Starring: Ji-tae Yu, Jae-un Lee, Rin Seo, Eun-pyo Jeong, Doo-hong Jung

Directed by: Byung-chun Min

Story: Rebuilt after a devastating war, the world of 2080 has given rise to
advanced technologies including the creation of cyborgs. Created with artificial
intelligence (AI), human-like emotions and great strength, they serve one
master for their entire lifespan. When the cyborgs revolt, R and Noma, Rs
best friend and commander, lead an elite military squad ordered to eliminate
the rebellion. Unbeknownst to anyone, R has fallen in love with Ria, his
cyborg, and is illegally harvesting AI chips from dead cyborgs in order to save
her life. Torn between his love for Ria and the battle to save mankind,
humanity's fate hangs in the balance.


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. It's always best to combine CGI with the real thing or
even just a hand built model. The presentation is just wonderful and it's
much more than just eye candy. The film also has a great yet familiar plot
which plays out mostly like a well made science fiction drama.

The story doesn't go too much into the past. In the beginning there is talk
about the deadly war in the dialog but not much is really explained. Instead
you just stay in present time and you fallow these characters in the year
2080. The lower class live in the ruined water filled parts of the city while the
middle class and above are across the bay. What the film also includes are
some brief and very entertaining action sequences. Although there are only a
few real big action scenes they were all fun to watch. Not only were the action
scenes well shot but they were just really entertaining and fun to watch.
There's even some blood and gore thrown into the mix which had my head
spinning from excitement. If you're into Sci-fi films then Natural City is just
the movie for you. The only real downside about it is that it's nothing new.
But that alone didn't keep me from enjoying it all the way through.

To understand the logic and meaning of everything you have to go through
the bonus features, which by the way are also really good. There is a
featurette called 'The Story of Natural City'. You get to hear from the cast
and crew about the making of the project and as I mentioned before you also
get to hear from the director and his inspirations for making the film. You get
a good look behind the scenes on some of the visual effects and even some
of the planned out action sequences. Features also included are deleted
scenes, cast interviews and trailers. If you're into science fiction dramas then
I highly recommend Natural City. It's a great film with stunning impressive
visuals and very entertaining action. Sure it's nothing new but if you watch it
all the way through it shouldn't disappoint. Natural City is a science fiction
film I definitely recommend owning.

Overall: 8/10
Genres: Sci-Fi, Action,
Drama, Thriller

Rated: R

Country: South Korea

Year: 2003

Runtime: 114 minutes

Studio: Tartan


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