Good chemistry between its two leads, tight cutting and a script that doesn’t spell everything out powered hard-knuckle crimer “Bloody Tie” to a strong 1.6 million tix ($10 million) on April release. In the West, this story about a cocky drug dealer and a loose cannon detective who team to take down a crime lord looks like a strong niche fest attraction, with specialist ancillary down the line. Re-make potential looks good.
Yarn opens in 1998, when South Korea was suffering from the Intl. Monetary Fund crisis, but the drug biz was still flourishing in Busan port. The local D.A. wants to clean up the town, and ambitious narcotics cop Do (Hwang Jeong-min, from “A Bittersweet Life”) co-opts low-life dealer Sang-do (Ryu Seung-beom, from “Crying Fist”) into an operation that’s semi-bungled. Some time later, with Sang-do out on bail and Do reinstated, the pair re-teams to take down kingpin Jang-cheol (Lee Do-gyeong), amid high-level corruption. Straight genre thriller benefits much from the topline playing — Ryu’s cheeky dealer vs. Hwang’s hard-nosed ‘tec — plus grungy location filming by d.p. Oh Hyeon-je that squeezes the most atmosphere from Busan’s docks, clubs and hillside shacks.