Bloody Ties – DVD Review

Available at


Ho Choi


Seung-beom Ryu Sang Do
Ja-Hyeon Chu Ji-young
Jeong-min Hwang Lieutenant Do
Jung-mi Hwang
Hee-ra Kim

DVD Release Date: February 20, 2007
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 116 Minutes

The Movie

Sang Do is a crystal meth dealer who doesn’t care who he sells to or what may happen to them after they have it. All he knows is that he is making money hand over fist and wants to keep it that way. He travels the streets of Busan selling his wears to the rich, the famous, and even the poor; but he doesn’t touch the stuff himself. Do is one of the few meth dealers in Busan who don’t sample their wears before making it available for others. Do wasn’t always a drug-dealer though as many people believe it was his mother’s untimely death in their home fire that turned his life around.

Do likes to keep his business booming so while selling the meth, he also doubles as a police informant. While this does help him turn most of the business to himself; the choice isn’t necessarily all his. That introduces us to Detective Ho. Ho is an officer who had to deal with the death of his partner some years ago thanks to a trigger-happy drug dealer. Ho set out to avenge his death and a nice flashback lets that know as he screams it out during sex with his partner’s widow.

Do reports his information on other dealers to Ho, thanks to a few good beat downs and threats of jail time every once in a while. It works out for both of them with Do’s hot business and Ho’s arrest count goes up, but their luck soon runs out. One night Ho sets up a sting operation to catch a dealer with Sang Do’s help, but things go horribly wrong and it turns the tables on both of them. Do ends up with a small amount of prison time while Ho gets suspension.

After Do’s release and Ho’s suspension is lifted, they get together and realize it’s time to stop all the playing around and end this once and for all by taking down the Busan drug lord Jangchul. Jangchul not only runs the drug scene, which Do would love to take over, but also is the one who had Ho’s partner killed making his demise profitable for both of them. It’s not going to be easy as Jangchul has a behind the scenes deal with the District Attorney, but they will stop at nothing to stop him.

Bloody Ties really is more enjoyable than it seems it would be from its old “angry cop and criminal team up to take down big bad guy” storyline. Sure it’s been done before and this film has even drawn comparisons to Infernal Affairs, but is has enough differences to keep you guessing and watching enjoyably. You’re going to get a little bit of everything in this film that Tartan usually provides. There’s action, some comedy thrown in, mystery, and of course some gratuitous sex scenes; but they all flow so seamlessly together that you may not even realize them all separately unless watching it for a second time.

The music makes the film so much more enjoyable though. It’s got an old school synthesizer feel to it that just seems perfect for a crime drama. Throw in the random split screen from time to time with action taking place on one side while a conversations happens on the other and I feel like I’m in a comic book movie that HULK just couldn’t accomplish.

The Video

The film is shown in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen and looks great as most Tartan Asia presentations do. It has a bit of a grainy feel to it and is very dark, but it fits the mood of the film just fine since you wouldn’t really expect a film about drugs and murder to be all that bright and sunny would you? But the graininess does go away when it needs to. For instance during serious moments or intense discussions, but is there for the wilder drug scenes or rides in the cop car.

The Audio

The film is heard Dolby Digital sound but is in Korean so there are the optional subtitles in both English and Spanish. A nice transition with the subtitles and action on the screen kept the film flowing along smoothly, but what impressed me most was the musical score. As I mentioned earlier, Bloody Ties jumps straight back to the seventies and eighties with music that sounds straight out of Shaft or ChiPS and sounds absolutely fantastic.

Special Features

The Making Of Bloody Ties – Nothing more than the visual effects and sound director going over how everything in the film came about. Quite interesting but considering it’s the only extra we get then it should have been longer then fifteen minutes. It has some nice information about the soundtrack and how it was a bit of fight to keep it as it ended up, but not much else.

Original Trailer

TrailersHeroic Duo, Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, H, Another Public Enemy, and of course the unfastforwardable Tartan trailer they are throwing at the start of all their DVDs now

The Inside Pulse

The film is very good but the special features are severely lacking which is rather different then other Tartan DVDs. That is what hurts Bloody Ties‘ overall score most because the film is solid and enjoyable so it is worth a rental at the very least. Sure it’s another crime drama thrown into the mix of the hundred or so we’ve had in the past year, but it’s one that stands out a bit from the rest to make it worth the watch.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Bloody Ties
(OUT OF 10)