Bloody Tie

Bloody Tie begins with a riveting rush of adrenaline that immediately sucks the viewer into its netherworld, though its high octane smack down never pause energy level begins to wear out its welcome just a bit by the end. This is a dark crime film that oozes noir within its shadowy world of cops and bad guys in which no one can be trusted and everybody and everything falls into blanched gray immoral territory. It feels like a James Ellroy novel that should have been set in Los Angeles. Instead it takes place in the port city of Busan where the economy has crashed but drugs are on a high and the crooked cops and drug dealers play a game of holding hands hide and seek. It’s fun time in Busan and everyone is on the make and the party girls are rolling over for a quick fix.

Sang-do (Ryoo Seung-beom) is one of these high flying drug dealers though he prefers being called a venture capitalist with 3000% returns. He tells us “I give them happiness and they give me money”. A perfect relationship. His only worry in the world is a narcotics cop – Detective Doh (Hwang Jeong-min) who likes to shave off some of his earnings and smack him around just to keep in practice. Doh is a bitter corrupt cop who used to try and do his job till his partner was killed by a top drug dealer called Jangchul – who then did a deal with the D.A. and got off with no time and left for China. Doh comforts the grieving widow with pounding sex and during this he promises her and her intruding son to some day avenge their father/husband – but all he really wants now is to drink, screw and hit people. Then a new D.A. comes to town and everything changes.

Doh informs us (in noir narrative) that drug dealers are not gangsters – gangsters have ethics and loyalty – drug dealers have none and will roll over on anybody to save their skin. He comes to Sang-do and tells him that the D.A. means business and he has to arrest someone and forces Sang-do to entrap his boss. But everything goes wrong and Doh is suspended and Sang-do ends up in jail. When he gets out all the former drug gangs are gone, but somehow drugs are still hitting the streets and rumor is that Jangchul is back in town. Doh may be rotten to the core but as Sam Spade would have groused in The Maltese Falcon, a partner is a partner and when he is killed you have to make things right and he begins an obsessive attempt to take Jangchul down and drags Sang-do all the way. Gritty, grimy and mean spirited, the film reeks with the sewage of their lives and dips us in head first.

My rating for this film: 7.0


Reviewed: 03/07