Bad Korean bootleg DVD's, doh!

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Andy Kim, May 25, 2004.

  1. Andy Kim

    Andy Kim Second Unit

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    Hi Everyone,
    I was looking for some Korean DVD's and decided to venture to this large Asian mall in town where they have many DVD shops. Keep in mind I am very new to the whole international dvd thing.

    I got Musa (2 disc), Taegukgi, and Shilmido. I had an inkling that these weren't legit given their all region coding but purchased them anyways. I knew that some legit Korean DVD's were coded as all region or sometimes Region 1 and 3 so hoped that this was the case.
    Boy was I wrong!
    Shilmido was taken directly from a guy sitting in a theater and recording it from his camcorder. It was unwatchable. As for Taegukgi, the picture was slightly better than VCD quality however the sound was horrible I could tell that it was recorded from within a movie theater also.
    Musa was the only one that was watchable. It wasn't anamorphic but atleast was decent quality.

    I guess my question is: how do people go about enjoying Korean cinema in North America? Right now I'm stuck with whatever Columbia Tristar decides to release which hasn't been much...There's been "Shiri", "The Way Home" and "Tube". Is getting an all-region player the only way to go? Aren't all-region players knockoff's themselves though also?

    Andy
     
  2. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    Not necessarily.

    I've purchased four region-free players over the years. Two from Future Shop, one from Best Buy in the U.S. and only one from an Asian Mall (Time Square) in Richmond Hill, Toronto. In fact, this latter machine was my first region-free unit which, I learned later, was vastly marked up. These players are not always region-free out of the box, which means the manufacturers don’t explicity have to advertise the feature. That said, the cheaper machines tend to be easily hacked with the remote, another fact the manufacturers don’t have to advertise. Others here might go into the legalities of all this, but when major Canadian retailers (virtuall ALL of them in fact) sell hackable low-priced players, there’s little reason NOT to get one.

    I was in Toronto on the weekend and was probably in the store you mention (downtown on Spadina?) and saw Silmido and Taegukgi. Sadly, the only risk you take with bootlegs nowadays is if you buy them prior to their being legitimately released in their home territories. The hard truth is that many of the boots available these days are better as good as the originals, provided the originals are on the market. It really makes it tough for the legitimate retailer in that city, though. The Chinese bootleggers thrive on getting titles in the shops before the official DVDs have even been released, but they’re inevitably shot off theatre screens or duped from early-release VCDs and thus a huge ripoff for the consumer. The best way to tell that these were bad boots is the presence of only Chinese lettering all over the sleeves. A friend of mine got hosed on Battle Royale 2 this way. I even warned him it would be junk because the official DVD had yet to be released. We get it back to his place and it’s a theatre steal replete with the sound of the popcorn machine (or something) in the lobby because the dude was sitting near the exit!

    When I ordered the legit version a couple months later, I loaned it to my buddy so he could finally see it.

    My suggestion is to get an all region player and shop online when possible, at places like Yesasia.com or DDDhouse.com or other Asian movie retailers (many Korean films are released in their original language in much cheaper Hong Kong DVDs). There used to be a small place in Little Korea on Bloor where you could rent Korean DVDs, but it was one of those places where you could sit in a room and watch it with friends (they also had a huge comic-book reading section) so I’m not sure if you’d be able to take them home to watch.

    Judging from your name, I will assume you are Korean and not the semi-famous Canadian rock star, and thus have tried many of the sources available to you in Toronto’s Korean communities (which even a big nose like me had to admit are pretty wanting when it comes to DVD!).
     
  3. Roger Mathus

    Roger Mathus Supporting Actor

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    I have found DVDAsian as a very reliable source. They are located in California and stock many titles from Korea, Japan and Hong Kong. They generally ship same day and their service is tops. Web site is also excellent.

    http://www.dvdasian.com

    Many Korean movies are also released in Hong Kong but I have generally found that the quality of the original Korean release warrents the generally higher price. For Hong Kong titles, I have found DDDHouse (mentioned in this thread) as very reliable.

    For some of the bigger titles, check the import section at
    Laser's Edge.....a sponsor on this forum.
     
  4. Roger Mathus

    Roger Mathus Supporting Actor

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    As i recall, there are a number of current big name DVD players that can be region switched or rendered all region using a code and the remote control. I suggest that you search HTF for threads on multi-region players. As I recall, most JVC players can be made operative in this manner.
     
  5. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    Ive gotten the few Korean discs I have from HKFlix.com

    Use them all the time.
     

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