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Welcome To The Front Line.....
on 2 March 2012
"Assured Band of Brothers Style Drama" is the bold claim on the front cover and unlike most films that make these claims this one actually delivers the goods and only just falls short of the now legendary Band of Brothers.
It's no surprise really that this was South Korea's official entry in the 2012 foreign film category of the Oscars.
The Koreans sure know how to make a good war film,in fact it seems that most non English speaking countries are now leading the way in producing first class war films,leaving Hollywood in its wake.
I usually have a good moan about what's on the disc but not today.There are a mountain of extras to get through on the two discs which equates to good value for money.The only drawback is that there is no dubbed option for people to choose.As I have stated in previous reviews that I prefer to watch foreign films in their original language with subtitles anyway so this didn't bother me(I like to hear an actors tone and infliction).The subtitles are clean,concise and well placed on the screen if a little out in translation at times.
In the waning days of the Korean war both battle worn armies are facing a deadlock on the foreboding Aerok Hills which are continually changing hands amidst brutal fighting.The hills are of vital strategic importance to the upcoming signing of the peace treaty and both sides want the hills.When the South fear their soldiers are colluding with the enemy they send a senior CIC officer up to the front line to investigate.When the CIC officer arrives he is greeted by an old friend he had long thought dead.As the investigation unfolds the collusion is explained and the CIC officer has to re evaluate his ideas of war and of what is right and wrong in wartime.
The film is littered with fantastic characters all of which have their own story and all of which is explained and threaded into the story arc with relative ease.There is an awful lot happening in this film and with lesser hands could have been ruined.The director does a beautiful job of intertwining all the characters into a cohesive storyline.The battle scenes are just superb and the sheer scale of the hills was often shown with great camera angles.
There are a couple of nods to other war film along the way.The sniper element of the story was every bit as good as Kubricks Full Metal Jacket and the continual loss and capture of the Aerok Hills was similar to Hamburger Hill.
Overall I highly recommend this film and although its not as good as Brotherhood or Band of Brothers it certainly isn't a long way from them.