Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 23rd, 2014
BluRay released: December 23rd, 2014
Approximate running time: 111 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 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: $29.98
Synopsis: There was a time when Yeong-gyoo was the best Organ dealer / smuggler. Along the way tragedy would intervene and he would leave the business he once ruled behind for a simpler low risk existence that allowed him complete control. Unfortunately for him his past would come back to haunt him, when a young woman he has strong feelings for goes to a notorious loan shark and borrows money for her fathers’ much needed operation. Reluctantly he agrees to return to his former trade one last time with the agreement that the young woman’s debt for her fathers’ operation will be wiped clean. Will they uphold their end of the bargain or has he just made a deal with the devil?
The key to understanding this film’s protagonist Yeong-gyoo and his motivations come down to one scene which opens the film via a flashback. The outcome of this moment has left an undeniable mark on psyche. Fortunately for this character he is given not one but two opportunities at redemption.
Structurally the first half of the film follows Yeong-gyoo exploits as a leader of a trafficking ring that only does jobs that have a low level of risk. Running concurrently to this plot is subplot involving a young woman named Yoo-ri, who’s gravely ill father desperately needs an organ transplant to survive. These two stories insect throughout the film because Young-Gyu has developed a strong attachment to her, even though she continually tries to push him away.
After a little bit more character development, things start really hit their stride by the second half of the film which takes place primarily on a cruise ship. It is on this ship that Yeong-gyoo is going to assist in his last organ removal and transplant. That is until he recognizes the woman that they want to take the organ’s from. To reveal much more would ruin this film’s final surprise and resolution.
From a production stand point pacing is never an issue as things move along briskly from revelation to the next. The film’s visuals do a great job establishing and maintaining the mood. And though this film is a character driven film, when there are moments of violence these are all well executed and sufficiently bloody.
This film’s standout performance comes from Chang Jung Lim (Sex is Zero) who gives a superb performance in the role of this film’s protagonist a conflicted trafficker named Yeong-gyoo. In a film filled with unlikable characters with questionable morals it is hard to empathize with the majority of the characters because of this. Fortunately Yeong-gyoo is one of a few characters which show growth in this film and by the end of the film he has literally transformed into a new man. Another performance of note include Daniel Choi in the role of Sang-ho, a young man on the cruise shop with his disabled wife named Chae-hee. She is also the character that is abducted in the middle of the night by Yeong-gyoo and his gang of organ smugglers.
Redemption, revenge and a little of bit of Strangers on a Train, all play a part in this meticulously laid out melodrama about a crime syndicate of traffickers.
Traffickers comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Aesthetically this is not that flashy of a film as it tries to retain a natural look that echoes its surroundings. With that being said, flesh tones and colors look accurate and the only time colors really catch your eye is when blood starts too flow. Back and contrast levels look consistently strong throughout. Details always look crisp 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. Dialog comes through clearly and the more ambient sounds are well represented throughout. Range wise things sound very good and appropriately robust, especially during more action driven moments. There are no issues with distortion and everything sounds balanced. Overall both audio mixes sound great. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release are limited to trailer for the film and trailers for other titles also available from Well Go USA. Overall Well Go USA gives Traffickers a solid audio / presentation.
Note: This film is also being released by Well Go USA on DVD.