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NATURAL CITY
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Reviewed by: JimmyO

Directed by: Min Byung-Chun

Starring:
Ji-Tae Yoo
Rin Suh
Chan Yoon

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
In the year 2080 when human beings have created Cyborgs for companionship and other necessities. A group of "future cops" try and stop a renegade cyborg who is messing with human DNA.
Is it good movie?
Natural City is a beautiful, dark and mysterious little film that pulled me in and didnít let go. Very rarely is science fiction done this well. In what could be called the South Korean answer to Blade Runner, this is a stunning vision of the future. It is 2080 and there is a Renegade Combat Cyborg trying to break into NEUCOM, a medical facility where all human DNA is kept. A group of MPís are sent in to protect the facility and stop the deviant cyborg by the name of Cyper (Doo-hong Jung). But after many of the men are slaughtered, one of the MPís, R (Ji-Tae Yoo) is suspended. But nothing is as it seems in this here city. R is in loveÖ with a cyborg named Ria (Rin Suh). This could have been your typical Matrix clone but there is something far more substantial here. At its heart, it is a love story. In a society where partners are ďcreatedĒ, most of these people are completely and utterly alone.

Aside from a terrific story and some beautiful performances, I was truly impressed with all the little bells and whistles thrown in. The sets looked fantastic. The use of miniatures was far superior to what I would have expected. And the action worked great. The Combat Cyborgs were fast and loved to just shred their human enemies. But unlike many movies of this caliber, the story and the performances are top notch; especially Ji-tae Yoo and Chang Yun as Noma. The strongest performance came from Rin Suh, not only is she hot as hell, her vulnerability and her sadness gave for one touching performance. Loved that girl!

Now if you like tons of action in your Sci-Fi soup this may not be your bag. The action is there but this is mostly a character driven piece. And yes, by that I mean a tad slow. But I personally donít mind a movie taking itís time if it has something to show for it. This is a movie you have to want to invest yourself in. But if you do, you are rewarded with fantastic visuals, wonderful performances and some pretty cool spurts of violence. What more could you want? Natural City is a visually haunting look at the human condition which mirrors our own fear of loneliness and the desire to be free.
Video / Audio
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 brought out the "Digital" look of the film. Very nice.

Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and DTS Surround Sound 5.1 they both sound very clear.
The Extras
Tartan Asia Extreme is not always generous when it comes to extras. But there are a couple on this disc that make it worthwhile.

The first is The Story of Natural City (23:44) a fairly detailed look at what went on behind the scenes. Director Beung-Cheon Min is a very inventive dude and it shows from the idea of making this "100% Digital" flick. He did good work here and this is a great way to see him in action.

Deleted Scenes (5:56) include some terrific moments with Rin Suh. I loved the chemisty between her and Ji-Tae Yoo and I would have liked to have had a couple of these kept in the movie. Oh well. Good stuff.

The Cast Interviews include Ji-Tae Yoo (5:47), Chan Yoon (7:47) and Rin Suh (4:07). It is amazing to watch these actors talk about their experiences. They have a very good nature about them. I didn't get the self-important "attitude" you sometimes see in these type of interviews. Very interesting watch.

Original Theatrical Trailer (2:12) represents the movie pretty well. Although it seems a bit "Americanized", but hey, whatever gets people to go see the film right?

The disc also includes other Tartan Asia Extreme New Releases. The trailers include; "Marebito", "Oldboy", "Ab-Normal Beauty", "Vital" and "Spider Forest".
Last Call
Natural City is one of the best science fiction flicks I've seen in awhile. It is beautifully shot with an incredible set design and pretty damn good special effects. But what really makes it work is the wonderful characters who are very "human". Highly recommended if you don't mind a slow but satisfying journey.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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