• Prison, The



    Released by: Well Go USA
    Released on: September 19th, 2017.
    Director: Na Hyun
    Cast: Kim Rae-won, Han Suk-kyu, Lee Kyeong-yeong
    Year: 2017
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    The Movie:

    Na Hyun’s 2017 film The Prison opens with the arrest of a man named Song Yoo-gun (Kim Rae-won), a former Seoul based police officer who was once known on the streets as ‘The Grim Reaper.’ It seems he took his job pretty seriously and would do whatever it took to see that justice was served. We don’t ever really learn what exactly he did to land himself behind bars, but that’s where he winds up.

    The prison where Song Yoo-gun is interred isn’t dissimilar to pretty much every other prison you’ve seen in the movies. It’s populated with tough guys, inmates that’ll walk over you to get ahead and plenty of competitive machismo. There seems to be an ongoing quest for dominance amongst the inmates, and it doesn’t take long for Song to get swept up in that. Things get complicated for him when he meets Jung Ik-ho (Han Suk-kyu). He’s been in this prison almost two decades and at this point, not only knows how to play the game, but is seemingly in charge of it. He is by far the most connected man in the facility, with plenty of political connections to ensure that he gets what he wants when he wants it. Still a cop at heart, Song finds himself in a bit of a predicament, having to work his way up through Ik-Ho’s ranks for his own sake, but of course, there will be conflict…

    We’ve seen this type of thing in prison movies before so don’t go into this film expecting too much in the way of originality but there is plenty of entertainment value to be had. If Na Hyun’s not reinventing the wheel, he writes his characters well and has control over the film’s pacing and execution. There’s enough style here to ensure that the movie looks good, the location work is really solid and completely realistic, and the action scenes in the film are handled nicely. The movie is gritty, dark and violent but the characters are interesting enough and there’s a decent, if slightly predictable, twist towards the film’s finale.

    Acting is solid. Kim Rae-won makes for an interesting lead, he looks tough and worldly, while Han Suk-kyu is excellent as the film’s scene stealing heavy. The score in the film sounds out of place at times, its’ a bit too bombastic for its own good, but otherwise –this works quite well.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The Prison looks great on Blu-ray in this AVC encoded 2.35.1 widescreen 1080p high definition transfer from Well Go USA. Depth is impressive here as is the color reproduction, though much of the film does take place inside some rather grim locations. There are no problems with compression artifacts and detail is generally strong throughout. Some minor banding is noticeable here and there but it's not ever to the point where it becomes distracting. Skin tones look lifelike, black levels are strong and there are no noticeable problems with compression artifacts. Texture is great and all in all, the movie looks very good in high definition on this release.

    The primary audio option on this disc is a Korean language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track. A Dolby Digital Stereo tracks is also provided in Korean. Subtitles are provided in English only. Getting back to that Korean language lossless track, it sounds really good. The film makes great use of the surround channels, especially during the more action intensive moments, so expect a good amount of sound effects to zip past you in addition to some great directionality in terms of how the score is used here. Dialogue stays clean and clear, the subtitles are easy to read and free of any typographical errors, and the levels are properly balanced throughout.

    Extras are limited to a trailer for the feature, trailers for a few other Well Go USA properties, menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    The Prison is, in a word, intense. It’s well made, the acting is solid and the movie is well paced and exciting. Well Go USA’s Blu-ray release is light on extras but the audio and video quality is solid. Fans of prison films should check this out.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!