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JSA - Joint Security Area (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD]

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Product details

  • Actors: Yong-jong Lee, Byung-hun Lee, Kang-Ho Song, Tae-woo Kim, Ha-kyun Shin
  • Directors: Chan-Wook Park
  • Producers: Eun Soo Lee
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Korean
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Tartan
  • DVD Release Date: 30 May 2005
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000803ON2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 72,984 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Korean anti-war drama, set on the volatile Demilitarised Zone between the South and the communist North of the country. After a confused incident at night, where both sides open fire at each other, one North Korean soldier is killed and a South Korean soldier is injured. Hoping to avoid an escalation in the crisis, both sides agree to allow neutral Korean-Swiss investigator Sophie Jean (Li Yeong-Ae) look into the case. When she discovers discrepancies in the amount of bullets fired from each soldier's gun that night, and when witnesses try to commit suicide rather than talk to her, Jean realises that the truth behind the shooting is much more explosive.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lone Reviewer on 16 Jun 2005
Format: DVD
Finally, JSA gets a release in the United Kingdom. This was the film that shattered all the box office records in South Korea and launched Park Chan-wook's career. After reading so many positive reviews for this film I guess I was expecting it to be a bit of a let down. I'm glad it lived up to all the hype.
The story is based along the Korean Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. One night a South Korean Soldier is found struggling to get out of North Korean territory after shoots were heard. It is believed that the soldier killed two North Korean's and injured one other. The South Koreans naturally praise the soldier as a hero but the North Koreans want justice. A Korean speaking investigator is sent in from the Swiss/Swedish UN team to find out what happened that night. Her investigation leads here to discover the history of both the surviving soldiers involved.
When the film starts off you get the feeling that you're going to watch a film very similar to 'Courage Under Fire'. We get the two versions of what happened by the usual flashback sequences and follow the UN investigator in her interrogations. We are then thrown back a few months to an incident which leads to the night of the shootings. Now this is where the film really succeeds. We are given the history between the soldiers involved which adds a great twist to the story. What makes this movie a joy to watch has to be due to the two lead characters. Lee Byung-hun (Sympathy For Mr Vengeance, Save The Green Planet) does an excellent job portraying the young South Korean soldier but it's Song Kang-ho (Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, Memories of Murder, Shiri) who steals the show as the surviving North Korean soldier who strangely seems unwilling to talk about what happened.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Critic Ali Insane on 1 Feb 2010
Format: DVD
Major Sophie Jean is a Korean born, Swiss raised MP officer sent to investigate an incident in the DMZ (De-Militarised Zone) which resulted in two dead North Korean officers, one wounded and one dead South Korean officer with another in custody. Her task is to find out the truth and negotiate a solution to the problem that could prove to be the incendiary needed to spark a full scale war between the two neighbouring enemy countries. Sgt. Lee Soo-Hyeok (Lee Byung-Hun) from South Korea claims he was kidnapped by the Northern Soldiers, whilst Capt. Oh Kyeong-Pil (Kang-Ho Song) claims they were ambushed by the South, both soldiers testimonies are exposed by a series of flashbacks revealing the truth.

Park Chan-Wook's superbly crafted anti-war flick is also a riveting political thriller with many surprises in the plot twists that ultimately challenges the delineation of the two opposing countries. JSA is not interested in blowing people up, it's more concerned with human relations and questioning archaic political stances that have divided Korea for more than fifty years. The complex characters are intellectually engaging without being convoluted as they carry the fundamental message of just how tragic the conflict between citizens with the same ethnic background has deteriorated through ill-advised dictatorship - as shown by Oh Kyeong-Pil's explosive patriotic rant for his leader Kim Jong Il, whilst simultaneously, rejecting his friendship with the South Korean soldier in custody intent on saving both their lives; which incidentally is one of the most magnificent scenes ever performed by Kang-Ho Song.

There's also a lot of fun to be had along the way as Park Chan-Wook deftly handles the camera; going through the scope of one soldiers rifle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cameron on 10 Mar 2013
Format: DVD
I watched JSA purely because Lee Byung Hun and Park Sang ho (?) I think that is how you say his name. The initial opening is a little bland by the numbers and I'm sat there thinking this is going to be a black and white mystery with a palpable villain and hero. How wrong I was.

After the prologue, the film develops into something else altogether. The instant emotional provocation in which you see these characters from North and South Korea suddenly become human, normal and relatable. Despite not having the best picture quality, the film brings to life what its like as Korean soldiers and on the border well at least that is how I would view it.

The English speaking actors in the film are passable but don't expect a great deal and their roles aren't fully fleshed out like it could have been.

Nonetheless JSA as a Film Student is one of the finest films I have ever seen. It is not perfect but it compensates these imperfections with raw emotion and a sense of humanity. Very very recommended.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Robb on 11 Oct 2007
Format: DVD
When I first saw Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance I knew Park Chan-Wook was a director to look out for. I've now seen all of his other films that I could get my hands on - Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, Cut [Three...Extremes]; but it was Joint Security Area which I felt compelled to see the most
A tense thriller which keeps you guessing till the end. When two North Korean soldiers are shot dead by a South Korean soldier in the DMZ, a neutral investgative team is set up to find out what happened - but both sides blame each other for it, and work to ensure that whatever really happened is covered up.
I've seen this film countless times and never get tired of it. It's not a film like The Usual Suspects where repeated watching reveals hints towards plot twist, but for some reason as soon as I finish watching it I want to see it again. An outstanding film from an oustanding director.
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