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Woochi: The Demon Slayer(2009)
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: The Demon Slayer and the Woochi: The Demon Slayer Blu-ray release, see Woochi: The Demon Slayer Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on May 7, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Kang Dong-won, Kim Yoon-seok, Yoo Hae-jin, Lim Soo-jung
» See full cast & crew
Woochi: The Demon Slayer Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, May 7, 2011
Screened at the Hawaii International Film Festival, Korean director Choi Dong-hun's "Woochi: The Demon Slayer" (2009) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Showbox Media/CineAsia. The supplemental features on the disc include audio commentary by Asian Cinema expert Bey Logan and actor/producer Mike Leeder; making of featurette; interview gallery; deleted scenes; press conference footage; production featurettes; trailers; TV Spots; and more. In Korean, with optional English subtitles for the main features. 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, Secret Reunion, Haunters) 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 Demon Slayer 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 Demon Slayer 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 Demon Slayer 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: The Demon Slayer Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Choi Dong-hun's Jeon Woochi: The Demon Slayer arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Showbox Media/CineAsia.
The high-definition transfer is not identical to the one Korean distributors KD Media used for their Blu-ray release of Woochi: The Demon Slayer. First, mild edge-enhancement occasionally pops up on the Korean release, mostly during the daylight footage from the present (not so much during the period sequences); on the UK release the edge-enhancement is practically gone. Second, the UK release is also slightly darker, boasting richer blacks, grays, browns, greens, blues, and reds. During the nighttime footage, clarity is also marginally better. Aliasing and banding effects do not plague the high-definition transfer. Heavy noise corrections have not been performed either. Naturally, the image has tremendous depth and fluidity. Lastly, there are absolutely no stability issues whatsoever. I also did not see any purely transfer-specific anomalies to report in this review. (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. For the record, there is no problematic PAL or 1080/50i content preceding the disc's main menu).
Woochi: The Demon Slayer Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Korean Dolby Digital 2.0. For the record, Showbox Media/CineAsia have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they split the image frame and the black bar below it.
The Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track enhances the viewing experience exceptionally well. There are a number of action sequences in the film where the bass and the surround channels come alive, so keep your remote control close to you. This is not to say that there are balance issues -- the dynamic intensity of the loseless track is simply excellent. The dialog is crisp, clean, stable, and exceptionally easy to follow. Lastly, the English translation is greatly improved (I was not overly impressed with the English translation on the Korean Blu-ray release).
Woochi: The Demon Slayer Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Note: Some of the supplemental features on this Blu-ray disc are encoded in PAL. Therefore, if you reside in North America, or another region where PAL is not supported, you must have a Region-Free player capable of converting PAL to NTSC, or a player capable of outputting and a TV set capable of receiving native PAL data, in order to view them.
Woochi: The Demon Slayer Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
It does not appear that I will stop praising Showbox Media/CineAsia any time soon. Their latest Blu-ray release, Woochi: The Demon Slayer, looks and sounds terrific and is loaded with great supplemental features. I particularly like the fact that the distributors are working with Asian Cinema expert Bey Logan as his audio commentaries are indeed outstanding. I cannot wait to see their first Hong Kong Legends release. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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