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In a typical "fish out of water" scenario, a group of gangsters who just performed a hit are on the run and seeking a place to hide while the cops scour the countryside looking for them. Think of a Buddhist We're No Angels. After one of the men casually says, "Why don't we shave our heads and pretend to be monks?", the group sets out to the countryside and a remote Buddhist temple where they begin to hide out, keeping a close eye on the handful of monks. And, this is a comedy, so naturally the abrasive relationship between the monks, which involves contests between them, personality/lifestyle clashes, gives way to the two groups growing affectionate towards each other- the monks embracing the gangsters and the gangsters mellowing out and respecting the monks.
I'm pretty sure I hated every simpering second of this movie. I'll give it some leeway because it is a comedy and comedies are pretty subjective, but still, this was such a predictable and sloppy mess and dripping with doe-eyed sentimentality that made my brain rot.
Following the rules of formula, both groups have a boss, a big dumb guy, a couple of guys that are never fleshed out even in a stereotyped way, and two really talkative guys. And get this!- the monk's talkative guy at first is under a vow of silence. Hilarious, huh? Oh, and of course there is a wise old abbot, unfazed by these murderers in his temple. There is a little kid. Oh, and they even mange to throw in a pretty young girl as a visiting nun. Her only purpose in the film is just to add some twinkling romantic piano theme to the soundtrack and be relief from all of the testosterone (though these are the wimpiest gangsters you'll ever see) and give guys some eye-candy. Also, inexplicably, there is some crazy law student wandering around the temple, and I never understood just why the heck he was in the movie. Obliviously his presence is supposed to be funny, but I think it was some kind of inside Korean culture joke.
Comedy is a genre that leaves itself open to abandon logic, but when a film isn't funny and is sloppily executed (both in the writing and the direction) then those little logic gaps become irritants. Such is the case where a scene with the gangsters talking about how they all need to keep a close eye on the monks and need to tail them at every second is then followed by a montage of the gangsters playing soccer all day and frolicking around in the rain. Gags are introduced and then have no payoff, like the monks attempting to masquerade as ghosts to scare the gangsters away. A huge deal is made out of the gangsters contacting their crew. Their cellphone has limited battery and it is difficult for them to find a good connection. After finally successfully placing a call and contacting their gang, the scene is followed by the boss gangster going into town and using a payphone, completely negating the cellphone business. And, then there is the terrible ending, which has the gangsters sending presents to the monks, all sorts of material goods, no doubt earned by beating people up and robbing them. But the film has no care for Buddhism, so the monks revel in their shallow bounty. That is just insulting.
The DVD: Tai Seng
Picture: Widescreen, non-anamorphic. Picture is a bit soft and washed out for a merely year old film. It is certainly watchable, in league with Universes budget titles of HK films, but it suffers from some minor artifacts and not being anamorphic.
Sound: Korean or Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 and Mandarin DD 2.0 with optional English subtitles. Sound is serviceable, everything is crisp and clear, though the soundtrack and music wont exactly leave you reeling in your seat. it is an average audio presentation, get the job done but also isn't exactly dynamic. The subs are free of any cumbersome translation errors or misspelling.
Extras: Chapter Selections--- Korean and HK trailers for the film.
Conclusion: Okay, so I didn't find it the least bit funny. Fine. Lots of people don't think Monty Python is funny. That's the way it goes. So, I'll throw out any complaints about the film in my recommendation and stick to the specifies technically. Technically, it is a very basic disk- barebones extras, mediocre image, decent audio. That alone should make it a rental for anyone unfamiliar and not already a fan.