Noryang: Deadly Sea - Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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Apr 4, 2017
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Noryang: Deadly Sea

Movie: :3stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :1star:
Final Score: :3stars:

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Noryang: Deadly Sea hails itself as :”The final chapter of the director Kim Han-Min’s epic nautical trilogy”, and I had to do a double take for a moment to recall which film series I was dealing with. The cover looked soooooooooo familiar, as did the basic description of the battle, and that’s when it hit me. This is the direct sequel to The Admiral: Roaring Currents (which I actually bought and watched AFTER Hansan: Rising Dragon) and 2022’s Hansan: Rising Dragon (which was actually a prequel to The Admiral: Roaring Currents), both of which I had thought of very favorably. They had some flaws, but were very fun (if not a bit hard to grasp without Korean history knowledge) sea faring war films that put the word “epic” in Korean period piece cinema.

Once more we’re put back into the center of a giant sea battle during the 7 year war in which Japan invaded Korea. In this particular battle were in the final stages of the war during 1598, where Admiral Yi Sun-sin (Kim Yoon-seok) is once again forced to face the Japanese once more, even though his forces have basically decimated the Japanese fleet. Intrigue, betrayal, and subterfuge run rampant as he’s once more required to go up against the remaining fleet to stop them before it’s too late..

The film literally info dumps an entire metric ton of information at the very beginning (it’s almost hilarious how much of the backstory is simply vomited onto the screen, and then repeated several times throughout the film), but even that isn’t enough to completely decipher what’s going on to Western audiences. As I mentioned in my Hansan: Rising Dragon review, these three nautical tales requires a LOOOT of history and backstory to ancient Korean time periods to really provide maximum engagement in the story, and Noryang is no different. It took me two separate viewings to catch most of what was going on, but even then I only got to about 90% absorption rate due to just how dense and chewy the historical references were.

That being said, the story is easy enough to get MOST of the pertinent information out with only brief bouts of confusion for the main story line. It’s pretty simple with the devil being in the literal details here, as China, Korea and Japan having a three way effort to end this terrible 7 year war, naturally with Korean’s taking the brunt of the credit here. Noryang:: Deadly Sea continues in the tradition of utilizing impressive set design and some amazingly well shot sea battles (despite the sloppy CGI) to keep viewers fascinated in the mechanics of an over 500 year old sea battle between nations that most Westerners aren’t intimately familiar with.


Not Rated by the MPAA

Video: :4stars:
As is pretty common with foreign films, I couldn’t find much information out there on what cameras were used, and the resolution of the master for the home video release either. From digging around in the credits we see some Arri Alexa logos cross the screen, but past that I’m no idea about all the details of the release. All I know is that he film looks distinctly digital, especially as it suffers from an abundance of noise in some of the torch lit night time shots. That being said, the 2.39:1 AVC encode looks very good, with ambers and blues as the main color highlights. Fine dtails are very nice, showing rich embroidered period piece costumes, and bright primary colors for said clothing pieces. Black levels are generally good, but as I said, suffers from some digital noise and the typical banding that Blu-ray is prone to. All in all, a good looking image is with some caveats.

Audio: :4.5stars:
Easily the best part of the entire package is the 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless audio mix. It may not be Atmos or DTS:X, but the 5.1 mix is heavily immersive, with an absolute gorging of naval battle scenes that make full use of all 6 channels throughout. Dialog is strong and crisp as can be, located straight up in the center like expected. But the surrounds and the mains are absolutely on FIRE here, as whistling cannon balls and crunching debris just litter the soundscape. Bass is tight and punchy most of the time, but goes overboard near the end with the deluge of war drums (the mid bass on that final 10 minute war drum is unbelievable). Great job Well Go USA

Extras: :1star:
• Character HIstory
• Theatrical Trailer
• Well Go USA Previews

Final Score: :3stars:

Noryang: Deadly Sea feels a bit like an after thought to the trilogy, with director Kim Han-Min’s energy having mostly played out in the previous two films. This is still a solid enough period piece epic, but it seems to lack some of the emotion grabbing aspects of the previous two flicks in the “trilogy”. The Well Go USA Blu-ray looks and sounds great though, with the typical anemic extras that we’ve come to expect, so fans of the film series may very much want to check out the final chapter. Decent Watch is my final recommendation.

Technical Specifications:

Starring: Jeong Jae-yeong, Yeo Jin-goo, Huh Joon-ho
Directed by: Han-min Kim
Written by: Han-min Kim
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: Korean: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Korean DD 2.0
Subtitles: English, French
Studio: Well Go USA
Rated: NR
Runtime: 152 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: May 14th, 2024

Recommendation: Decent Watch

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