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The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale (Blu-ray) (US Version) Blu-ray Region A

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The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale (Blu-ray) (US Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Following his role as a naval hero in the period epic The Admiral: Roaring Currents, Choi Min Sik plays a retired sharpshooter this time in the period blockbuster The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale, which marks the actor's second collaboration with director Park Hoon Jung after the 2013 crime drama New World. The period drama also co-stars Jung Man Shik (A Hard Day) as a Joseon hunter under the Japanese army, young actor Sung Yu Bin (The Trip around the World) as the retired hunter's son and Japanese actor Osugi Ren (Chasuke's Journey) as a Japanese government official.

In 1925 during the Japanese occupation, retired top hunter Chun Man Deok (Choi Min Sik) moves to a hut in a mountain with his son Seok (Sung Yu Bin). Obsessed with tiger skins, Japanese government official Maejono (Osugi Ren) decides to kill all the tigers in the country. The extermination is also an act to destroy Joseon's morale since tigers are the symbol of the country's national spirit. However, their plan doesn't go as well as expected because the remaining tiger is still missing. Joined by Seok, Gu Kyung (Jung Man Sik), the leader of the Joseon hunters ruled by the Japanese army, is assigned to find that tiger but it won't be an easy task because Chun Man Deok is determined to protect the last tiger of Joseon.

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Product Title: The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale (Blu-ray) (US Version) 大虎 (Blu-ray) (美國版) 大虎 (Blu-ray) (美国版) The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale (Blu-ray) (US Version) 대호
Artist Name(s): Choi Min Sik | Osugi Ren | Ra Mi Ran | Kim Sang Ho | Sung Yu Bin | Jung Suk Won | Yoo Jae Myung | Kim Hong Pa | Jung Man Shik 崔岷植 | 大杉漣 | 羅美蘭 | 金相浩 | Sung Yu Bin | 鄭錫遠 | Yoo Jae Myung | 金洪發 | 鄭滿植 崔岷植 | 大杉涟 | 罗美兰 | 金相浩 | Sung Yu Bin | 郑锡远 | Yoo Jae Myung | 金洪发 | 郑满植 チェ・ミンシク | オオスギレン | ラ・ミラン | キム・サンホ | ソン・ユビン | チョン・ソグォン | Yoo Jae Myung | Kim Hong Pa | チョン・マンシク 최 민식 | Osugi Ren | 라미란 | 김상호 | 성유빈 | 정석원 | 유재명 | 김홍파 | 정 만식
Director: Park Hoon Jung 朴燻正 朴熏正 パク・フンジョン 박훈정
Blu-ray Region Code: A - Americas (North, Central and South except French Guiana), Korea, Japan, South East Asia (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) What is it?
Release Date: 2016-08-09
UPC Code: 812491017166
Language: Korean
Subtitles: English
Country of Origin: United States, South Korea
Disc Format(s): Blu-ray
Package Weight: 72 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1050240282

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale (Blu-ray) (US Version)"

July 29, 2016

This professional review refers to The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale (DVD) (2-Disc) (Korea Version)
Choi Min-sik reteams with New World writer director Park Hoon-jung for The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale, a historical epic following the hunt for the last tiger of the Joseon era. Despite the film only being Park's third, the director, who also scripted the likes of I Saw the Devil and The Unjust, is now a firmly established member of the A-list, able to command sizeable budgets as he does here. However, though critically praised and hotly anticipated, in no small part due to the presence of the always impressive Choi, the film failed to set the box office alight, facing stiff competition during a busy box office season.

The film is set in 1925, Korea having been under Japanese rule for more than twenty years, with the invaders continuing a process of trying to break down the morale of the locals to make them easier to rule. As part of this, Japanese government official Maejono (Osugi Ren, Godzilla Resurgence) sets in motion a plan to kill all the country’s tigers, seen as symbols of the national spirit, hiring hunters to slaughter as many as they can. Eventually only one is left, the Mountain Lord of Jirisan, a mighty beast who kills everyone who comes after him before disappearing back into the forests, seemingly impossible to track. Also living on the mountain with his son Seok (Sung Yu-bin, Memories of the Sword) is Chun Man-deok (Choi Min-sik), a retired hunter who happens to have a connection to the tiger after tragic encounters in the past. Although he initially refuses to aid the hunt led by former colleague Gu-kyung (Jung Man-sik, Inside Men), wishing to leave the tiger in peace, when Seok sneaks off to join the dangerous mission, Man-deok is forced to pick up his hunting rifle and head off in pursuit.

Like The Admiral: Roaring Currents, Choi Min-sik's last historical outing, The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale is a big, bold and ambitious piece of blockbuster cinema, epic-myth making from start to finish. At once vast and intimate, it's a film which takes a simple premise and weaves it into something poetic, Park Hoon-jung finding meaning as well as spectacle in Man-deok's hunt for and layered relationship with his quarry. Where the film surprises is in its lack of the kind of nationalistic fervour which marked Roaring Currents and other recent big-budget Korean productions, and despite the presence of a caricatured evil Japanese enemy and the obvious symbolism of the tiger, there's little of the sabre-rattling that might have been expected, and a pleasing absence of speeches about country and duty. Instead, Park focuses very much on a search for peace and dignity, giving the film a melancholy and almost spiritual air despite its moments of bombast – a brave and very effective choice, though perhaps one which led to the film’s under-performing at the domestic box office.

Kim similarly takes an interesting approach to his characters and their various connections, Man-deok not necessarily being the kind of hunter that the film's title might suggest, never being keen to bring down the tiger despite early revelations about the nature of their connection. Without overplaying its hand, the film portrays him as a quiet man attempting to find balance and reconciliation in the later stages of his life, which makes his return to the fray all the more impactful. Choi Min-sik is on great form in the lead role, dominating the film with a gritty and unshowy performance that allows him to be both gruff and vulnerable, making for a believable and sympathetic protagonist. As the film goes on, the tiger takes an increasingly lead role itself, complete with flashbacks and explanations for its actions, somewhat of a risky move which does require the viewer to believe in what might come across as some decidedly human motivations, behaviour and intelligence. Largely due to the skilful mirroring of Man-deok and the tiger, and the film's theme of the connection between man and nature, Kim manages to pull this off in often moving fashion, and it builds successfully towards a satisfyingly elegiac conclusion.

All this aside, The Tiger also works very well on a more basic level, featuring some truly amazing visuals, Kim making fantastic use of the at once brutal and beautiful mountain landscapes. Having in places the feel of a traditional ink painting, the film is at the same time grounded and appropriately rough, with convincing historical sets and ragged hunter costumes. The special effects are of a very high standard, the tiger and other animals being brought to life via some top-notch CGI work that impresses throughout, and the many scenes of bloodshed and carnage being gruesomely lifelike. While there are numerous tiger attacks, most of which end very badly indeed for the hunters, the film has a slow, deliberate pace, Kim preferring to build tension patiently, spending most of the time focusing on his characters and their choices rather than throwing in gratuitous action or shocks. This works well, and serves to underline the film's thoughtful and considered take on what in hands other than Kim’s could have been a very different and more typical popcorn flick.

The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale is easily one of the best Korean films of the last year, and a winning marriage of the breathtakingly grand and the quietly philosophical. Anchored by another fine performance from Choi Min-sik and Park Hoon-jung's accomplished direction, it’s hopefully a film whose audience and reputation will grow.

by James Mudge - EasternKicks.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.

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