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K-Movie: 타짜 (Tazza: The High Roller)


Tazza: The High Roller

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Movie: Tazza: The High Rollers
Hangul: 타짜
Revised Romanization: Tajja
Director: Choi Dong-Hun
Writer: Choi Dong-Hun, Huh Young-Man (comic)
Producer: Seung-jae Cha, Min-hee Kim
Cinematography: Young-hwan Choi
Release Date: September 28, 2006 (South Korea)
Runtime: 139 min.
Production Budget: US$ 5.5M
Studio: SidusFNH
Distributor: CJ Entertainment
Language:South Korea
Country: Korean
Webpage Info Links: AsianMediaWiki; Wikipedia; Sundance Channel

Synopsis (Sundance Channel)
One of Korea's biggest cinematic hits, filmmaker Choi Dong-Hoon's stylish and entertaining psychological thriller chronicles via flashbacks the saga of Goni (Jo Seung Woo), an uneducated young factory worker who transforms himself from a naïve victim of card sharks into "tazza," a master gambler at the height of his powers. Assisted by an old pro (Baek Yun Shik) and a mysterious femme fatale (Kim Hye Soo), Goni learns the ruthless rules of the game to enact his revenge and find his destiny. "Totally irresistible" - San Francisco Chronicle.

(AsianMediaWiki)
Goni is a man with a problem. More than a problem, really. Goni has an addiction, hard and fast, to gambling in general, and specifically hwatu, an old-as-the-hills Korean card game played with a deck of tiny, flower-blazoned cards. This wouldn’t be such a problem if Goni weren’t so embarrassingly bad at it. Cleaned out of his life savings, Goni steals more from his family and loses that too. What’s a poor kid to do? Well, when this poor kid realizes that he’s just been swindled by an organized ring of cheaters, he sets off on a quest to track them down and beat them at their own game, having first apprenticed himself to a wise old hwatu master. Enter the world of Tazza, a world where the hand is faster than the eye, where deception is the name of the game and where neither friendship nor enmity last forever.

Cast and Characters
Cho Seung-Woo as Go-Ni
Baek Yun-Shik as Pyung Gyung-Jang
Kim Hye-Su as Madam Jung
Yu Hae-Jin as Ko Kwang-Ryeol
Kim Yun-Seok as Aw-Kwi
Ju Jin-Mo as Jjakgwi
Kim Sang-Ho as Park Mu-Seok
Baek Do-Bin as Kwak
Kwon Tae-Won as Ho-Ku
Kim Kyeong-Ik

Last edited by SuperRookie, 2/20/2012, 10:50 am


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Re: K-Movie: 타짜 (Tazza: The High Roller)


Tazza the Movie is airing on Sundance Channel this weekend, Saturday February 25 at 2:00AM.

All In is one of my favorite K-Drama series, and reading the info on this movie kind of reminds me of All In, so I'm looking forward to checking it out. Has anyone seen this movie or have any opinions of it?

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Re: K-Movie: 타짜 (Tazza: The High Roller)


I'm curious about where this would fall in the American film rating system. I've watched several K-movies that were unexpectedly graphic both in violence and sex that wasn't mentioned in reviews. After that, if it's an award-winning, 'artistic' movie, I'll pass on it.
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Re: K-Movie: 타짜 (Tazza: The High Roller)


According to the cable programming grid of the info Sundance Channel provided, it's rated as TV-MA.

What that means in the context of this film though, I don't know... since that could mean anything from some violence to really distrubing. Most of the movies Sundance channel picks up from Japan or Korea tend to be TV-MA by the cable rating standards. They call their asian block "Asian Extreme." Most of these films or the ones I have seen on Sundance or the sister channel, IFC tend to have stronger content than most. I remember IFC usually picked up mostly horror flicks in the past, those had mostly bloody or violent content, while Sundance has been known to have more risque content of the other variety. I am not sure why there are so many Korean and Japanese films, at least the ones that make its way out west are usually the ultra-pretentious ones or have so much graphic content. After seeing Old Boy... I don't think I can be shocked any more. LOL Brilliant film, but very disturbing and shocking in many ways.

I'll post some comments about Tazza after I see it.

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Re: K-Movie: 타짜 (Tazza: The High Roller)


Thanks, SuperRookie. I'm glad to know the general and specifics of the Japanese and Korean movies. Just a term like "Asian Extreme" gives me the willies. I'll just happily stick with those films that are innocuous to my sensitivities.
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Re: K-Movie: 타짜 (Tazza: The High Roller)


Took a few weeks, but I finally had the time to getting around to watching this film on DVR.

Overall, I thought it was a fairly good film that captured the dark underworld of gambling culture very well.

Unlike the sometimes more glamorized world we saw in All In, this one is a lot more visceral in terms of the shady thugs that reside in it. The underworld represented here can be quite brutal to those who fall into the snares of gambling, perhaps a message of what lies behind the excitement and glamor if one gets too deep into gambling debts and the whole "game" and excitement of it.

The interesting aspect of this film was how the story was presented, it was almost like a series of stylish vignettes that all came together - the director did a very good job in that regard - the cinematography, quality of picture and music were also quite good. I think the best part of this film was probably the cool main character, the comic book roots displaying his heroic nature, and the female character, Kim Hye Su exuded a seductive and present aura throughout.

The cast had a number of recognizable K-Drama familiars, like one of the bad guy heads in this is Kim Eun Soo (the rival Chairman in History of the Salaryman). The cast as a whole was varied and the performances didn't have me wanting.

For me the main issue with the film is an issue I have with a lot of films of late, they aren't able to draw me in entirely. This film focused more on the cool and darker aspects of the gambling world, which All In the K-Drama TV series did as well, but that one had a balance with a larger scoped storyline and also the glamor of gambling. This one was all about the darker and negative aspects of it, and the underworld that may ensnare addicts.

Probably something I'll never watch again, and I don't know if I'd recommend this film much either (other than for All In or gambling cinema fans), but I don't regret investing the time to see it.

As far as the graphic nature, there were 2-3 scenes that stood out as more violent than comparison to the rest of the film, certainly more graphic than TV series, but for a film, I didn't really find this that graphic compared to western action films, shock films or some of the niche Japanese films that had some shock value, certainly this was significantly more tame than Old Boy. There is also some light nudity and sexual content too that is not suited for certain ages, though it wasn't too bad in this regard for older audiences, there's worse on US cable.

I'd say most of the content on this would probably get a R rating if it were released in theater. But violence and sexual content is very subjective. The violence here is way lower than Kill Bill for example, I think they edited that one down to a R rating.

Last edited by SuperRookie, 3/18/2012, 10:07 pm


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Re: K-Movie: 타짜 (Tazza: The High Roller)


I just got The Thieves and Choi Dong-Hun is the same director. After reading all your comments though, I'm a bit worried about the content considering its not even rated. It just says Rating Pending on the box. =O Anyone seen that one that can enlighten me a bit before I watch?

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Re: K-Movie: 타짜 (Tazza: The High Roller)


class blockquote GilM wrote:

I just got The Thieves and Choi Dong-Hun is the same director. After reading all your comments though, I'm a bit worried about the content considering its not even rated. It just says Rating Pending on the box. =O Anyone seen that one that can enlighten me a bit before I watch?
Start a new thread on it, in case someone sees the title and has seen it.

Heard about it, how could one not with it being the #1 south Korean film of all time!? Have not seen it yet though. But I haven't heard much complaints on graphic nature... So I'm guessing par for the course... Yeah, Korean Films can be graphic, and while there are exceptions... Most of the stuff on US cable and Western Films are usually more graphic. So it depends on where your bar is.

Either way, after you watch it, please let us know what you thought of the movie!


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Re: K-Movie: 타짜 (Tazza: The High Roller)


I'll let you all know what it was like for sure. Guess Ill have to be the one to find out on the content right?

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Re: K-Movie: 타짜 (Tazza: The High Roller)


class blockquote GilM wrote:

I'll let you all know what it was like for sure. Guess Ill have to be the one to find out on the content right?
Good idea on being the guinea pig, I mean signing up for the Exclusive CJK Dramas ratings board panel. emoticon Haha!

Yes, please let us know... Would love to hear your thoughts on the movie and if it's worth checking out.

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