Tazza: The High Rollers
Thrilled by 'Tazza: The High Rollers'—stellar film & Blu-ray quality, possibly the best since '3-Iron'. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by CJ Entertainment.
Disc Release Date:
Choi Dong-hun's 'Tazza: The High Rollers' Blu-ray features an excellent 1080p MPEG-4 AVC transfer with impressive detail, clarity, and contrast, a unique color scheme, and is free from common issues. Region-Free for global play.
The Blu-ray features a solid Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track with excellent ambient effects, clear dialogue, and a faultless score. Optional English and Korean SDH subtitles are offered, though the menu's entirely in Korean.
Apologies for not reviewing Blu-ray extras due to Korean-only listings without English subtitles. Includes director's commentary, a multi-participant second commentary, gambling rules, and more.
Tazza: The High Rollers, a riveting blend of gambling drama and romance, impresses with strong performances, especially by Kim Hye-su, and offers insightful lessons in gambling.
Presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and utilizing MPEG-4 AVC encoding, the 1080p transfer of Choi Dong-hun's "Tazza: The High Rollers" on Blu-ray, provided by CJ Entertainment, stands as a testament to high-quality home entertainment. It's a showcase of how finely honed detail, superior clarity, and consistent contrast can elevate the visual fidelity of film on home formats. The director's distinctive choice of color palette, favoring yellows and light greens, adds a unique visual flair that sets the film apart, while also maintaining a natural and vibrant look across scenes.
Technical issues that often mar Blu-ray releases, such as edge-enhancement, macroblocking, and the troublesome digital noise, are conspicuously absent here. This absence reinforces the meticulous care taken in the transfer process to preserve the original filmic quality without resorting to excessive noise reduction, which can often degrade the picture. Consequently, "Tazza: The High Rollers" retains a crisply defined sharpness that contributes to an overall impression of a visually healthy and stable film. This level of quality assurance extends to the physical media itself, which is refreshingly free of common defects like flecks, debris, or damage.
This Blu-ray release is also region-free, a detail not to be overlooked, enabling global accessibility across all Blu-ray compatible devices such as PS3s and standalone players. This universal playability, combined with the exceptional video presentation described, ensures that "Tazza: The High Rollers" can be enjoyed in its highest fidelity by a diverse and international audience. The professional handling of the video presentation marks this release as an exemplar in the Blu-ray format, meeting and likely exceeding the quality expectations of the most discerning viewers.
The Blu-ray release of "Tazza: The High Rollers" features an exclusive Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track, ensuring a premium auditory experience for viewers. Accompanying this track are optional English and Korean SDH subtitles that integrate seamlessly within the frame, catering to a broader audience while maintaining the original aesthetic of the film. The presence of a single audio track emphasizes the distributor's commitment to delivering high-quality, authentic sound that aligns with the film's cultural and linguistic elements.
In terms of audio performance, the Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 offers a commendable balance of dialogue clarity, ambient soundscapes, and music integration. While the surround channels may not be excessively exercised, the ambient effects discernibly enhance the viewing experience with nuanced background sounds that draw the viewer further into the film's setting. The bass component is robust without overpowering other elements, ensuring a well-rounded auditory experience. Dialogue is delivered with crispness and clarity, ensuring that every word is easily comprehensible without any trace of balance issues against Jang Yeong-gyu's compelling score. Notably, the audio track is free from any defects such as pops, cracks, or hissing, indicating meticulous mastering and quality control.
However, it's worth mentioning that navigating the main menu can be challenging due to its all-Korean interface, which might pose a minor inconvenience for international viewers unfamiliar with the language. Despite this, the overall audio presentation of "Tazza: The High Rollers" on Blu-ray remains exceptional. With its solid technical execution and consideration for non-Korean speaking audiences through well-implemented subtitle options, the audio track stands out as a paramount feature that enriches the cinematic experience of this thrilling film.
The Blu-ray release of "Tazza: The High Rollers" offers a treasure trove for those passionate about diving deeper into the film's creation and nuances, albeit with a notable limitation for international audiences. The supplemental features are rich and diverse, presenting an array of behind-the-scenes insights. However, a significant barrier is that all extras are presented in Korean without English subtitles, which includes the names in the second audio commentary, making it challenging for non-Korean speakers to fully appreciate the depth of information provided. This release shines for Korean speakers or those seeking to immerse themselves in the film's production aspects through visuals alone, featuring extensive content from deleted scenes to in-depth documentaries and commentaries that enrich the viewing experience.
Extras included in this disc:
- Rules of Gambling: An exploration of the film's depiction of gambling through ten distinct rules or chapters.
- Audio Commentary with Director: A detailed commentary by the film's director, offering insights into the making and creative decisions.
- Audio Commentary with Multiple Participants: A second commentary track featuring discussions by various contributors, providing diverse perspectives.
- Deleted and Alternate Scenes: A collection of scenes not included in the final cut, offering viewers a glimpse into alternate storylines and character development.
- Making of Documentary: An in-depth look at the behind-the-scenes efforts that went into creating "Tazza: The High Rollers," including interviews, and filming processes.
Choi Dong-hun's "Tazza: The High Rollers," awarded Best Director at the Newport Beach Film Festival, makes its mark on Blu-ray with an impressive showcase, though it falters slightly with its non-English subtitled supplemental features. This 2006 cinematic venture, brought forward by CJ Entertainment, is Region-Free and ensures that the main feature, a compelling narrative centered around the gritty and enthralling underworld of gambling, is accessible to a broader audience with English subtitles. This facilitates an engaging viewing experience, despite the lack of accessible additional content for international viewers.
The film encapsulates a gripping saga of ambition, desperation, and the high stakes of underground gambling through its protagonist, Goni (Cho Seung-woo). After squandering his sister's savings in a futile attempt to offset his gambling losses, Goni’s journey into the depths of this perilous world begins under the tutelage of a retired gambler. This dive into the gambling cosmos is vividly portrayed, bringing to the forefront not only the luminous allure of quick wins but also the shadowy repercussions of this addiction. The storyline captivates with twists that unfold as Goni navigates through love, betrayal, and survival in a realm where every move could be his last.
The character portrayals by Cho Seung-woo, Baek Yun-shik, and particularly Kim Hye-su stand out for their depth and authenticity, collectively elevating "Tazza: The High Rollers" beyond mere entertainment. The film adeptly employs its chapters as lessons in gambling, intertwining these with compelling human stories that resonate with anyone familiar with the lure of risk-taking. With this blend of strong performances, airtight narrative, and a visually captivating journey into the gambling underworld, "Tazza: The High Rollers" secures its place as a must-watch that not only entertains but also unwittingly educates on the tactical finesse behind the game of chance.
Tazza: The High Rollers," presented on Blu-ray by CJ Entertainment, stands tall in a lineup of noteworthy Korean films. Its arrival has stirred a considerable buzz, reminiscent of the impact caused by Kim Ki-duk's "3-Iron." While future viewings might shuffle preferences—particularly with Bong Joon-ho's "Mother" pending evaluation—the current consensus leans heavily in favor of "Tazza." It's not just the film's narrative grip and aesthetic execution that draw praise; the Blu-ray edition itself commands attention for its exceptional quality. From its visual clarity to its audio dynamics, the disc satisfies the stringent criterions of avid cinephiles and tech enthusiasts alike.
The technical aspects of this Blu-ray release cannot be understated. The video presentation is pristine, offering sharp, vibrant images that betray no sign of compression or artifacting, essential for capturing the film's nuanced visual storytelling. Similarly, the audio track is robust and immersive, providing a clear and enveloping soundstage that enhances both dialogue and the film's atmospheric soundtrack. The packaging mirrors the contents' elegance, suggesting a product designed with both aesthetics and quality in mind—a rare feat in today's market.
In conclusion, "Tazza: The High Rollers" on Blu-ray is an exemplary release, reflecting CJ Entertainment's commitment to excellence. Both visually and audibly superior, it sets a benchmark for home entertainment releases. Coupled with tasteful packaging, it presents an irresistible package for collectors and film enthusiasts. Whether as an introduction to Korean cinema or a standout addition to an established collection, this Blu-ray edition is highly recommended and underscores the film’s cinematic prowess with befitting technical elegance.