No Tears for the Dead Blu-ray review
In a dimly lit nightclub, a songstress sings “Smooth Operator” on stage. Behind the scenes, a group of men sit at a table in the middle of a deal. Another man, dressed in a black suit, breezes down the hallway with a pistol in his hand. He sticks it in the doorman’s mouth and gets access to the back room. Before the smoke can clear, he fires a series of bullets into the entryway to fend off any further intruders. When he opens the door, he finds he has sent one of the bullets into a small girl.
The man is Gon (Jang Dong-gun, Hur jin-ho’s DANGEROUS LIAISONS), a skilled hitman who has been seeking to escape the life since the tragic mistake. But his boss will not let him off that easy and gives him one final assignment. When Gon suggests refusing the task, his boss replies: “Then I will rip your limbs apart, cook them and eat them.”
The target is Mo-gyeong (Kim Min-hee, romantic comedy VERY ORDINARY COUPLE), who happens to be the mother of the girl Gon killed and is put in the crosshairs so she can be put out of her misery. (In addition to losing her only daughter, Mo-gyeong is looking at her ailing, bed-ridden mother.) So Gon travels to his homeland of South Korea, which he hasn’t been to since he was a boy.
It’s clear from the minute Gon meets Mo-gyeong on an elevator that he’s more likely to take his boss up on the challenge of tearing off his limbs than to put a bullet in Mo-gyeong, and so it’s no surprise when Gon plays savior to the woman. This in turn makes Gon the target of his comrades, led by Chaoz (Brian Tee, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT).
NO TEARS FOR DEAD spends a lot of time hammering home the mother angle (in addition to Mo-gyeong’s woes, flashbacks show how Gon was abandoned by his own mom when he was a child), which does more to slow down the pace of the movie than add depth to the characters, and bordering on the overly sentimental, like when Mo-gyeong watches her daughter sing on a videotape and the camera watches her sob for an uncomfortably long time. There is also a subplot revolving around Mo-gyeong’s husband (can’t this woman get a break?), which only prolongs what the viewer wants to see.
After the opening sequence, NO TEARS FOR DEAD doesn’t have a full-on action scene until close to an hour in. But it does pick up considerably after that, with a number of well-staged fights involving fists, knives and guns. There’s even an explosion involving a microwave.
Writer/director Lee Jeong-beom (2006’s CRUEL WINTER BLUES and 2010’s THE MAN FROM NOWHERE, which was nominated for eight Blue Dragon Film Awards) makes many missteps on the way to the action, but once it pops up, it’s entertaining and fulfilling.
Video: 2.39:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The high-definition transfer is excellent, with fine details and strong colors throughout.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English 2.0; Korean 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; Korean 2.0. Subtitles in English. Dialogue is clean, but it’s the whizzing bullets and landed fists in the action sequences that are the most impressive aspect of the audio transfer.
Making of NO TEARS FOR THE DEAD (27:12): Director Lee Jeong-beom, actress Kim Minh-ee and more discuss the movie and certain key sequences.
Director’s Commentary (6:51): This is not a commentary in the traditional sense and is instead a collection of interview snippets with Lee Jeong-beom and on-set footage.
Brian Tee Interview (2:05): Tee, who plays Chaoz, discusses his character.
Character Spot – Mogyeong (0:51) and Character Spot – Gon (0:52) briefly outline the respective characters.
Behind the Scenes (3:19) uses on-set footage and interviews to offer a look at NO TEARS FO THE DEAD’s production.
Action Highlights (2:01) is a collection of some of the movie’s more exciting moments.
Deleted Scenes (6:51): There are three here, which can only be viewed as a whole.