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Natural City

3.8 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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(Apr 18, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

REBUILT AFTER A DEVASTATING WAR, THE WORLD OF 2080 HAS GIVEN RISE TO ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES, INCLUDING THE CREATION OF CYBORGS. WHEN THE CYBORGS REVOLT, R & NOMA LEAD AN ELITE MILITARY COMMAND SQUAD ORDERED TO ELIMINATE THE REBELLION.

Special Features

  • The featurette The Story of Natural City
  • Deleted scenes
  • Cast interviews
  • Trailers

Product Details

  • Actors: Ji-tae Yu, Jae-un Lee, Rin Seo, Eun-pyo Jeong, Doo-hong Jung
  • Directors: Byung-chun Min
  • Writers: Byung-chun Min, Jae-rim Han, Philip K. Dick
  • Producers: Lee Dong Jun
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Korean (Dolby Digital 5.1), Korean (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: April 18, 2006
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Domestic Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • International Shipping: This item can be shipped to over 75 destinations outside of the U.S. Learn More
  • ASIN: B000E0OBKG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,659 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Natural City" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
NATURAL CITY (2003) Directed by Min Byong-chan. Arresting production design and state-of-the-art visual effects can't disguise a dull plot that borrows so liberally from BLADE RUNNER and GHOST IN THE SHELL that the word 'tribute' could warrant legal action. To date, this is probably the most beautiful looking AND most vapid Korean science fiction film to come down the pipeline, and one feels almost guilty in knocking it in the face of the undeniable amount of craftsmanship that went into it.

Set in a futuristic megacity in the year 2080, it's about a sullen policeman (Yu Ji-tae) who wants to extend the life of his beautiful android dancer Ria (Seo Rin) by finding a new host for her brain-chip. As she's nearing her sell-by date, which requires her complete destruction, this puts him at odds with fellow cop Noma (Yun Chan) and evil android Roy Batty...err...evil uber-android Jeon Doo-hong, who has plans on accessing android headquarters and programming a massive robot uprising. Flying police cars, slow-floating dirigibles with gigantic projection screens, endlessly vertical skyscrapers forming a mountain of technology in a post-war wasteland.

We've seen all this before. And indeed, it all looks amazing here. But what's missing is any depth of character to make the story more convincing. The leading man is a complete cipher whose motivations for prolonging the life of his robot are never explained or explored, and while his robot clearly has functional difficulties with her impending doom, Seo underplays these scenes to a fault, generating neither tension nor sympathy, only indifference about her fate.
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Format: DVD
OK, so I haven't seen Blade Runner, which this film has been repeatedly compared to. I have, however, seen Ghost in the Shell. Switch around a few plot specifics regarding cyborgs and the various bodies in which they might unexpectedly be found, and this is pretty much a live-action remake. Add in a bit of Minority Report sci-fi-noir and a flair for horror-suspense, a 5th-Elementesque mystical pleasure cruise ship that can take you away to a fabled land of forgetfulness, and finally toss in some Matrix-esque high-speed martial arts and sweeping, post-apocalyptic panoramics, and you've got yourself a movie. (I've only scratched the surface with the homages here: there's a fair number of nods to A.I., and one section of the soundtrack is jacked almost verbatim from a bit in the Truman Show. But never mind all that.)

The reason I liken this to Ghost in the Shell above the others is because they both have the following:

a) Beautiful, absolutely, astoundingly, beautiful visuals

b) A female cyborg character who wonders about the nature of life. (Fortunately, on this note I am pleased to report that Natural City's dialogue is a bit less rigid and more, well, human, than Ghost in the Shell's was.)

c) Nefarious, antagonistic, body-hopping cyborg villains.

Maybe it's because it's live action and not animated, but in general I found the characters to be surprisingly compelling for a cyborg flick. But their development is jarring and their motivations or thoughts are often maddeningly unclear. There's Cyon, the prostitute, who spends the first half of the movie sneering at everyone and the second staring in dull detachment at the ongoing events as they spiral out of control around her.
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Comment 12 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
Natural City is a visually stunning sci-fi movie produced in South Korea. It is dark, gritty, slow-moving film noir at its best. The plot revolves around a futuristic SWAT team hunting down rogue cyborgs and the love affair between one of the men and his cyborg girlfriend who is about to "expire". There are plenty of comparisons both in plot and in elements within the movie to Blade Runner, and in fact the director's cut of this film on Amazon is subtitled "Korean Blade Runner".

However, all of that said, Natural City is not a rip-off and is an awesome movie in its own right. It has an excellent story line, great acting, incredible visuals, action-packed scenes clearly inspired by The Matrix, and a very worthy Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack. The film has English subtitles; but otherwise, you would not be able to tell it apart from a Hollywood film. On the contrary, Hollywood hasn't produced science fiction on this level for quite some time.

In particular, many months were spent building small-scale models filmed for a lot of the special effects. I still find this technique of using miniatures "realistically superior" to 95% of the computer graphics produced these days.

If you love dark, post-apocalyptic, film noir science fiction then you will love this movie. It's worthy-enough to reside in your DVD collection next to Blade Runner and the Alien trilogy.
1 Comment 10 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
When you pick up a Tartan DVD release you know that you're getting your moneys worth. I've seen so many great movie releases from Tartan Video that I just can't begin express how much I appreciate being able to watch their latest stuff. Just recently I got to check out a film called Natural City. A Korean science fiction picture filled with great action, drama, visuals and a damn good story that goes with it. Natural City takes place in the year 2080 after a deadly war. Advanced in technology the streets are filled with cyborgs, flying cars, and well you get the picture. We fallow a man by the name of R, who is a fellow police official. R is in love with his cyborg companion Ria. To keep Ria alive R illegally takes AI chips from other dead cyborgs. Little does R know he is about to face his biggest challenge. To fight a group of rebellious cyborgs who are hell bent on taking down the entire police force.

The first thing that came in mind when I read the actual plot was the movie Blade Runner. For the simple fact that the stories are pretty similar. You can argue that perhaps director Byung-chun Min may had some inspirations prior to writing this film. Luckily in the special features of the DVD you get to hear from the director himself as to what really inspired him and what lead him to make the movie. Hearing about the real inspiration for Natural City makes total sense when you actually finish watching it. Natural City is a beautiful film which features some of the best looking visual effects I've ever seen. Watching some of the scenes were like watching cut scenes from a next generation video game. The movie blends in a nice mixture of computer and miniature visual effects. It helps give the movie a more realistic look behind all the CGI aspects of it.
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