Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 18th, 2013
BluRay released: July 23rd, 2013
Approximate running time: 135 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Korean, Dolby Digital Stereo Korean
BluRay Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
It was only a matter of time before Korean filmmakers put their imprint on the gangster film genre which had already achieved worldwide success in other Asian countries, like the Yakuza film in Japan and heroic bloodshed from Hong Kong cinema’s golden age of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.
Needless to say there is a rich history of gangster themed cinema that hails from all regions of Asian and not just from those aforementioned countries. And though there have been elements that one would associate in previous Korean films -most notably Man from Nowhere. None come close to putting their definitive imprint on the genre like New World.
Content wise the film that New World most resembles is Infernal Affairs. Narrative wise New World is an intricately laid out plot that fully exploits this film’s two hour plus running time and then some. All of the characters which populate this film are fully fleshed out and all of their motivations are crystal clear, even if they try to disguise from each other their true intentions. In all there is a lot of ground that is covered in this film and the rich detailed characters and superb performances of said characters reinforce the events which unfold in this film.
Pacing is never issues as the film’s moves a good and at times brisk pace that gives you just enough time to digest that terrifying revelation. Other areas of the production where this film’s excels are its rock solid visuals and it’s gruesome moments of bloodshed. Two scenes instantly pop into my mind in regard to the latter. The first moment involves a female informant who’s body is delivered to a mob boss bludgeoned, still alive and crammed into an oil drum. The other scene involves the attempted assassination of a mob boss where the bulk of the mayhem takes places in a elevator. This latter sequences is at times reminiscent of a gruesome hallway sequence from the movie Oldboy.
Overall though there are obviously going to be comparisons made between New World and Infernal Affairs and any number of other gangster films. The end result is a extraordinary film that stands on its own, quickly draws you into its brutal reality and will leave you speechless by its last shocking revelation.
New World comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. This yet another strong transfer that has accurate looking colors and flesh tones, black and contrast levels look consistently great and 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. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles. Both audio mixes sound very good. Dialog always comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film, a picture gallery and a brief ‘Making of’ featurette (4 minutes 23 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Korean with English subtitles) that features a handful of candid on set moments. Rounding out the extras are trailers for other titles also available from Well Go USA. Overall New World gets a first rate audio / video presentation from Well Go USA.
Note: This film is also being released by Well Go USA on DVD.