Issue #299         HOME          Contact Us        BACK ISSUES         January 30th, 2006

Libera Me
(2000; Dream Search)

Cantonese: Joi ching gou gap
Mandarin: Zai qing gao ji
English: Disaster Situation Emergency Call


  RATING: 5/10


Five months after his release from prison, arsonist Yeo Hee-soo (KICK THE MOON’s Cha Seung-won) terrorizes the city of Seoul with a series of deadly blazes. Yeo rigs each fire so that a second, far more lethal conflagration ignites shortly after the firefighters have arrived, causing further casualties. He then turns his attention to those members of the department he feels are interfering with his "mission," which develops into a game of cat and mouse with veteran fireman Jo Sang-woo (SWORD IN THE MOON’s Choi Min-su).

Yoo Ji-tae 

CGI and stock shots are employed on occasion in this South Korean production, but director Yang Yun-ho (FIGHTER IN THE WIND) relies mainly on practical FX to depict the various blazes. The film deserves praise as a technical exercise and has a few genuine thrills to offer, but it ultimately fails to improve upon the standard Western approach to this sort of material. Characterizations are sketchy, the heroics corny, and the numerous images of characters being blasted by fireballs or hanging from great heights soon lose their novelty. The opening and closing reels feature the most extensive pyrotechnics, but the protracted climax and one-on-one battle between Yeo and Jo borders on the ludicrous.



The lack of anamorphic enhancement is unfortunate, but the 1.83:1 transfer still looks quite respectable. There are several spots in the film where the image freezes for a split second, while the soundtrack continues unabated; presumably, this is a fault with the element rather than a compression issue. The Korean DTS option serves the visuals best, with good bass and an effective sound field. There are also Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in Korean and Cantonese, as well as a 2.0 Mandarin dub. Two trailers and a music video are included.


Note – the cover for Tai Seng’s Chinese market version posted on Amazon, but is reportedly the same product:
This DVD is available at:

Images in this review courtesy of Tai Seng Entertainment. To read captions, hover mouse over image.

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- U.S. Release

NTSC – Region 0

Tai Seng Entertainment #49284

Dolby Digital 5.1 & 2.0/DTS

Sync Sound Korean and Dubbed Cantonese/ Mandarin Language

Subtitles (Optional): English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese

12 Chapters

4:3 Letterbox (1.83:1)

120 Minutes


- Australia: R18+

Germany: 16

Italy: T

Manitoba: 14A

Nova Scotia: R

Quebec: 13+

Singapore: NC16

Contains moderate violence, nudity, and some coarse language

10 A Masterpiece
9 Excellent
8 Highly Recommended
7 Very Good
6 Recommended
5 Marginal Recommendation
4 Not Recommended
3 Poor
2 Definitely Not Recommended
1 Dreadful