The first act is spent introducing who everyone is and what their motivations are? While the second act shifts the focus towards the bandits plot to eliminate once and for all the unjust nobleman. And the final acts wraps everything up nicely as their plan is set in motion and along the way they have one more obstacle to overcome until the final showdown that will decide everything arrives.
From a production stand point the visuals look great throughout, pacing is never an issue and the fight sequences are rock solid in execution. A few of the standout action moments include the bandits invading the nobleman’s home and drawing him out into the open. And the film’s final showdown which includes what is arguably this film’s most iconic moment, a bandit named Dolmuchi arrives at the nobleman’s place with a Gatling gun on a cart and starts to pickoff one by one the noblemen’s guards, while Riz Ortolani’s Days of Anger (I Giorni Dell’ Ira) plays in the background.
Performance wise the entire cast an all very good in the respective roles, with this film’s standout performance coming from Jung-woo Ha (The Chaser) in the role of Dolmuchi. His does a remarkable job conveying the anger that drives his characters whose mother and sister where killed by the nobleman.
Another performance of note is Dong-won Kang in the role of the nobleman that is oppressing his people. Another fascinating layer to this character is that he is the illegitimate heir that has obtained his position of power by removing all male heirs with any bloods ties to his family. Ultimately Kundo is exceptional films that finds that perfect balance between melodrama and high octane action set pieces.
Kundo comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, black and contrast levels look very good and details look crisp throughout. 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 Dolby Digital Stereo mix in Korean. Both audio mixes sound clear and balanced throughout. And range wise the DTS-HD 5.1 does a superb job with not only the action heavy moments, but also the more ambient driven moments. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras are limited to a trailer for the film and trailers for other titles also or soon to be released by Well Go USA. Overall Kundo gets a solid audio / video presentation from Well Go USA.
Note: This film is also being released by Well Go USA on DVD.