• Missing

    Released by: Cineasia
    Released on: 1/31/2011
    Director: Kim Sung-Hong
    Cast: Moon Sung-Keun, Choo Ja-Hyun
    Year: 2010

    The Movie:

    Kim Sung-Hong’s Missing, judging by the cover art, looks like typical Saw/Hostel inspired ‘torture porn,’ a fair bit of which has been coming out of Korea lately (The Butcher being a prime example) but looks can be deceiving. While it’s true that this picture does incorporate elements from some of those better known domestic offerings, it shows an admirable amount of restraint at times and instead seems more focused on atmosphere, mood and tension than flat out nasty gore effects.

    The film revolves around Pan-gon (Moon Sung-keun), a farmer who has some land out in a rural part of South Korea. By a few odd strokes of luck, he winds up getting involved with a movie director and a beautiful young actress (Choo Ja-Hyun). Before you know it, this seemingly innocent farmer has murdered the director and is holding the actress hostage in his basement. In typically psychopathic fashion, he has his way with her, abuses her in various ways, and even removes some of her teeth. Things are looking pretty grim for the poor girl until her sister takes it upon herself to find out why she’s gone missing and where she’s gotten off to.

    A not all together too original storyline hampers this one, but it’s made all the more interesting thanks to the efforts of leading man Moon Sung-keun who throws himself into the role quite fearlessly. He plays his part with such convincing normalcy at times that you can’t quite get a handle on him and this does give the film a bit of unpredictability where otherwise it would have fallen very short in that regard. It isn’t at all difficult to figure out where this movie is going before it even really starts rolling but Moon Sung-keun’s character is interesting enough that it’s not such a chore to go along for the ride.

    In terms of the sex, violence and sexual violence that the set up allows for, Missing, as said, shows a bit more restraint than you might expect it to (and possibly more than gorehounds might want it to). While very little is left to the imagination as far as what happens to characters and how, the cameras don’t wallow in the aftermath, instead allowing much of the action to occur just far enough out of frame. This works well with the film’s quirky sense of humor and some of the black comedy that’s worked into the more abrasive set pieces further helps to make this one more interesting than it would have been otherwise.

    Kim Sung-Hong directs with enough confidence and style and controls the pacing well enough that the movie goes at a good pace and holds your interest throughout – but it’s probably not something you’re going to find yourself wanting to watch more than once, even if it does get a fair bit more right than wrong.


    NOTE: This review is based off of a test disc sent for review purposes and final product may differ.

    The 1.7.81 anamorphic widescreen transfer on this disc looks fine. Detail is sharp enough though the colors have obviously been toyed with and given an intentionally muted look. Black levels are sometimes a little closer to dark grey, but overall things look good enough.

    Audio options are offered in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and 2.0 Stereo, both tracks in the film’s native Korean with optional English subtitles. Some nice channel separation helps make some of the more intense scenes a bit more effective and the levels are consistent and well balanced. No problems here, the movie sounds good.

    Extras are slim, limited to a trailer for the feature, a teaser for the feature, and trailers for a few other Cineasia releases.

    The Final Word:

    Missing is a moderately entertaining thriller with elements from other recent horror films mixed in rather effectively. It doesn’t go quite as far as it hints it will, but maybe there’s something to be said for restraint. Cineasia’s DVD seems to be of decent quality, but since this is a test disc it’s tough to say for sure.

    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Mike T's Avatar
      Mike T -
      I see by the sixth and seventh screenshot that Cine Asia still run with interlaced transfers! You would have thought they might have joined the 21st century, or at least learnt something from their HKL days? I guarantee the Korean disc would have been progressive (just like the Fortune Star masters HKL somehow managed to put out interlaced). Sheesh...even smaller labels do progressive transfers these days.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Not all of their recent output has been interlaced, but yeah, this one is.
    1. Mike T's Avatar
      Mike T -
      Sadly, every title I have from them on DVD is interlaced. But their BDs are pretty good, I must say -- though I'm not sure why the insistence on supplying a Dolby 2.0 track with every release they put out though. It's not like 2.0 is the original sound on these things anymore; HK have been using Dolby digital on features since '94 and Japan and Korea have been offering theatrical features with DTS and DD-EX for a couple of decades now. If they're just supplying 2.0 downmixes on the BDs for people without home cinema set-ups, that's kinda dumb -- why go BD and then not have the sound equipment to benefit from lossless audio?
    1. Mike T's Avatar
      Mike T -
      Well, there you go. I checked through all my little guy's recent DVDs (from studios like Fox, Paramount, Sony and Disney) and they're all interlaced! So interlaced transfers must be a lot more commonplace in the UK than I first thought. My bad.