Sundance Channel’s free movies on demand has highlighted Asia Extreme movies the past two weeks, so I made an effort to at least watch one of the many great films they had to offer.

While I like the asian horror flicks, I really wanted to see Tazza: The High Rollers for a while and was very pleased to see it was one of the selected movies. It did not disappoint.

What a great movie about gambling in Korea. I know absolutely nothing about the card game Hwatu, but the movie is so engaging I don’t think that is a prerequisite to enjoy this film about gambling, cheating and consequences. Seung-woo Cho  is an extremely likeable lead as Goni, who goes from awfully debt ridden to gambling badass throughout the course of the film.

Turns out the movie is based on a Korean comic (manhwa) and there is one scene at the beginning of the film that is absolutely aces in representation of the comic where we get multiple splitscreens of the gamblers during a game; and the wipes and transitions from character to character are just brilliant. I wish the rest of the movie had these type scenes, but the director obviously wanted to minimalize the effect, and it will always be remembered because of it.

The rest of the movie follows the ups and downs of Goni as he learns the tricks and trades from a master, and then plays the rest of the big name players in and around town. Tazza: The High Rollers is a little long, but works well as a mafia ruled gambling movie very similar to the Scorsese’s movie Casino.

I highly recommend this movie. Try to catch it free on demand on Time Warner Cable before it disappears.