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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

DVD Review: BLOOD RAIN (2005)

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------Review by contributing writer Scott Baker------

Directed by Dae-seung Kim
Released: 2005

Before you roll your eyes at the title of this film, let's clarify something here: this is NOT the craptastic vampire failure that is Uwe Boll's 'BLOODRAYNE'. Oh no. This BLOOD RAIN is actually a masterful mystery-whodunit? set in 1800s Korea.
Here is the synopsis, courtesy of the HanCinema website:

It is the 19th century Chosun dynasty, an era of loathing and vengeance towards Catholics. A transport ship carrying paper to the palace burns into ashes, and investigator Won-kyu is sent to the scene. Brutal murders follow suit, which are traced back to a curse by a Christian who had his whole family beheaded seven years previously. The climax builds to an unexpected ending…First, this movie is stunning to watch. The sets and costumes are done with vivid detail and the cinematography is wonderful. All of these elements are set against the backdrop of an excellent mystery thriller.

I cannot really say anything else about the plot because A) it is a bit complex to summarize, and B) too much information could ruin the story for you. But needless to say, the script is very well written and entertaining. I would even go so far as to say the dialogue is impressively witty and certainly never dull.

My sole complaint about this film is that there is not an English dub-over feature, meaning you can only watch it with sub-titles. This doesn't necessarily hamper the experience for me (because I've watched dozens of sub-titled films over the years), but I would really rather listen to the dialogue instead of reading it. Again, this is strictly a personal preference and should not discourage you from watching the film.

The acting in BLOOD RAIN was also top notch, as is the characterization. It is somewhat rare (in my experience) to find foreign period pieces that do not place an emphasis on stereotyping certain characters. For example, in many martial-arts movies, there's always the stereotypical 'humbled master' going up against the 'braggart but skilled villain'. I'm pleased to report that this movie does not have ANY of the typical stereotypes. I was very surprised by this, and because so, found the movie more enjoyable as a result.

As an added bonus, the film includes a decent bit of gore as well. One of my favorite (and one of the goriest) scenes is when a man is drawn-and-quartered. For those of you that don't know what this entails, this was an extreme punishment-torture that was used back in ancient days. They would place a person flat on the ground and then tie a horse to each limb (one for each arm, one for each leg). Then, they would whip the horses and the person was basically ripped apart. This is obviously very gruesome and BLOOD RAIN does an excellent job of showing it.

I'm going to leave this review a little bit short, as this is one of those films that you just need to see to appreciate. But it is definitely a winner (as proven by the numerous awards it has won) and you definitely should check it out.


CLICK HERE to watch the trailer
CLICK HERE to purchase the DVD
CLICK HERE to visit the official website of Pathfinder Pictures

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