연평해전 (Northern Limit Line)

A Rosetta Cinema Production
Distribution: NEW
Rating: 12 and Over
Genre: War Drama
Running Time: 130 Min
Shooting Time: 2014/Jul/28~2015/Jan/20
Release: 2015/Jun/24

WITH 김무열 (Kim Mu-Yeol) as Yoon Young-Ha; 진구 (Jin Gu) as Han Sang-Guk; 이현우 (Lee Hyun-Woo) as Park Dong-Hyeok; 김지훈 (Kim Ji-Hoon) as Jo Cheon-Hyung; 장준학 (Jang Joon-Hak) as Hwang Do-Hyun; 주희중 (Joo Hee-Joong) as Seo Hoo-Won; 이완 (Lee Wan) as Lee Hee-Wan; 김하균 (Kim Ha-Gyun) as Boatswain; 박정학 (Park Jung-Hak) as Lee Dae-Joon; 이청아 (Lee Cheong-Ah) as Lieutenant Choi;

CREW Director 김학순 (Kim Hak-Soon) Executive Producer 김학순 (Kim Hak-Soon) | Screenplay 김학순 (Kim Hak-Soon) Original Screenplay 최순조 (Choi Soon-Jo) | Director of Photography 김형구 (Kim Hyung-Gu) 김병일 (Kim Byung-Il) Lighting 윤종한 (Yoon Jong-Han) Music 목영진 (Mok Young-Jin) Art Direction 이정훈 (Lee Jung-Hoon) Editor 최민영 (Choi Min-Young) Action Choreography 전상준 (Jeon Sang-Joon)

BOX OFFICE
KOFIC Nationwide
TOTAL REVENUE: 45,353,009,530 Won
TOTAL ADMISSIONS: 6,011,661
BUDGET: 6,000,000,000 Won

Photo ⓒ Rosetta Cinema, NEW

SYNOPSIS

In 2002 during the frenzy of the World Cup in South Korea, the South Korean Battleship 357 prepares for its usual duties. The North Korean Navy, noticing its southern nation is caught up in soccer fever, deploys several battleships of their own towards the Northern Limit Line, precipitating an unexpected and tragic conflict with Battleship 357… Based on a true story. [KoBiz]

IN SHORT

The biggest paradox of this blockbuster trying to faithfully recreate a sad page in North-South diplomacy – right as the Red Devils were writing a much happier one in the 2002 World Cup – is that for all its painstaking attention to the most minuscule of detail, it is never able to convey believability at any point in its unnecessarily long running time. Nominal realism extends to nomenclature, standard operating procedure, jargon and even the look of the patrol boats involved in the infamous conflict; but it all reeks of a politically correct white-washing of the event, glorifying the fallen and their heroic deeds without ever stopping to ponder the geopolitical maelstrom that surrounded it, let alone making a bigger point about the divide itself.

It's a bit like what happened with 국제시장 (Ode to My Father): Yoon Je-Gyun's supposedly thinly-veiled nostalgia trip for a past long gone by and the social figures that populated it might have tried to avoid making a political statement, but by sucking any life out of these characters in an effort to only celebrate their sacrifices it ended up silently and indirectly supporting the political environment that created such sacrifices in the first place. That is to say that, once again, what should have been an “Ode to the Fallen” only registers as cajoling the audience into accepting and possibly even supporting a political status quo where things like the Northern Limit Line still exist.

Political ruminations aside, Kim Hak-Soon shows how rusty his directing touch has become after being away from the scene for over a decade, falling prey to morbidly maudlin characterization and fetid military drama clichés in the first act (which feels like a long commercial for the Navy) to then go all out in a final, interminable battle sequence that looks like the bastard child of a History Channel schlockumentary and a Michael Bay blockbuster. Some decent talent in front of the camera (Jin Gu, Park Jung-Hak and particularly Kim Mu-Yeol), but it's hard for them to emerge from such hackneyed storytelling and platitudes.

Mortally dull and even mildly insulting, unless you like your war dramas to justify conflicts like these as a patriotic and ultimately noble sacrifice.

ACTING GRADES

72 김무열 (Kim Mu-Yeol)
70 진구 (Jin Gu)
70 박정학 (Park Jung-Hak)
65 주희중 (Joo Hee-Joong)
64 김하균 (Kim Ha-Gyun)
64 김지훈 (Kim Ji-Hoon)
63 이현우 (Lee Hyun-Woo)
60 장준학 (Jang Joon-Hak)
54 이완 (Lee Wan)
52 이청아 (Lee Cheong-Ah)

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