The DVD equivalent of the multipack individual cereal sets where one will find at least one box they enjoy and there really isn't a horrible choice in the set.
What They Say
This action pack contains Yeseterday, Marrying the Mafia, Jail Breakers, and Guns & Talks.
All 4 films were previously released as singles and gathered together for this set. They all include Korean 2.0 tracks and English 5.1. For the purpose of this review the Korean tracks were used they were pretty uniform in being standard 2.0 tracks that were free of dropouts and distortions with the dialogue coming from the center speaker.
The video varied a bit from title to title. For Yesterday the film has a fair amount of print damage; there is a heavy grain present and some minor color bleed to be found. Marrying the Mafia has lots of film grain, some minor print damage as well as minor color blur and aliasing can be found. Jail Breakers is not the anamorphic widescreen advertised like the other films and it has print damage and a good deal of grain. Guns & Talks has a fair amount of print damage as well as heavy grain present and some minor color bleed to be found.
The packaging is by far the weakest part of this release. The cover features a machine gun with a sketched grenade on a gun metal grey back ground with some black lines and spots for some contrast as well as the title. It is terribly unimaginative and not even greatly representative as machine guns aren't present in all the movies. The back features the shots from the individual films as ADV originally released them. The packaging itself is a StackPak and uses a small brick of foam to keep the discs from popping off.
The menu for Yesterday features a grid pattern for its background with scenes and a track from the feature playing in the background. The menu itself is very prompt when moving it and selections are brought up quickly. Marrying the Mafia's menu features a picture of the main two characters n the upper part as he has a confused look on his face and is seen in profile while she is facing the screen and has a look of shear overwhelm on her face. The opening instrumental piece from the feature plays in the background and the lower part of the screen has a thick painted looking red line separating the picture from the mostly black strip that contains the options. The menu is quick to respond to selections and choices are noted by what looks like a knife icon. Jail Breakers menu features the original release cover, and has high energy music playing in the background. The menu is quick to respond and uses arrows to indicate what the selections are. Guns & Talks menu features the four main men each in an individual vertical stripe with the graphic of a gun sight's crosshairs in the center. The menu is quick to move with the selected choice and it uses a bullet hole to show which option is currently selected.
The extras to be found on Yesterday are the Original Korean Trailer, Movie Highlights, a Making of Feature and Interviews with the Korean cast and crew. Guns & Talks' only extra is the English trailer for the film. Neither Marrying the Mafia nor Jail Breakers discs contain extras.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The feature opens with the kidnapping of a young boy being called into a priest who knows him well. The kidnapper wants the priest to come to talk to him but before he can get there a special response team lead by the boy's father Suk arrive. Despite the teams skill and following of the book the kidnapper is one step ahead of them and a terrible tragedy occurs. One year later Suk is still dealing with the repercussions of that day and the mess his life has become. He still is looking for answers and trying to find the priest who raised him and vanished right after that incident.
At the same time there are a series of murders taking place where all but a few are unable to connect the victims together. As Suk gains the help of the daughter of the recently murdered police commissioner as he tries to find the man responsible. As they dig further into the commissioner's murder they start to discover the links to the other murders and what the mysterious connection to the incident a year ago maybe. Even more they may discover that the underlying connect reaches far deeper into their past and also of the governments activities than they could ever have believed at the one set of their search.
Mania Grade: B-
Marrying the Mafia
A couple of strangers wake up to find themselves in bed together and with no knowledge of who the other is or how they got there. As tempers fair and accusations fly they part ways with him giving her his business card as he wants the clothes he lent her back. As he is seeing her off his long time girlfriend drives up and seems to be OK with his seeming dalliance. If that was his only problem he would be alright but it turns out the woman is the only daughter of a powerful mafia boss and has three hot tempered brothers. Given the situation he found himself in he is encouraged to make an honest woman of their sister.
It turns out her father is thrilled with the arrangement as neither he nor his sons are that bright but the would-be groom is a computer security expert. As the would-be groom and reluctant bride go to great lengths to prove that nothing happened during the night they cannot remember they are forced together to deal with her family. During this the would-be groom finds himself both having to use her families influence to get him out of a pinch and having to spend time with her as they attempt to figure out what has happened and how to get out of this wedding neither wants. Though thanks to some work by her brothers and time spent together may it turn out that getting away from each other isn't what they really want?
Mania Grade C-
Six years ago Moo-Suk had an accident while doing his bike delivery job. Unable to work he descends on a food vendors cart while starving and is thrown in prison. From the moment he was thrown in he suddenly learned the importance of freedom in his life and was caught multiple times trying to escape. During work detail one day he finds a spoon and crafts a new plan-seeming to have found religion and become a changed man he spends every night slowly digging his way out of prison. Meanwhile a fellow prisoner named Jae-pil who has been mocking his years of effort suddenly discovers that the woman he loves is set to marry another man and he needs to escape now. Both men risk their lives in an unstable tunnel and make it to freedom.
The only catch is that it turns out they are scheduled to get amnesty-and no one told them. Now Moo-Suk has to figure out how to convince Jae-pil to break back into prison as the guards are desperate to keep their jobs and are willing to overlook the escape if the two return and the prison can cover it up. Things escalate as the prison is scheduled to have a contingent of high ranking government official's visit. And even if the two do make it back in somehow they may have a problem of an uprising by prisoners who feel they finally can get justice on the system to quell in order to get their amnesty. Breaking out of prison may turn out to have been the easiest way for Moo-Suk and Jae-pil to gain their freedom.
Mania Grade: B
Guns & Talks
On a cold day a lone man waits along a deserted stretch of road. A car passes him then stops and he walks and sits in the back seat. The woman behind the wheel assures the man she is alone and he needn't worry. She then proceeds to say that there is someone she needs killed. With this into the film advances and we are introduced to the four man assassination team the film will follow. The team includes the marksman who confesses his sins after the job, the hot head former marathon runner with a lousy sense of direction, the man from the road earlier is the boss and the final member is the narrator and the boss's younger brother. These four men are not very bright but they are meticulous planers and with the help of an old family friend they have a vast array of tools to carry out their trade.
The film shows them carrying out their latest job which due to the men they kill being sought by the police as witnesses to bring down a high ranking criminal. This mission has the unfortunate side effect of bringing them to the attention of a zealous and clever public defender. Now they are being watched by the police, stalked by a high school student who wants her teacher who slept with her then abandoned her dead and one of their members falling in love with one of their targets. If that isn't enough trouble, they have been asked to carry out their most difficult task yet by a client they can't say 'no' to. The four find themselves in trouble from a multitude of fronts and may find they need more than luck to escape-but the rewards they discover maybe more than they had previously ever imagined.
Mania Grade: B
For this collection ADV gather together four films whose common themes only seem to be they are Korean and were licensed by ADV. This leads to a set that doesn't have a central theme but is more of a combination platter of different choices. While not all the films are as good as the others (Marrying the Mafia being the biggest bust in this regard) the films do have their fair share of action and entertainment value. Yesterday is a stylishly done futuristic crime story with a heavy mystery element. Marrying the Mafia attempts to mix romance, comedy and action in a manner that poorly serves the whole as the story lacks a central focus and thus no one of its different themes gets fully served. Jail Breakers is a comedy that has some dramatic as well that serves well for the story of a man obsessed with freedom and what becomes his reluctant partner who is just obsessed with the women he loves and the bizarre consequences to both them and the prison as a result of their escape. Guns & Talks is an interesting look at four men who are incredible talented at the art of assassination despite their rather limited brain power. The film really clicks as they go from their super smooth operation to having to deal with the multiple complications that start to happen as they are ferreted out by a dogged public defender and also their own run ins with romance.
Asian Action Pack is an example of the great value that can be had when a company collects four of the films in their library into a single set. While not every title will play as well with everyone the variety here makes it easier to find at least one title among the four that will make the purchase seem very worthwhile and the set contains a few strong contenders for that role. This is a fun set that is rather easy to recommend to those who like some comedy with their action or a good futuristic crime story.
English 5.1 Language, Korean 2.0Language, English Subtitles
Samsung 50" Plasma HDTV, Denon AVR-790 Receiver with 5.1 Sony Surround Sound Speakers, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080.