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Private Eye (DVD) (US Version) DVD Region 1

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Private Eye (DVD) (US Version)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Director Park Dae Min's greatly hyped 2009 period crime thriller Private Eye revolves around a serial murder case in early 20th-century Korea. Award-winning actor Hwang Jung Min (A Man Who Was Superman) plays a suave private detective chasing after the killer along with popular actress Uhm Ji Won (Epitaph) and up-and-coming actor Ryu Deok Hwan, last seen playing a serial murderer in Our Town. Set in 1910 Seoul, Private Eye plays on both style and suspense, writing a twist-filled murder mystery amid atmospheric period details.

Medical student Kwang Su (Ryu Deok Hwan) comes upon a corpse in the woods, and secretly uses it to practice dissection. But he's in deep water when it turns out the deceased is the son of a powerful politician. Afraid of getting blamed for the death, Kwang Su asks private detective Jin Ho (Hwang Jung Min) for help. A small-time PI who travels around resolving petty disputes, Jin Ho teams up with Kwang Su to try to track the real killer. They soon get a lead when another body shows up in the woods....

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Technical Information

Product Title: Private Eye (DVD) (US Version) Private Eye (DVD) (美國版) Private Eye (DVD) (美国版) 影の殺人 (DVD) (US版) 그림자 살인
Also known as: 影子殺人 影子杀人
Artist Name(s): Hwang Jung Min | Uhm Ji Won | Ryu Deok Hwan 黃 政民 | 嚴智媛 | 柳德煥 黄政民 | 严智媛 | 柳德焕 ファン・ジョンミン | オム・ジウォン | リュ・ドクファン 황 정민 | 엄지원 | 류덕환
Director: Park Dae Min Park Dae Min Park Dae Min Park Dae Min 박대민
Release Date: 2012-03-20
UPC Code: 825307928198
Language: Korean
Subtitles: English
Country of Origin: United States, South Korea
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 1 - USA, Canada, U.S. Territories What is it?
Package Weight: 95 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1030291600

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Private Eye (DVD) (US Version)"

September 10, 2009

This professional review refers to Private Eye (DVD) (2-Disc) (Korea Version)
Private Eye offers a twist on the recent trend of modern noir detective stories by adopting a period setting, making for a change from the usual tortured cops, car chases and neon alleyways. The film marks the debut outing for Korean director Park Dae Min, and was a high profile production, boasting an impressive cast including the award winning Hwang Jung Min (A Man Who Was Superman), young rising star Ryu Deok Hwan (who recently impressed as a murderer in Our Town) and popular actress Uhm Ji Won (also in the excellent horror opus Epitaph.

The film is set in Seoul in 1910, and begins as a young medical student called Kwang Su (Ryu Deok Hwan) discovers a corpse in the woods, and decides to take it home to use for anatomy practice. Unfortunately for him, the body turns out to be that of the missing son of a politician, who will stop at nothing to have him found. Understandably fearful of being accused of the killing, Kwang Su hires private detective Jin Ho (Hwang Jung Min) to track down the real murderer. Jin Ho takes on the case, which is a step up from his usual work tracking down cheating wives, though matters rapidly become more complicated as further bodies turns up and it becomes clear that there is a deadly conspiracy afoot.

The central mystery of Private Eye is an engaging one, essential for this type of film, and though it progresses via a series of well-timed revelations rather than thanks to any real detective work on Jin Ho's part, it manages to keep the viewer interested. There are a number of twists and turns, some of which are predictable and a few of which are pleasingly left-field, and Park does a good job of switching the focus from the question of "who?" to the more important "why?" as the film progresses from simple murder mystery to sinister conspiracy. Although fairly typical for this type of film, Jin Ho makes for a good protagonist, mainly since whilst Park allows him enough room to be roguish and slightly comical, he is basically played straight rather than for laughs. Hwang Jung Min does manage to convey a vague sense of moral conflict, or at least of unfulfilled ambitions, which proves essential during the latter stages when things turn more serious. The film does build gradually from light hearted shenanigans and the photographing of infidelity to something much darker, and by the time all the cards are on the table it does venture into some pretty harsh territory and grim subject matter. Ryu Deok Hwan is also on good form, managing to avoid coming across as too much of a green youngster, though unfortunately Uhm Ji Won is rather wasted in a pointless role as Jin Ho's distant possible love interest, who does at least have the honour of providing him with some fairly useful gadgets.

Although the film has a familiar premise - a cocky though brilliant sleuth, his young sidekick, his somewhat detached relationship with a mysterious woman, and his problems with authority figures - the period setting does give it rather a different feel. Director Park's style a mix of polish and grit, which works well to ground the film whilst allowing for some handsome production values and impressive visuals. He shows a keen eye for detail, bringing the historical setting to life without being overly ornate, making good use of both urban and rural settings. The film certainly benefits from being more grounded and realistic than other similarly set efforts, and it makes for atmospheric and involving viewing. Park helps to keep things moving along at a good pace by throwing in a good amount of action alongside all the head scratching, with some impressive set pieces, most notably a Bourne-style marketplace chase scene, complete with characters leaping over ramshackle rooftops. The film has its fair share of rough moments, with some occasional scenes of strong violence, bloody surgery and rotten corpses. Combined with a subplot revolving around drug abuse, this gives it a valuable hard edge which again serves very well during the final act.

As such, Private Eye is the kind of film which offers viewers the best of both worlds, working well both as a fairly straightforward and entertaining popcorn hit, and as a well crafted and tough thriller. Slickly directed, its period setting helps it to stand out from the recent rush of other noir-themed films, as does Hwang Jung Min's charismatic lead performance, making it a highly enjoyable and occasionally quite suspenseful thriller.

by James Mudge - BeyondHollywood.com

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

Customer Review of "Private Eye (DVD) (US Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)

Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews


October 21, 2009

This customer review refers to Private Eye (DVD) (2-Disc) (Korea Version)
1 people found this review helpful

Gripping tale of detection Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
Hwang Jung Min stars as Jin Ho in "Private Eye" and the film succeeds largely due to Hwang's swaggering, cocky performance. Jin Ho is a downmarket private detective in 1910 Seoul, skulking in alleys to sneak photos of cheating spouses. He strives to save money to journey to America where he hopes to strike it rich. One day medical student Kwang Su (Ryu Deok Hwan) seeks Jin Ho's services and promises to provide Jin Ho a big enough payday that he will be able to passage to America. But Kwang Su's problems are much greater than just a cheating spouse.

In order to learn human anatomy, Kwang Su has been carving up a corpse that he stumbled upon in the woods. He is stunned to learn that the body he's been dissecting is that of the son of a high-ranking government poobah. Kwang Su decides that his only hope of escaping blame for the son's death is to find the murderer ... and he wants Jin Ho to help him find the miscreant. Tracking the killer leads down a path filled with corrupt cops, opium addicts, overbearing Japanese colonists, child abusers, and, strangest of all, knife-throwing circus performers.

Director Park Dae Min keeps the pace brisk and nicely leavens the chilling facts of the case with occasional doses of humor. Hwang Jung Min sets the perfect tone with his fearless performance and is ably supported by Ryu Deok Hwan and by Uhm Ji Won as Jin Ho's former girlfriend who devotes her free time to science. While some of the feats of detection are a bit of a stretch and the plot becomes overly complex, the movie's interesting period atmosphere, strong characters, and solid performances make for a winning cinematic experience. I recommend "Private Eye" very highly.
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