January 26, 2020

BATTLE OF JANGSARI: South Korean Cannon Fodder

https://www.wellgousa.com/
BATTLE OF JANGSARI (2019)
Starring Kim Myung-min, Choi Sung-Pil, Kim Sung-cheol, Megan Fox, George Eads. Directed by Kwak Kyung-taek & Kim Tae-hoon. (106 min)
ON BLU-RAY FROM WELL GO USA

Review by Tiger the TerriblešŸ˜½

Just to give any Megan Fox fans a heads-up: Despite her prominent billing in Battle of Jangsari, she only appears in a few scenes and even those feel gratuitously inserted, as if they were shot much later and included to boost the film’s international appeal.

Her character is completely inconsequential. As reporter Maggie Higgins, she provides redundant commentary on South Korea’s decision to send 700 inexperienced student soldiers to divert North Korean forces from General MacArthur’s Inchon campaign. We don’t need a former Maxim pop tart to tell us lambs are being led to the slaughter.

"Look...I carved my initials in the stock!"
This true story is interesting enough on its own merits. With an opening sequence that evokes Saving Private Ryan, scores of these guys – led by compassionate commander Myung-Joon (Kim Myung-min) – are mowed down the minute they hit the shore. Against all odds, the rest manage to secure the beach...at least temporarily. Low on men, ammo and food as more North Korean troops approach, they go on the offensive while hoping reinforcements – or at least a rescue ship – arrive on time.

The story features three major battle sequences. While not quite as graphic or visceral as those in Saving Private Ryan or Black Hawk Down, these scenes still pack a wallop and are the high-points of the film. In between are familiar-yet-engaging moments where a few of the young soldiers are humanized just enough for us to care about their fates.

"Shit. You sank my battleship."
Unfortunately, momentum is broken every time the film cuts away to feature Maggie bickering with Colonel Stephen (George Eads) over the lack of support being provided. These scenes could be completely removed and the viewer would still get the point that sending a bunch kids to serve as diversionary cannon fodder was terrible & tragic.

Other than that, Battle of Jangsari offers a vivid, dramatic depiction of a lesser-known conflict in the Korean War. While it may or may not be historically accurate, the chaos of the brutal battle sequences feel authentic, which compensates for the irrelevant scenes and characters.

EXTRA KIBBLES
MAKING-OF FEATURETTE
TRAILERS
KITTY CONSENSUS:
PURR-R-R...LIKE A GOOD SCRATCH BEHIND THE EARS.

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