Arahan (Arahan Jangpung Daejakjeon) (2004)
Main Menu Audio
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Trailer-Eastern Eye Trailers
|Year Of Production||2004|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (41:41)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Seung-wan Ryoo|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
Korean Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Korean Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Korean dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
I have reviewed (and mostly enjoyed) quite a few Korean films lately. The first two I saw were very entertaining, being Tube and Bichunmoo. The next one, Shiri, suffered from being overly violent and having a very bad video transfer which made it virtually impossible to watch. Accordingly, I decided to give this one a try, released as part of the Eastern Eye range.
Arahan (the full Korean title is Arahan jangpung daejakjeon) is a martial arts action comedy based upon an anime. The story's main character is a bumbling and not overly bright policeman, Sang-Hwan (Ryu Seung-Beom), who whilst in pursuit of a criminal meets a young woman who uses what seem like super powers to stop the criminal. Her name is Eui-Jin (Yoon So-Yi) and she is the daughter of one of a group of martial arts masters called The Seven Masters. Unfortunately, there are only actually five of them which is where the plot gets a little confusing. The back story of these Seven Masters and their enemy Heug-un (Jung Du-Hong) is not really ever explained and is only partly explained in a flashback after 80 minutes of the film. In short, they are people who have attained the state of Arahan, which means that you have nothing left to learn about controlling you chi, or lifeforce. The Seven Masters decide that Sang-Hwan can become a powerful martial artist because he has very strong chi and offer to train him accordingly. Although initially reluctant, his attraction to Eui-Jin causes him to agree to the training. When Heug-un is released from his underground prison by a construction project, Eui-Jin, Sang-Hwan and the Seven Masters must join forces to stop him.
As far as the martial arts scenes in this film go, there are certainly some excellent stunts and exciting fight scenes. There is a lot of wire work so if you don't like that then maybe this one isn't for you. Unfortunately, the comedy scenes do not fare as well and most of the first hour of the movie I found to be a little tedious and confusing. The second half really takes off and is all action and saves the movie, especially the climactic fight scene. Some of the training scenes reminded me very much of The Karate Kid which is not necessarily a good thing. I think better editing would have helped this film, especially in terms of explaining the plot better so non-Korean non-anime reading audiences could understand it.
This film is certainly worth seeing for fans of Asian Martial Arts films, however it is certainly not the best of the genre as it is reasonably confusing and lacks pace in the first half. I would recommend a rental first.
The video quality is excellent, and is only marred by some mild artefacts.
The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is close to the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.
The picture was very clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Details such as lines on people's faces were clearly visible. The shadow detail was very good.
The colour was excellent with no issues to report.
There were some noticeable film-to-video artefacts such as aliasing on a tie at 37:23, a rope at 70:30 and the background at 100:30. These were not too bad but were certainly visible. There was also some macro-blocking to be seen in large single colours expanses such as the cream banners at 101:45 and in that scene generally.
There are subtitles in English which is useful as all the soundtracks are in Korean, but I suppose that is preferable to bad dubbing. The subtitles are in yellow, however, the English translation is not perfect and some grammatical errors have crept in.
The layer change occurs at approximately 41:41 but I could not pick it up. My PC tells me it is somewhere in Chapter 7.
The audio quality is very good but not quite excellent. It is not that there is anything wrong with it particularly it is just not quite as full and rich as the best Hollywood has to offer in terms of sound quality.
This DVD contains three audio options, a Korean Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at a less than full rate 384 Kb/s, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s and a Korean DTS 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 768 Kb/s. I listened to the entire DTS track and widely sampled the Dolby Digital 5.1 track and found them to be surprisingly similar, which considering that the Dolby Digital track is not at the full bitrate says something about the quality of the sound overall. Don't get me wrong, the sound is very good, it's just not great and it certainly does not qualify as my new system test disc when compared to something like Man on Fire.
Dialogue seemed clear and easy to understand and there was no problems with audio sync, however, since I don't understand Korean this is really a guess.
The score of this film by Jae-Kwon Han does not really stand out and is not actually used that much during the film. The music that is used is quite good.
The surround speakers added some quite good directional effects and some atmosphere however were not spectacularly immersive. I thought more use could have been made of the surrounds especially considering the amount of action in the film.
The subwoofer was used to add tension and atmosphere to the big set pieces. Quite good but not a standout.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu included stills, and the ability to select scenes, soundtracks and subtitles.
This is in Korean with burned in subtitles. It is quite interesting and covers the training of the actors, sets, casting, stunts, wire work, make-up and the various accidents which held up production. It includes quite a lot of behind-the-scenes footage. Worth watching.
This includes three separate interviews, all in Korean with English subtitles. All are quite interesting.
Obviously designed for a Korean audience, this one focuses on the action.
This one gives much more of the back story and focuses on the bad guy.
Obviously for Korean TV, this one has no subtitles.
Includes an Eastern Eye Promo Reel, Volcano High, Musa & Seven Samurai.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The only version of this movie which seems to have been released other than this one is a Region 3 Korean NTSC version, which is available either in a limited edition version with more packaging or a straight two-disc version. I will note below which items are only included in the LE version.
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
The Region 3 version of this disc misses out on;
On this basis the Region 3 version of the disc is the winner if you like flashy packaging and/or can speak Korean. If you only speak English the local version is probably a better choice. I will go with Region 4 on that basis.
The video quality is excellent.
The audio quality is very good but just slightly lacking in a killer punch.
The disc has a reasonable selection of extras.
|DVD||Pioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output|
|Display||Sony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Bose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)|