Korea's first "archery action film" proves to be a unique entry within the martial arts / action genre, with plenty of nail biting battle sequences. The Blu-ray release includes a great audio and video presentation befitting the strength of the feature, though the same can't be said for the meager collection of extras. War of the Arrows Release Date: February 21, 2012 Studio: Well Go USA Entertainment Packaging/Materials: Two-disc Blu-ray case with slipcover Year: 2011 Rating: R Running Time: 2:02:13 MSRP: $29.98 THE FEATURE SPECIAL FEATURES Video AVC: 1080p high definition 2.35:1 Standard and high definition Audio DTS-HD Master Audio: Korean 5.1, English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: Korean 2.0, English 2.0 Stereo Subtitles English English The Feature: 4.5/5 Orphaned after their father is executed as a traitor by Korea's ruling power, Nam-yi (Hae-il Park) and Ja-in (Moon Chae-won) avoid the same fate by taking refuge with a longtime family friend and ally, Lord Kim (Lee Kyeong-Yeong). Kept from further harm, the two quickly reach adulthood, though Nam-yi cannot get past the legacy of his father's violent death. Ja-in is prepared to move on, however, and is set to marry Kim's son Seo-goon (Kim Mu-Yeol), despite her brother's misgivings and defeatist attitude about their future. He believes they will never escape the political persecution that led to their father's death, though that concern becomes moot when Manchu warriors invade the country. Many in their village are killed in the attack, including Lord and Lady Kim, though most are ultimately taken captive as slaves, including Ja-in and her new husband. Nam-yi, through luck and his remarkable skills as an archer, manages to avoid being killed himself, and ultimately embarks on a dogged mission to rescue his sister from her captors. Faced with losing the only family he has left, the once aimless orphan now has a purpose, one that will ultimately test and define his very existence. Billed as Korea's first "archery action movie," "War of the Arrows" is also a great example of a nail biting chase film, made all the more visceral by it taking place entirely on foot or by horse. Expertly choreographed and filmed battle sequences break up the grueling cross-country pursuit, with clever bow-and-arrow play taking center stage (making it rather unique for this kind of genre film). Not surprisingly, little time is spent on any real character development, but the roles ultimately fit familiar heroic archetypes, especially for the main protagonist. There's never much doubt of his superior skill over his opponents – especially as his talent at dodging arrows seems equal to his talent at shooting them – but the climactic end to his journey includes a satisfying payoff that most Western films would never provide. In this respect, "War of the Arrows" hits the mark much more than it misses, making it one of the stronger action imports to come through in a long while. Video Quality: 4.5/5 The 1080p, AVC-encoded transfer is framed at 2.35:1 and features inky blacks, strong contrast, and impressive detail and sharpness. The color palette is often limited to earth tones and blacks and whites, but scenes of the wedding ceremony and in the tent of the Manchu prince give the transfer a chance to display the depth of its color rendering. Digital compression artifacts are kept to a minimum, but a couple instances of posterization and banding will stand out to the more eagle-eyed. However, there aren't any obvious signs of excessive digital sharpening or noise reduction. Audio Quality: 4.5/5 Dialogue in the Korean language 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is consistently crisp and clear. Surround effects can be quite aggressive but also nicely balanced and rendered - everything from whooshing arrows and slashing swords have a great, immersive quality. Low frequency effects are frequent and far-reaching, giving weight to thundering hoof beats and innumerable arrows finding their mark. Special Features: 1.5/5 Behind the Scenes (4:14, SD): Electronic press kit briefly touches on the plot, characters, action sequences, and art direction through on-set interviews and footage from production. Highights (3:19, SD): Extended trailer emphasizes the film's major action sequences. Original Trailer (1:09, SD) Trailer (1:38, HD) Previews: Precede the main menu loading and include "Let the Bullets Fly" (1:05, HD), "1911" (:55, HD), "A Better Tomorrow" (1:53, HD), and "Man from Nowhere" (1:44, HD). DVD: The disc includes the main feature presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio at 448 kbps. Special features mirror those on the Blu-ray disc. Recap The Feature: 4.5/5 Video Quality: 4.5/5 Audio Quality: 4.5/5 Special Features: 1.5/5 Overall Score (not an average): 4/5 Well Go USA delivers an impressive presentation for a well-made Korean archery action / chase film. The special features are meager, unfortunately, though the strength of the feature makes the Blu-ray release worth a purchase given the right price point.