Tazza: The High Rollers (2006)

(The War of Flower)
Korean title: 타짜 (Ta-jja)

What’s popping:

I wanted to see this movie simply because the title of the movie intrigued me. With a title like “Tazza: The High Rollers” what kind of movie could it be?

That was before i knew a “high roller” is a gambler who wagers large amounts of money. “Tazza” (타짜) on the other hand, is a professional gambler, at the top of his game. Well if you know that, then you would know that this movie is a movie about gambling. The name of the game? Sotda.

Sotda is played with a deck of Hwatu cards.

Winner of the 43rd Annual Baeksang Arts Awards for Best Film and Best Director (Choi Dong-hoon), this movie comes highly recommended. The movie was also very well received in South Korea as it sold more than 6.8 million tickets, making it the second most commercially successful movie of 2006, after The Host.

Goni (Cho Seung-woo) gambles away his life savings

Tazza is a crime thriller that has almost everything you need for a blockbuster movie. It is fast paced, has an amazing cast, high suspense (gambling when the stakes are as high as loosing your right hand, surely has suspense!) and you even have Kim Hye-soo flashing her panties.

With all that, what movie would not make good entertainment? For me, it has almost everything except for a clear time line (the story is told by a series of flashbacks intermixed with current day and it comes across as complex) and satisfying romance. The romance between Goni and his girlfriend was a little too weak for me.

Madam Jeong has her eyes set on young ambitious Goni

In this mostly male dominant movie, my favourite character watch was most definitely femme fatale Madam Jeong (Kim Hye-soo). Even though she is not the main character, for me, the movie belonged to her. She exudes confidence, sex appeal and plays the only female gambler in an almost all-male domain to the hilt. Her game is not sotda, but the innocent victims who find themselves at her table.

Goni caught in Madam Jeong’s clutches.
“If you are that good, tell me what colour are my knickers.”

The Plot:

The movie takes you on a journey of young and handsome Goni (Cho Seung-woo) who starts off an amateur gambler but later becomes one of the best “Tazza” around under the tutelage of Mr Pyeong (Baek Yoon-sik). Goni’s gambling friend and comic relief in the movie is the motor-mouth Gwang (Yoo Hae-jin).

Sick of losing all the time, Goni begs
Tazza Mr Pyeong to teach him the ropes

Mr Pyeong is one of the top three gamblers around. On the way, Goni meets the other two pro-gamblers Agwee and One Ear. Agwee cut off One Ear’s …err what else ear, because the latter was caught cheating and then Agwee cut off his arm for losing. So One Ear has only one ear and one arm! Now with stakes this high, who will remain in the end?

For the love of money is the root to all evil…
Only the most ruthless survive.
Goni and Agwee battle it out in the end,

while Madam Jeong fears for her boyfriend.

Watch it:

We bought the DVD.

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