Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 22nd, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: South Korea, 2011
Director: Han-min Kim
Writer: Han-min Kim
Cast: Hae-il Park, Seung-yong Ryoo, Moon Chae-Won, Mu-Yeol Kim, Han-wi Lee, Kyeong-yeong Lee, Gi-woong Park, Rye Hei Otani
BluRay released: February 21st, 2012
Approximate running time: 123 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Korean, Dolby Digital Stereo Korean, DTS-HD 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English
BluRay Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
The film is set during the early part of the 17th century and the plot revolves around the second Manchurian invasion of Korea. And while this epic tale about honor and revenge does feature many of the trappings of a historical drama. This never becomes an issue, since the film actually relies more on the more action oriented aspects of the story at hand.
Pacing is never an issue, as things open with a bang and the momentum continues to build at a break neck speed, right up to this film’s bittersweet conclusion. Others areas in which this film excels are its picturesque cinematography and of course its extraordinary action set pieces. Most notably a scene in which the film’s protagonist Nam-Yi, the son of a expert archer, who was framed a traitor. During this scene he is being pursued by Manchurian warriors, who are out for his blood, since he assassinated their prince. This chase unfolds over treacherous landscapes that both hinder and help him allude those trying to kill him.
The only area that does not came away unscathed in this production is the lack of depth when it comes to the characters that populate this story. Fortunately the performances from the entire cast are all very good and in the case of Hae-il Park (The Host) in the role of Nam-Yi, he gives a pitch perfect performance that is utterly convincing. Ultimately War of the Arrows is a thrilling ride that never strays too far away from its bread and butter, its action set pieces.
War of the Arrows comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Details look sharp, black and contrast levels look consistently good throughout. In all this is a very good transfer that keeps DNR in check. Also any issues involving compression are very mild and never to intrusive.
This release comes with four audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Korean, a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in Korean, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in English. All four audio options are clear and balanced throughout. With the two DTS-HD 5.1 mixes being by far and away the strongest audio tracks. These two lossless audio mixes take full advantage of the full sonic field. Ambient sounds are well represented and the audio sounds sufficiently robust when its needs too. Overall audiophiles should be very happy with these two lossless audio mixes. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and error free.
Extras for this release include two trailers for the film, a brief segment that contains ‘highlights’ from the film and a four minute ‘Behind the Scenes’ segment. What extra content that has been included with this release, barely touches upon any of the various aspects of this production. Also include with this release are trailers for other titles also available from Well Go USA. Overall War of the Arrows gets a strong audio / video presentation from Well Go USA.
Note: Also included with this combo release is a DVD copy that has all the contents that are included on the BluRay counterpart.