Sex and money are the what the gamblers are betting with in Tazza: The Hidden Card, sometimes known as Tazza 2 starring BIGBANG’s T.O.P (under his legal name, Choi Seung Hyun,) Shin Se Kyung, Kawk Do Won, Honey Lee. The movie is a sequel to 2006’s Tazza: The High Rollers.
In anticipation of the movie’s premiere on DramaFever on March 28, some of KultScene’s staff watched the film.
Basic spoilers to follow. However, I will aim not to ruin the film’s subtleties that make it worth while.
Korea’s hwatu card game may be unknown to people outside of Asia, but Tazza:The Hidden Card is a gambling film to rival the 1998 Matt Damon and Edward Norton film Rounders. Both films utilize cinematic noir elements, such as dark lighting and the crime and sex elements, and are essentially sports films- the protagonist wins, suffers, then comes out on top after a high stakes card game.
T.O.P (Choi Seung Hyun) is great in this film in the role of Ham Dae Gil, a “tazza,” a natural born gambling shark. Choi infuses innocence and loyalty into Ham’s character, mixing smoldering good looks with puppy dog eyes that help make the card shark endearing. Shin Se Kyung’s Mina is gorgeous, sultry, and angry at the world around her. Shin and Choi’s chemistry is undeniable, as the two’s characters work together to bring down top gamblers.
And then, of course, there’s T.O.P’s multiple shirtless scenes, which is one of the reasons for this movie’s immense popularity.
Fans of BIGBANG beware, T.O.P’s abs matched with his jawline and fierce gaze, as well as his character’s caring demeanor, are enough to make the lengthy run time well worth it (more on that later).
There are a lot of secondary characters, many who Choi and Shin’s characters must face throughout the film. While there are a lot of characters, almost every character is fleshed out, to the degree that characters who appear in less than ten minutes of the two and a half hours are memorable. One character, Mr. Go, acts as Ham’s gambling teacher, and says one of the most memorable lines of the film, that is advice for all of the viewers: “Don’t take revenge. Love hard and passionately.”
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The length. A hour in, and important characters have yet to be introduced. In comparison to other heist movies, like the Ocean’s trilogy, the good characters and the bad characters are introduced pretty early on, or at least hinted to. Ham Dae Gil and Mina’s romance is beautiful and sweet, but takes a good length of the film to set up, rather than just getting into Ham’s card games. There are numerous baddies that Ham goes up against, (Jang, Ghost, Seo, etc.) but the most important gambler in the entire movie isn’t even introduced until an hour and a half in due to the slow pace. In comparison, most Disney movies aren’t even an hour and half long. The characters, plot, and movie in general are good, but the pacing is lacking.
In addition, while the characters are fleshed out and their plots are good, there was some character development lacking. Ham is the good guy that will always come out on top, Mina is the woman who is abused by men around her but who ostensibly is good, Jang is a villain, Ghost is stupid, President Woo is sexy and smart, Mr. Go is wise, etc. With over two hours of a run time, it would be nice to see some more surprises from humans’ rather stereotypical character roles.
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This is no movie for people who grow weak upon seeing blood, real or faux.
As far as movies go, Korean films tend to be more gruesome than Hollywood films. Tazza: The Hidden Card included a lot of bloody, gory scenes. Hands were shot off and cut open, organs were removed, and much, much more. The final gory scene in the movie happens with the lights off, and, personally, it makes the whole situation a lot more frightening than the extraneous spurting blood that other scenes in the movie included.
At the end of the day, the movie is good. The script and cinematography are excellent, the lengthiness a bit less so.
Have you seen Tazza: The Hidden Card yet, or are you planning on watching it? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.