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My Way (2011) Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec:  Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), Korean Dolby Digital 2.0, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), English Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 143 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Blu-ray Release Date: July 24, 2012
  • List Price: $29.98

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

My Way (마이 웨이, Mai wei) is an epic wartime drama from director Kang Je-kyu (Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War) based on real events. Playing like a series of vignettes set against the various moments of World War II, we are first introduced to the film’s protagonists ,Kim Jun-shik (Jang Dong-gun) and Hasegawa Tatsuo (Jô Odagiri), as young boys in Gyeong-seong (modern-day Seoul), Korea in 1928 during the Japanese occupation of Korea. The two children both have aspirations to be marathon runners and eventual run in the Olympics. As they grow, their competitiveness grows, but reaching the Olympics will be an easier task for Hasegawa whose Japanese military roots grant him access to the Olympic trials whereas the native Korean Jun-shik will be barred from even trying out until a special consideration is made, but Japanese officials decide to overlook him anyway when he wins the trials. The inevitable riot breaks out and the Korean men are forced into service in the Imperial Army, fighting for the very same occupiers they despise. Sent off to fight the Soviets, Jun-shik’s nemesis, Hasegawa Tatsuo turns up as his troop’s commanding officer until, what is the film’s best twist. The Japanese army, including all of their Korean subordinates, are overrun by the Soviets and forced themselves first into a work camp and then to sign up as Soviet soldiers to help fight the Germans in what is a battle of sure death. In the intervening time, Hasegawa and Tatsuo have developed an uneasy truce and respect for pone another after Jun-shik passed up the opportunity to kill Hasegawa in a knife fight. When the two somehow manage to survive the Russians, now they must help each other survive the Germans and the remainder of the war.

The story here is obviously one of camaraderie during wartime of two unlikely friends, those who were once bitter rivals, enemies even. Unfortunately it’s a bit too obvious and too one-sided. Jun-shik is heavily portrayed as the idealistic, honorable man, but we really have no understanding of why he should be so. On the other hand, Hasegawa is petty, brutal, and prideful to a fault, historical factors between Japan and Korea notwithstanding, yet he suddenly comes around and becomes pals with Jun-shik. The Europeans are merely window dressing, but that’s completely understandable as this is a film about the Korean and Japanese experience during the war.

But, not to get too bogged down in the film’s faults and make it seem like it’s all bad, because it isn’t, My Way is gorgeous to look at at times with splendid cinematography and the battle sequences are pulse pounding, gritty, and one of the best portrayals of the battle experience I have seen recently. Even with the aforementioned faults, it still manages to stir some emotions, though it is obviously designed to do just that.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

My Way was captured in high definition using the Red One camera at 4K resolution and arrives on Blu-ray in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement from Well Go USA. As one would expect from a pure digital production, My Way is clean with no film grain, but there is some slight video noise that isn’t very harsh, so it tends to look a bit more organic and film-like. Detail is impeccable, picking up minute details in skin, like pores and stubble, or on clothing. Colors are strong and contrast is strong as well. Detail in shadows is extended and there are no issues with crush.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) soundtrack is just as good as the video transfer. It offers clean and natural sounding dialogue and a delicate balance of atmospherics and discrete effects across the surrounds and direct sound from the front with directional panning. The bombastic mix thrusts you right into the midst of the action on the battlefield during the many epic battle scenes with bullets, rumbling tanks, roaring engines and explosions coming from all around the room. This is all aided by deep, resounding low frequencies.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

There’s nothing much here, and the brief “making of” offers little in-depth information.

The supplements:

  • Making Of (1.33:1; SD; 00:09:03)
  • Interview with Jang Dong-Gun and Director Kang Je-Kyu (1.33:1; 00:05:52)
  • Theatrical Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p/24)
  • Home Video Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p/24)
  • International Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p/24)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Awesome, gritty, gut wrenching action combines with a tale of unlikely friendship during World War II to make My Way a flawed, but still enjoyable war film that fans of the genre should appreciate. It all comes together in a solid Blu-ray package from Well Go USA.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B007S0DB56[/amazon-product]

Purchase My Way on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Download My Way on iTunes

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B007S0DB56[/amazon-product]

Purchase My Way on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Download My Way on iTunes

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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