Chaw (2009)
By: Devon B. on June 18, 2010  | 
Eastern Eye | Region 4, PAL | 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced) | Korean DD 5.1 | 117 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Jeong-won Shin
Starring: Eom Tae-woong, Jeong Yu-mi, Jang Hang-seon, Yun Je-mun
Screenplay: Shin Jung-Won
Country: Korea
External Links
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On Chaw's cover is a quote from Variety that reads "Razorback meets Jaws." Given that Razorback is affectionately known as Jaws on trotters, this seemed like a rather weird, redundant thing to say. I spent a while thinking up similar comparisons to make fun of the quote, like describing Speed 2 as Die Hard meets Under Siege, but I conceded by the time the film was over that Chaw has moments that are clearly taken from both films. Pain me though it does to admit since the quote seemed so boneheaded, Variety had it right.

Chaw starts out focused on a city cop being transferred to the small, crimeless town of Sameri. He heads there along with his pregnant wife and crazy mother, and it seems that the new job will be a bit dull. And it would be if it weren't for the fact that something is eating people. My guess, based on the cover, was that it was a boar. I was right. Variety: 1, Digital Retribution: 1. The cop gets involved in the investigation, along with master hunters, an unshakeable cop assigned to help the local bumbling police force, and some ecologists. Chaw is very much an ensemble piece, and spends a good deal of time setting up all its characters. Too much time, one might say, given the adline is "One monster hog. And he's pissed off."

Chaw is quirky and fun at the start, but since it takes a while to set everything up, I started to get bored waiting to get boared. Approaching the film expecting a silly, very Asian comedy instead of a killer pig movie might've helped, but I was really looking forward to a monster on the loose movie so was a bit disappointed. Being fair, Chaw is not a bad comedy; writer/director Shin Jung-Won clearly has an affinity for making the audience laugh with unexpected collisions, and the most of the film's other gags work too. Speaking of things he likes, clearly he drew some inspiration from Jurassic Park, and to a much greater extent the aforementioned Jaws and Razorback, as key elements are lifted from both films, and I'm not just talking about the rampaging animal of choice with the latter.

The giant pig does get to rampage, so if that's all you care about it does happen. The boar looks silly at times, but it was still fun to watch him smash things up. At least he moves, which is more than can be said for Razorback.

I think Chaw might improve with a subsequent viewing when I know what's coming. It's a fun movie brimming with goofy Asian characters, I just wanted less plotline and more swine.
Chaw looks sharp, clear and clean. There were a few scenes where clarity was lost in the blacks, but that seemed to be more an issue with the on-set lighting than the print or transfer.
The sound is available in Korean 5.1 or 2.0 mixes. The Japanese 2.0 mix listed on the cover is clearly an error. The 5.1 track has lots of little touches to immerse the viewer in the soundscape. It's the wind or birds going past most of the time, but thankfully sometimes it's also a giant hog. The 2.0 sounded really flat in comparison, which I suppose just further proves that the 5.1 was doing its job. There're a few errors in the subs.
Extra Features
The DVD comes with the film's trailer, other Eastern Eye trailers, and a making of. The making of runs roughly 25 minutes, and mentions some of the real life inspirations for the film. There's some surprises in terms of shooting locations, and I found the pig stand-in highly amusing.
The Verdict
More for fans of The Quiet Family than Razorback, Chaw does deliver a pissed off hog as promised, he just gets nowhere near enough screen time.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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