• Korean Connection, The

    Released by: Pathfinder Pictures
    Released on 2/25/2003
    Director: Unknown
    Cast: Hwang Jang-Lee
    Year: 1975
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    The Movie:

    This 'thought to be lost' fight film from Korea released in 1975 is a classic tale of revenge - martial arts style.

    The storyline is simple and at the same time, insanely complicated. Basically it revolves around Tiger (played by Hwang Jang-Lee of Snake In Eagle's Shadow), who sets out to marry his fiancé. Unfortunately, her brother refuses to let her marry him and so the two of them take it outside and beat the living snot out of each other on a river bank for a few minutes. When Tiger comes out on top, the brother agrees that he is worthy enough for his sister.

    So things should be cool for him now, right? Nope. No dice. Looks like Tiger's Dad, who's a pretty evil guy with a penchant for assassinating people, won't let Tiger leave the household, so they to decide to beat the living snot out of each other for a few more minutes. Tiger gets his ass whupped by his old man, but musters up the courage one more time to ask for his father's permission to leave the house and marry his one true love.

    Dad decides that, well, ok, maybe I should give the kid a break, but not until he completes one final mission for me. Tiger agrees, and here's where things take a drastic turn for Crazyville.

    Tiger's evil brother, Yammamoto, kidnaps and 'makes a woman' out of Tiger's fiancé (I.E. he rapes her) and steals her off to his evil castle, patrolled by his own personal army of thugs.

    Eventually, a guy in a red shirt with bad sideburns shows up and tells Yammamoto's gang of thugs they're all 'pussies' and that he's the only one who'll be able to stop Tiger from kicking the crap out of all of them, because he's just too tough for them. He proves this when Yammamoto has his men test him out, and he of course mops the floor with all of them.

    But the mysterious stranger with the bad sideburns may not be who he first appears to be, and Tiger is a one man army bent on saving his one true love from his evil brother, so it's a pretty safe bet that things are gonna get violent.

    And get violent they do, and quite often at that. Tiger is a force to be reckoned with, throwing punches and landing kicks faster than anyone else in the film save for the sideburn guy.

    The Korean Connection is a pretty rock solid 75 minute festival of ass kicking. It moves along at a really fast pace, and if fight scenes are your bag, then baby, get ready, cause there's plenty of them here. Short on plot but heavy on action, whoever directed this (and this does seem to be a legitimate mystery, I can't for the life of me find out who really did direct it) had a pretty good eye as the camera captures the fight scenes well.

    While it's certainly not the best martial arts film ever made, The Korean Connection is thoroughly entertaining and full of unintentionally hilarious moments (mostly provided by the insane dubbing job).

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The Korean Connection is presented in what I assume is it's original aspect ratio, 2.35.1, though the image is not enhanced for anamorphic sets. Quality wise, this transfer is very good with no artifacting or edge enhancement issues in site, though the elements used to produce the transfer are a different story. This being a very obscure film likely stored under less than ideal condition for the last 20-25 years, the print was obviously not in very good shape. The image here is roughly on par with Pathfinder's release of Master of the Flying Guillotine. It's watchable, but there is a lot of print damage to be seen. Overall, Pathfinder has done a very good job with what they had to work with.

    The film is presented here with an English dubbed track only, in Dolby Digital 2 Channel Mono. Most of it sounds like it was recorded inside a tin can, as it has that stereotypical 'kung fu movie' sound to it, but it's pretty easy to hear what's going on despite it's flaws, and you should have no problem following the dialogue. The dubbing on the film is absolutely hilarious, none of the voices match the characters at all, and I'm pretty sure it was done by a group of 3 or 4 white guys trying to sound Asian. Too bad that the original language track wasn't included like it was on Master Of The Flying Guillotine, but who knows if it even exists anymore.

    Pathfinder has included the films original North American theatrical trailer, which is moderately entertaining in it's own right - it's basically a collage of fight scenes.

    The Final Word:

    The Korean Connection is a fast moving and unintentionally hilarious film given a decent presentation from Pathfinder.