November 24, 2005

ARAHAN (2004) Korean DVD review

ARAHAN (Urban Martian Arts Action) - Korea 2004
Korean all-region DVD, single disc release

Intrigued to see some wirework action in a modern Asian setting, I tried out this film and was generously rewarded. Whereas earlier entries such as VOLCANO HIGH only succeeded in the action scenes, ARAHAN delivers a more rounded film where the characters and the story are almost interrupted by the fights.
A novice policeman stumbles upon a group of Tau-Chi masters who are facing an old and powerful threat.. Actor Seung-beom Ryu plays a geeky traffic cop so well, I couldn't believe that he was going to be the central character. His acting is superb, amongst an excellent cast of strong characters. The directing is also inspired, with some tour-de-force single-take sequences, show-stopping fights and masterly comic touches. The film delivers as much comedy as gritty action. Any CGI effects are sufficiently restrained so that humans are involved for the larger part, meaning that I remained connected with the film - which didn't happen with the similar city-spanning sequences in SPIDERMAN.
Impressive, likeable and very entertaining, it's another Korean keeper!
This Korean DVD release is 16:9 anamorphic widescreen - it has well-translated optional english subtitles, DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 Korean audio. If you want any extras, seek out the 2 DVD set.

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