In recent days ADV Films has started padding their small selection of live action titles – the company focuses largely on anime – by scooping up several films from the early days of the current Korean film boom. And while they've picked up some notable titles – particularly No Blood No Tears, an early effort from the director of Arahan and Crying Fist – it's a little hard to see the rationale in giving Guns and Talks a domestic release. It isn't that this isn't a well made film but it fits in to an early block of obviously American-inspired action flicks that hit in Korea before the current wave of film makers became confident enough to find their own distinct voices. So while this is a technically competent film it adds very little to the genre and has not much in particular to set it apart from a host of similar and better known North American films. I just don't see how they expect a foreign film clearly made as an imitation of a genre of domestic films to find a niche, particularly when it brings nothing particularly new to the table.
The film revolves around a team of four hired killers. You have your basic stock types here: the charismatic leader, his younger brother still learning the ropes, the quietly efficient sharpshooter, and the passionate fighter. Lurking behind the scenes is the wise old uncle who helps set up jobs and builds tech gadgets for the team. The team has built a reputation for quiet efficiency and are highly sought after, both by new clients and the police. The film begins with a typically efficient job, the entire group carrying out a coordinated strike against a group of targets leaving an office building, each employing their own unique skills. Things become more complicated when it turns out that the men killed were part of a criminal gang highly wanted by the police as witnesses against the gang boss, already being held in custody.
The film is aptly titled, an even mix of action set pieces and lengthy stretches of dialogue, exploring the relationships between the killers and the world around them, particularly their romantic entanglements. The cast is solid and likable – Korean film fans will recognize several for their later work in more significant films – and the set pieces are well executed. Guns and Talks doesn't do anything you haven't seen several times before but it knows what it wants to be and does what it does quite well.
Video Video is presented in anamorphic widescreen and appears to have simply been ported over from and earlier Korean release. The transfer is reasonable, relatively clean and clear, if unspectacular.
Audio You get two audio options – the original Korean with optional English subtitles and an English dub – both in 2.0 stereo. The set pieces could really use the extra kick of DTS but these do fine. The subtitles are well translated and very easy to read. The dub is a dub, and thus inherently evil.
Extra what? What are those?
There aren't any … the disc comes with trailers for other ADV live action releases and that's all she wrote.
I feel like I'm being hard on this film, perhaps a little harder than it deserves, but well made fluff is still fluff. There's nothing particularly wrong with it, it's just that it brings nothing at all new to the table. This has all been done before, and done better. Worth a rental if you're looking for a little popcorn entertainment, but no more than that.