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Jeon Woo-chi, an undisciplined womanizing Taoist from the Joseon era, ends up in present day Korea causing mayhem with his knack for magic.
For more about Woochi and the Woochi Blu-ray release, see Woochi Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on October 19, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Kang Dong-won, Kim Yoon-seok, Yoo Hae-jin, Lim Soo-jung, Yeom Jeong-ah
» See full cast & crew
Woochi Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, October 19, 2010
Screened at the Hawaii International Film Festival, Korean director Choi Dong-hun's "Jeon Woochi: The Taoist Wizard" (2009) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Korean distributors KD Media. The supplemental features on the disc include director and actors audio commentary, director's commentary, deleted scenes, making of featurette, special effects featurette, making of featurette, cast and crew interviews, footage from the film's premiere, and more. In Korean, with optional English, Korean, and Korean SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
Thousands of years ago. The mighty Archgod owns a magical pipe that allows him to keep the evil goblins locked in a dark prison. Three lowly Taoist gods, however, accidentally free the goblins and all hell breaks loose. One of the goblins even manages to steal the magical pipe and evil immediately consumes the soul of the Archgod. Shocked and outraged, the Taoist gods decide to teach a group of wizards how to catch and kill the goblins and have them bring back the magical pipe.
Woochi (Kang Dong-won, Duelist, Voice of a Murderer) is a young wizard who respects his master ( Baek Yun-shik, The Big Swindle) but does not like looking for the magical pipe. He is much more interested in spending time with his former dog now turned human named Chorangyi (Yu Hae-jin, Tazza: The High Rollers) - primarily because the two agree that chasing beautiful maidens is a lot more fun than looking for the magical pipe.
But the evil magician Hwadam (Kim Yun-seok, The Chaser) kills Woochi's master and summons the goblins. Shortly after, Woochi and Chorangyi are locked in a couple of paintings (apparently a very serious punishment) by three kooky Taoist gods. With no one standing in their way, Hwadam and the goblins begin searching for the magical pipe.
Modern-day Seoul. The Taoist gods have finally realized that they need to restore balance in the universe. Woochi and Chorangyi are freed from the paintings and reminded that they need to find the magical pipe. Somewhat reluctantly, they agree - not knowing that the world has changed, and that hundreds of thousands of beautiful maidens, most wearing miniskirts, are now roaming the earth.
Jeon Woochi: The Taoist Wizard is a perfect example that good adventure films are not a thing of the past. You just need a Korean director and Korean cast to have one - or so I am starting to believe, because I don't remember when was the last time I saw Hollywood produce a film that was as entertaining as Kim Ji-woon's The Good, the Bad, the Weird. Or Choi Dong-hun's Tazza: The High Rollers. Or this film, which I did not expect to like at all.
In my review for Dong-hun's Tazza: The High Rollers I noted how wild, unpretentious and genuinely entertaining the film was. Dong-hun's Jeon Woochi: The Taoist Wizard is just as wild, unpretentious and genuinely entertaining. The only thing this film lacks is the dark and sexy feel Tazza: The High Rollers has. Probably because the stunningly beautiful Kim Hye-su is nowhere to be seen.
Aside from a few overly melodramatic twists, the script is fantastic. The endless clashes between Woochi, the goblins, and the Taoist gods are indeed very entertaining. The special effects are also top-notch (with the time travel scenes looking particularly good).
The acting is uniformly good. Dong-won is terrific as the goofy wizard who must confront the evil goblins. Hae-jin is just as good as Woochi's horny mouthpiece who has a difficult time believing that there are so many beautiful maidens in modern-day Seoul. Yun-seok is also convincing as the evil magician Hwadam.
Earlier this year Jeon Woochi: The Taoist Wizard was screened at the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival and the Sitges Film Festival. Earlier this month the film was also screened at the Hawaii International Film Festival.
Woochi Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Choi Dong-hun's Jeon Woochi: The Taoist Wizard arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Korean distributors KD Media.
This is a solid high-definition transfer. Fine object detail is excellent, clarity very pleasing, and contrast levels consistent throughout the entire film. The color-scheme is very impressive - a variety of rich blues, greens, yellows, reds, browns, and blacks give the film a very interesting look. For example, the wild action scenes, featuring some very creative special effects, look outstanding (the clashes between Woochi and the goblins in particular). There are a couple of scenes where I noticed extremely mild edge-enhancement creeping in. Still, overall the high-definition transfer looks remarkably healthy. Many of the close-ups, for example, look absolutely terrific. Furthermore, neither macroblocking nor heavy noise reduction plague this release. There are no serious stability issues to report in this review either. Lastly, while viewing Jeon Woochi: The Taoist Wizard I did not see any annoying flecks, scratches, marks, or stains. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
Woochi Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: Korean: DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 ES. For the record, KD Media have provided optional English, Korean, and Korean SDH subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, the English subtitles appear inside the image frame.
The Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 ES is very strong. The bass is powerful and punchy, the surround channels very active, and the high-frequencies not overdone. Many of the action scenes in the film will definitely test the muscles of your audio system. The surround effects, in particular, are amongst the very best I've come across on Korean Blu-ray releases in 2010. The dialog is crisp, clean, stable, and easy to follow. Lastly, I did not detect any disturbing pops, cracks, hissings, or dropouts to report in this review.
Note: I was not particularly impressed with the English translation. There are mostly minor grammar and syntax mistakes that I noticed, but they should have been avoided.
Woochi Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Note: I would like to apologize to our readers for not being able to comment on the supplemental features included on this Blu-ray disc. Unfortunately, they are all listed in Korean and not subtitled in English. Even the names of the participants in the audio commentaries are listed in Korean only. However, all of them are playable on North American PS3s and SAs. The supplemental features include director and actors audio commentary, director's commentary, deleted scenes, making of featurette, special effects featurette, making of featurette, cast and crew interviews, footage from the film's premiere, and more.
Woochi Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
If you enjoyed Korean director Choi Dong-hun's Tazza: The High Rollers, I strongly recommend that you also take a look at his Jeon Woochi: The Taoist Wizard; it is just as original and entertaining. If you are yet to see Tazza: The High Rollers, then you should plan to do so soon - it is one of the better Korean films to be released during the last couple of years. The Blu-ray disc herein reviewed, courtesy of Korean distributors KD Media, looks and sounds terrific. It is also Region-Free. RECOMMENDED.
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