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Review: 'Tazza 2: The Hidden Card'

BY Julie Jones | Mar 26, 2015 10:00 AM EDT

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'Tazza 2: The Hidden Card' is a stylish, smart and sexy film about the seductive and dangerous world of gambling.

The fast-paced film takes its characters through a roller coaster ride of greedy alliances and cruel betrayals. For a film that is about a seedy underworld, the cinematography is surprisingly beautiful. The film's cinematographer managed to make down-and-dirty images, such as stubbed out cigarettes and a white fur coat lying in garbage, look grittily glamorous. In one scene, the small red Go cards, that are the focus of so much greed, anxiety and terror, spatter on the snow like blood.

The beautiful cinematography helps the film's already attractive stars Choi Seung Hyun aka BigBang's T.O.P., Shin Se Kyung and Honey Lee look even more appealing.

Choi Seung Hyun plays Ham Dae Gil, a young man with a natural talent for cards. A professional card shark swindles Ham and torments him. Not satisfied with mutilating him and taking everything he has, Ham's swindlers pursue him in an attempt to get more money than he can ever possibly earn.

Two women play an important role in Ham's life. Mina, played by Shin Se Kyung, is his sexy yet vulnerable first love. He wants to marry her the day he meets her and tries to rescue her from a life that amounts to slavery.

Lee Honey, who viewers first see poured into a form-fitting candy-apple-colored dress is enticingly sexy. Her character is reckless and self-controlled, indulgent and self-destructive. The stakes are high in every move she makes.

The film famously ends with a scene in which the lead characters play cards in their underwear. That's required so that no one can cheat. Death is the punishment for cheating. The scene earned attention from Big Bang fans because Choi Seung Hyun is not normally known for taking his shirt off. He is the only member of Big Bang not to have removed his shirt during a concert.

Choi makes an appealing Ham Dae Gil, a young man with few options but to try to better himself through gambling. But he has too much of a conscience to be a killer card shark. He's so good-hearted that viewers hope he quits the thing he is good at. With his intense stare, Choi is always a mesmerizing actor to watch but he has also become a more skilled one. His portrayal of the charming gambler Choi is tense and measured. His internal dialogue seems to flash across his face in subtle movements.

"Tazza 2: Hidden Card" is the sequel to the 2006 hit film "Tazza: The High Rollers," starring Jo Seung Woo. Based on a manhwa, it was one of Korea's highest grossing films of all time. In that film Jo played Goni, a man who was also swindled by professional gamblers. He begins training with one of the nation's best gamblers so he can get his revenge.

Don't worry about not having seen the original film, as the sequel stands alone.  Yoo Hae Jin does appear in both films as Ko Gwang Ryeol. He's the reason Ham Dae Gil develops an interest in cards.

The film can be seen on DramaFever as of March 28. Here's the link: http://www.dramafever.com/tazza2/

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