With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

South Korean crime thriller TRAFFICKERS available today

Well Go USA
Traffickers / Gong-mo-ja-deul
Directed by KIM Hong-seon
South Korea, 2012, 111 minutes

There are many reasons for taking a large ferry boat from South Korea to Wei Hai, China, most of them perfectly legitimate, some of them -- such as smuggling -- less so. But the most dastardly reason has to be to harvest organs from an unsuspecting passenger for transplants for the wealthy on the black market. And that's the premise of this taught crime thriller from South Korea which debuts on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital toady, Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

In a prelude scene, we witness one of these operations unravel. The unwilling male "donor" manages to escape from the room being used for surgery. When one of the crew tries to recapture him, things take a turn for the worse.

Young-kyo (center) with Jun-shik behind and to his right and Dae-woong further back and to his left

The bulk of the film takes place three years after this incident. Young-kyo (IM Chang-jung) the leader of the crew, has abandoned organ trafficking and engages in run-of-the-mill smuggling. He still uses two of his underlings from the harvesting operations, the full-faced Jun-shik (JO Dai-hwan) and the thin Dae-woong (LEE Young-hoon).

Young-kyo has strong romantic feelings for Yu-ri (JO Yun-hie), a young ticket-booth girl at the port from which the ferry leaves South Korea. But she is preoccupied with her father's failing health. In one of the film's several coincidences, he is in dire need of a transplant.

Dong-bae, Young-kyo's former boss, entices him into making another harvesting ferry run. The operation will again be performed by a dissolute doctor known simply as "Old Man" (OH Dal-su), who was apparently to blame for things going wrong three years earlier. And once again things threaten to go wrong when a passenger begins a frantic search for his missing wife, who has been selected as the black-marketers' next victim.

The doctor (facing away) prepares to do his thing in the ferry's sauna

Traffickers is the feature film debut of KIM Hong-seon, who co-wrote the screenplay (also his first) with KIM Sang-myung. Director KIM has done a fine job of keeping this thriller taught and moving along, which no doubt contributed to his receiving the 2012 Blue Dragon Award as Best New Director.

Disc Specs:
- Audio Options:
  - Korean DTS-HD 5.1
  - Korean Dolby Digital 2.0
- Subtitle Options: English / Off
- Extras:
  - Trailer
  - Previews of three other Well Go USA releases

AsianCineFest Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; a good, solid and well-executed crime thriller.

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