STUDIO: Tartan Video
MSRP: $22.95
RUNNING TIME: 116 minutes
Tartan Asian Extreme new releases
The making of Bloody Ties
Theatrical trailer

The Pitch

A spineless drug dealer unwillingly joins forces with a burned out shell of a detective to take down Busan’s biggest drug lord.

The Humans

Ja-Hyeon Chu, Jeong-min Hywang, Jung Mi Hwang and Hee-ra Kim

The Nutshell

Sang Do is a man who didn’t willingly enter into the seedy underground world of dealing crystal meth, but he’s certainly doesn’t hate his job. He’s made himself rich off selling the drug to the downtrodden citizens of Busan while staying off of it himself. The only pain in his ass happens to be Detective Ho. The good detective is one of those stereotypical chain smoking, self destructive types who hasn’t been the same since his partner was killed by a drug lord.

I’ve told you time and time again. Stick to the copper sulfate pussies.

Ho vowed to avenge the death of his partner years ago, but hasn’t even tried as hard as O.J. Simpson did in his pursuit of the real killer. He’s mostly just been boning his partner’s wife, but that’s not the only bitch he has. He frequently shakes Sang Do down for information on rival dealers, an enterprise that usually benefits them both. However, when a drug bust goes sour and a dealer ends up dead, both Sang Do and Detective Ho find themselves up shit creek.

Already at rock bottom, Detective Ho drags Sang Do into his scheme to finally get revenge on the city’s biggest drug dealer, a pursuit that may end up getting them both killed.

Three’s a crowd, little girl.

The Lowdown

The economy is in the toilet. Bitter and dejected, the populace turns to drugs to ease the pain. The cops can’t keep up with the influx of crime into the city and the drug dealers are running rampant. Only one cop has the guts to stand up for what’s right, but his efforts are shut down at every turn by a corrupt district attorney who’s in the pocket of the kingpin of drug dealers.

Sound familiar? It should. Bloody Ties does precious little to differentiate itself from a myriad of other hard knuckle crime films. The main twist that this film puts on the traditional formula is that the detective happens to be one of the most unlikable characters in the entire story. His motivation for cleaning up the streets isn’t based on any moral fortitude. He’s just an amazingly insecure loser who feels like shit for taking his ex-partner’s wife and wants glory for himself.

Sang Do is the real hero of the piece and the film spends a great deal of time explaining how this bright young kid gets roped into the world of drug dealing by his worthless family members. Not only do the flashbacks to Sang Do’s childhood give the film some of its few moments of character depth, but his voice over narration quickly makes him the most likable character and a fantastic tour guide for a world of deceit and sin.

Ho’s streetside gynecology business was really booming.

Ho Choi’s direction is manic and fast paced, as if the editor were a kid afflicted with ADD and hopped up on Surge. It works for the film though, as the city depicted in this film is never supposed to be anything but a caricature of the stereotypical sin city that doesn’t even exist in the day time. It’s a town where there’s no sunlight, just the neon glare of the signs hanging in every massage parlor and gambling joint on every street corner. This is the world of vice and crime that the characters dwell in, and their larger than life personas fit perfectly into this Korean Pleasure Island.

The tone of Bloody Ties never seems quite sure what it wants to be, but the prevailing theme seems to be “isn’t this cool?” The characters are always ready and willing to die at any point and revel in any activity where they can risk life and limb while smoking a cigarette and looking like a complete bad ass. It’s an appropriate tone for a film that ultimately revels in its superficial nature with characters that simply don’t give a damn.

Bloody Ties is a moving full of flashing lights and a violent fury that signifies nothing, but if you have enough superficial style, sometimes you don’t need to signify anything.

"Wait a minute. Am I Chris Tucker or Jackie Chan here?"
"Huh? I thought I was supposed to be Danny Glover!"

The Package

The only real feature dealing with the film itself is a fifteen minute conversation with Kim Sang Mon, the sound and visual effects director for the movie. If you can’t get the director to sit down and talk about Bloody Ties, then Kim Sang Mon is the best alternative choice given how important the aesthetics of the film are. Kim Sang Mon goes into detail on the lighting choices and the musical score and what he and the director hoped to convey through them.

It’s not the most exciting of conversations and watching a guy talk inside his office is hardly electrifying, but it does show that a lot of time and thought went into carefully crafting the look of the film and giving the audience what they want.

The theatrical trailer for the film is included along with trailers for several other Tartan releases. There’s nothing wrong with including previews, except when you’re forced to watch them. An unskippable montage of Tartan releases plays each and every time you start the disc, which is annoying the first time you watch the film. By the second or third time, you’ll be ready to act out the violent acts depicted in the Tartan Asia Extreme releases.

My jimmy – It’s dead, Jim.

7.0 out of 10