Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Tae Guk Gi

Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War is a Korean made movie about the Korean War. I've seen it described as the Korean Saving Private Ryan due to the realistic brutality of the combat scenes, and I think that's not a bad comparison as far as it goes.

The movie follows the story of two brothers drafted into the South Korean Army as the war opens, and uses their story to show many facets of the tragedy that was the Korean War for the Korean people. The film doesn't shy away from showing the atrocities perpetrated by both sides during the war, atrocities committed both by and upon civilians and soldiers alike.

The film has been criticized in a few areas, mainly in not adhering as accurately as possible to some of the combat effects. The tanks aren't as accurate as they could be, and there are times where weapons behave in an unrealistic manner, but most people aren't going to notice this. I'm one who usually does, and I knew to expect it going in, yet I really didn't notice it while watching because the story itself held my attention.

It's also apparently been critized by some for not showing much of the US involvement in the war. Those criticisms must have been made by Americans without a sense of irony given how much Hollywood overemphasizes the role Americans played in just about every war we've ever participated in. Besides, the story focuses on soldiers who are part of the 1st ROK, a Korean Division, and not a US force, so it's quite natural to not see US troops. There are a few mentions of US participation, specifically announcements of the Inchon landings, and McArthur's crossing of the 38th parallel. There's also CGI American planes in the final battle sequence.

What the critics in this case fail to accept is that this is a movie about the Korean experience in the Korean War, not the American experience.

Overall, it's a movie well worth watching if you have an interest in the period, or simply an interest in a good war movie.

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