Starring: Choi Seung-hyun (TOP) as Oh Jang-beom, Cha Seung-won as Major Park Moo-rang, Kwon Sang-woo as Koo Gap-jo, Kim Seung-woo as Captain Kang Seok-dae and Park Jin-hee as the nurse
Rating: PG-13, subject matter and some violence
Running Time: 120 min
Twinkies: 4 3/4 stars
Synopsis: Into the Gunfire” is based on the true story of 71 students who fight hundreds of North Korean soldiers in front of a middle school on June 25, 1950 during the Korean War. Gap-jo (Kwon Sang-Woo) was formerly a student who was convicted of murder. While serving his sentence he volunteers to fight as a soldier …
Musings: From the minute the movie begins, you realize that we are deep into the battle. As this movie takes place in June, 1950, the Korean War is just beginning. I imagine that some will shy away from this movie because it is war; it is brutal. But it is a stark reminder how brutal mankind can be. Watching Jang-beom, nearly a child fiddle with his ammo as the North Korean soldier kills one of his own, focuses on the cruelty of the war and the participants. When the North Korean officer, played by Cha Seung Won, said “Kill them all”, even I winched.
The problem with war and its brutality is that it is hard to give it a rating higher than PG-13. I think everyone needs a reminder of it as well as the history behind the actions of man. Yes, the scenes are intense and you will see many lives lost but that is the reality of war.
This particular story focuses on a group of 71 undertrained and underarmed, outgunned student-soldiers of South Korea during this cruel Korean War, where just like the Civil War, everyone thought they were right in their beliefs. Most of the student-soldiers were mostly killed on August 11, 1950, during the Battle of Pohang-dong whereby for 11 hours, they defended the local Pohang girls’ middle school, a strategic point for safeguarding the struggling Nakdong River perimeter, from an attack by overwhelming North Korean forces, specifically the feared North Korean 766th Unit.
What can you expect but stellar acting from a superior cast. From Cha Seung Won as a North Korean commander Park, who had little or no value for life, not even his own men if it meant the loss of the battle; Kim Seung Woo as Officer Kang who takes over and commands this rag-tag and young soldiers, hoping to train them to fight against the enemy.
Kwon Sang Woo as Ku Gap Jo, a hothead who to escape jail as a murderer, comes to fight against the North Koreans; and last but not least is TOP as as Oh Jang-beom who is put in command of the student-soldiers who are given the task to defend the school. Their relationship throughout most of the movie is adversarial as you would expect it to be. But like you would expect, the graveness of their situation finally brings them together.
Most of the awards for this movie went to TOP for his portrayal of Ku Gap Jo. He won the 2010 Blue Dragon and 2011 Baeksang Arts Awards for Best New Actor as well as the 2010 Grand Bell Awards: Korean Wave Popularity Award (no surprise here). The film also won the 2010 Icheon Chunsa Film Festival: Jury Prize. For once, I have to agree that TOP did a great job in this role! It wasn’t just popularity, it was well deserved.
I have to admit that this is the most Korean War history that I have ever seen; granted it is for the people of South Korea as well as by the people of South Korea. Here in the US, most of the movies that I have seen have been mostly about Civil and World War II, so it is pertinent that we see the effects of ALL wars! This film was made as a commemoration of their sacrifices and was released during the 60th anniversary of the Korean War. Have a box of tissues ready because a happy ending doesn’t exist in war. I highly recommend this movie for the history alone! Excellent portrayal of sheer courage of young, inexperience students whose first experience with war was this battle. Impressive!
Trailer is available on on YouTube Website only. The movie is available on various streaming websites
We continue to keep Paris and all the families that lost lives; those who have families there and those who are concerned for all of humanity. One day, maybe not in my lifetime but in the future, there will truly be peace in the world.
I’m available on Twitter. Thanks to all of you Twinkles out here who are taking the time to read! If you have a suggestion for a future review, just leave me a comment! I’m always happy to have movie suggestions.