The Tiger (Blu-ray Review)

Tiger SquareFrom writer/director Park Hoon-jung (New World) comes the critically-acclaimed drama The Tiger, debuting on Blu-ray, DVD and digital August 9 from Well Go USA Entertainment.  The film features a remarkable performance from Korean superstar Choi Min-sik (OldboyLucyThe Admiral: Roaring Currents) returning to action in the role of retired sharpshooter facing off against the last surviving tiger in Japanese-occupied Korea in 1925.   The film also stars Jung Man-sik (Chronicle of a Blood Merchant), Kim Sang-ho (The Beauty Inside), Ren Osugi (upcoming Godzilla Resurgence) and feature film newcomers Sung Yu-bin and Jeong Seok-won.

Tiger Film


Any movie dealing with a creature created from GCI work already has a serious uphill battle to climb.  Not only do they have to make sure all computer generated work doesn’t distract from the drama, but also that the character work within is up to snuff to keep all fantastical elements grounded.  Fortunately the rich and lush looking Korean import The Tiger keeps all of the above firmly in mind and even with some obvious effects manages to overcome the typical trope pitfalls to create a tiger tale that’s still tasty.

Chun Man-duk is an elder retired hunter who has seen better days.  He’s lost his wife, his relationship with his son is strained and his zest for both life and hunting is almost gone.  But back in the day he was the best of the best and now a new team has decided to pick up his mantle.  Seems Japanese forces have got their sights set on the infamous “For-Legged Mountain Lord”, a huge Tiger which many in power wish to obtain for bragging rights.  But even they eventually must seek out the skills of the uncooperative Chun to try to catch the illusive animal.

I’m not delving too much into the intricacies of the plot here, as there are some interesting reveals and terrific twists and turns that add both mystery and mysticism to the story that are well worth holding back.  As with most flicks out of Korea these days there’s much more going on here than merely a simple hunting for a tiger story – a search for redemption, solace and closure are all well woven throughout this notable tall tale.  Director Park Hoon-jung wisely fills his forest creature spectacle with equal parts charismatic character conflict for maximum effect and it pays off handsomely.

Plus The Tiger is firmly at its best when dealing with the human characters of the story anyway.  As the pushed back into action sharpshooter Chun, Oldboy alum Choi Min-sik never met a role he couldn’t add extra layers too and his work here is just as amazing.  Matched with some intense scenes of tiger-on-man action, the quality of Choi’s performance is comparably breathtaking and makes the flick much more than a simple man vs. tiger movie.  Plus as the flip side of Chun’s skilled coin and obsessed with a singular killing focus, Jung Man-sik’s foil adds just the right amount of darkness to the hunt to keep things interesting.

I will admit there are a few flaws within The Tiger – first and foremost being some of the CGI work on the titular animal.  While there are some shots where you would swear a real tiger was used (and some that pass merely on sheer unbridled animal ferocity!), there are some obvious shots that do take the viewer out of the fold.  The filmmakers to try to minimize the effect by dimming the brightness to lesson noticeability, but there’s no getting around the fact that this is CGI tiger – for better or worse.  Plus as Chun’s stubborn son, Sung Yu-bin is a hard kid to root for and his less than believable turn does take some of the dramatic wind out of the films’ sails.

But overall the verdict here is a good one with plenty of amazing animal and acting work to satisfy.  Look, most films have ups and downs and in the case of The Tiger the good stuff far outmatches the bad.  Man or beast, the audience ultimately wins.

Tiger Audio


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: The scenes that aren’t a little darkened to hide the tiger CGI are lavish, lush and uber-picturesque – fine transfer, fine picture.

Depth: Spacing is grandiose with everything in full visual sight.

Black Levels: The dark sequences are a tad under lit, but again they’re trying to mute the movie magic in favor of a realistic feel.

Color Reproduction: When it’s lit the colors are bright, beautiful and ravishing.

Flesh Tones: Again when lit tones are fine.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Tiger Final


Audio Formats(s): Korean DTS 5.1 Dolby Digital HDMA, Korean 2.0 Stereo

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Dynamics: Full range and especially pops during all sequences involving the tiger itself.

Low Frequency Extension: There’s a nice quiet hum that permeates the picture when Choi Min-sik’s character is in sullen mode.

Surround Sound Presentation: The tiger is coming at you – from all sides!

Dialogue Reproduction: Seems fine, but all is subtitled so it’s never an issue.

Tiger Video


Bare bones with just Trailers for The Tiger (SD, 1:28), The Wailing (SD, 1:54), Memories Of The Sword (SD, 1:44) and Assassination (SD, 1:40).

Tiger Extras


With a flick that has much to brag about and a Blu-ray visual and sound package that enhances it recommending this one is a no-brainer.  (But work on those extras guys – they matter!)

Tiger Bluray


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

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