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Issue #124 HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES September 9th, 2002

Guns & Talks
(2001; Cinema Service Co./MVP Venture Capital)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Korean: Killerdeului suda

A gang of four highly proficient young hitmen find their talents in constant demand but a rash of odd developments threaten to derail everything. Hotheaded Jung-woo (JOINT SECURITY AREA's Shin Ha-kyun), who usually does not need a reason to kill anyone, finds himself unable to harm a beautiful and very pregnant woman he was assigned to ice. Leader Sang-yun (BICHUNMOO's Shin Hyun-jun) accidentally gives his identity away and is plagued by a weird schoolgirl, who wants him to perform a hit for her. Adding further to the turmoil is a detective (THE RING VIRUS' Jung Jin-young) who is on the group's tail and knows about the rubout they have been employed to perform at a high profile performance of "Hamlet." With the police presence at the play's venue heightened, there is virtually no way to escape after the execution but Sang-yun is determined to go through with the job because their client is Oh Young-lan (Ko Eun-mi), a TV newswoman that all of them are infatuated with.

While slickly made, GUNS & TALKS is not another pseudo-hip, Tarantino-style exercise but a quirky and surprisingly humane picture, filled with gentle wit and some wonderful directorial touches. While the film starts reasonably plausible, it becomes more and more fanciful, a direction that leaves the door open for all manner of creative digressions, most of which hit the mark. Instead of the usual male bonding angle, we are presented with a tight knit (albeit, slightly dysfunctional) family who just happen to be in the assassination business. In spite of this rather ignoble profession, the guys are really a fairly normal and amiable bunch who share the same value system and, even, live together. Father figure Sang-yun (with his unkempt appearance and vacant, not totally comprehending gazes, Shin resembles Nicolas Cage in RAISING ARIZONA) displays great anger when little brother Ha-yun (Won Bin, from the "Endless Love" Korean TV series), who has previously only been allowed to keep watch, manages to get himself a gun from Jung-woo. The fact that Ha-yun's use of the weapon later that evening may well have saved his life does not matter to Sang-yun -- the kid and Jung-woo violated his trust. However, such dramatic moments are soon followed by marvellously offbeat humor. One such instance is a RASHOMON-inspired bit, wherein Jung-woo tries to tell the guys about a failed hit, only to have them pick apart his story (which is depicted via a split screen contrast showing both what he claims happened and what really transpired). Ha-yun's intentionally self-conscious (and, sometimes, self-referential) narration also pokes fun at all sorts of movie cliches, from the action genre to romantic comedies. NO COMMENT's Jung Jae-young also stars as the team's remaining member, an ace sniper who delivers one very well timed shot during the "Hamlet" hit (a tour-de-force sequence that is the highlight here).

Cover art courtesy Universe.

Shin Hyun-jun. Image courtesy Universe.

Jung Jae-young, Shin Ha-kyun, and Won Bin. Image courtesy Universe.

Jung Jin-young. Image courtesy Universe.
Universe #6125 (Hong Kong label)

Sync Sound Korean Language (Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS) and Dubbed Cantonese Language Tracks (Dolby Digital 2.0)

Optional Subtitles In English and Chinese (Traditional or Simplified)

8 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Clips

Enhanced for 16:9 Displays

Letterboxed (1.80:1)

Coded for ALL Regions

121 Minutes

Contains moderate violence and language

DVD menu courtesy Universe.

Australia: M 15+ (Medium Level Violence, Low Level Coarse Language)
Hong Kong: IIB
South Korea: 15+


GUNS & TALKS was released theatrically in HK reportedly minus 10-15 minutes of footage. Fortunately, the DVD offers the original version of the film via a very nice 16:9 master that was obviously provided by the South Korean distributor. Writer/director Jang Jin favors high contrast, with intentionally blooming whites, and the transfer delivers this look perfectly. Colors are deep and handsome and the visuals are complemented by a muscular and dynamic mix (DTS is also available, as well as a Cantonese dubtrack in standard stereo). Subtitle translation is good and, thankfully, based on the original Korean version (unlike Mei Ah's horrible Kurosawa discs, which saddle all of the characters with Cantonese names). The supplementary section offers Star Files on the four leads, the original Korean trailer, and trailers for ICHI THE KILLER (the Japanese original with Chinese and English subtitles burned on) and PARTNERS. There is a fairly smooth layer change at 1:10:37.

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