No Blood No Tears

No Blood No Tears


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Far from No Blood No Tears, this film has both, though much more of the former. Described in the trailer as 'pulp noir', it owes clear debt to Quentin Tarantino's work. It's got the multilayered narrative, the crossing paths, the heist that becomes complicated, all the necessaries.

The action dances back and forth through time introducing our characters. There's a tax driver, a gangster's moll, a variety of lacklustre gangsters at all stages of the pecking order, a boxer. There's even three stoner thugs for comic relief. In contrast to pulp fiction it's more of the modern age, if only because everyone has mobiles.

Copy picture

There's a car chase, a car accident, a somewhat fierce, somewhat generic score, men fighting men, women fighting women, men fighting women and the reverse, everything an action fan could want. Many of the fights lapse into new realist style 'confuse-o-vision', admittedly more convincing than the swooshes and literally wooden thunks of chop socky but still a pain for audiences to keep track of. Still, plenty of opportunity for the old kroovy, what with the lashings of ultraviolence.

The heist takes place at a dogfight, and while nothing is seen on screen it's still possible that some audiences could be upset.

Writer/director Ryoo Seung-wan was previously responsible for Die Bad, with which it has a number of other similarities, not least in terms of structural sophistication. There's no great originality here, but there are some good performances. Whatever its debts to Tarantino, it's probably closer to the work of Guy Ritchie; what it lifts is obvious without attribution, but what it adds is lost. Some of this is doubtless down to the language barrier; there's some sense that the (frequent) profanity is correct, but there's usually the sense that it's not quite accurate. Swearing in any tongue tends to come across badly, and one suspects that the Korean language has more to offer than the small number of English near-equivalents we are shown.

Reviewed on: 13 Nov 2008
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No Blood No Tears packshot
A washed-up cabbie and an aspiring singer form an unlikely partnership to make some cash... but pulling of the heist isn't easy.
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Director: Ryu Seung-wan

Writer: Jeong Jin-wan, Ryu Seung-wan

Starring: JUN Do-Yeon Lee Hye-young, Jung Jae-young, Shin Goo, Jung Doo-hong

Year: 2002

Runtime: 116 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: South Korea


London Korean 2011

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