"Tazza: The Hidden Card" follows up on the 2006 South Korean blockbuster "Tazza: The High Rollers," adapting the second installment of illustrator Huh Young-man and writer Kim Se-yeong's graphic-novel series.
Aside from their shared source material and underworld setting, only one character, Go Gwang-ryeol (Yu Hae-jin), links the films. But it's Choi Seung-hyeon — better known as the rapper T.O.P. from K-pop supergroup Bigbang — who stars as Han Dae-gil, who develops a gift as a cardsharp at a tender age and goes on to become Gwang-ryeol's apprentice.
After rescuing his grandfather, who has lost their entire family savings in a bet, Dae-gil goes on the lam and lands work at a card parlor. But all bets are off when he unwittingly helps a customer take the house to the cleaners and then gets left in the lurch by big-time criminal Jang Dong-shik (Kwak Do-won).
Hwatu — the Korean card game played here — is nearly impossible for the uninitiated to follow, but the film itself has so many plot maneuvers that it often feels like a televised chess tournament. Despite its 13 major and minor players systematically double-dealing and double-crossing one another, the film never manages to raise the stakes. The film seems to have an entire deck of cards up its sleeve, and they're dealt out with more tedium than fun.
"Tazza: The Hidden Card."
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 2 hours, 27 minutes.