Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (2004)
Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War IMDB Link
Directed By: Je-gyu Kang
Written By: Je-gyu Kang
There’s some crazy fact about how 20% of Korean’s watched Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War. For me, The Korean War was just a day or two in history class and then I moved on but for them it’s a recent tragedy that is still on their minds. Tae Guk Gi is loosely based on a true story of two brothers who went to war for the South but then a series of events happened to the highly decorated brother and he defected to the north making them enemies.
I think it’s funny how many snobby film elitists thumb their noses at Spielberg and yet every war film post Saving Private Ryan rips off his 45 degree, high shutter speed, bleach bypass look like they would have thought of it without him doing it first.
Brotherhood of War employs a similar technique and in fact it employs a lot of western techniques and I’m not a big fan of that decision. This film is incredibly corny, so corny that it would take me out of scenes. The beginning of the film is so thick with over the top joy and happiness to contrast the later scenes of horrifying violence that it almost made me want to throw up. That’s right, I found the corny, blatantly obvious scenes to be harder to watch than the war scenes.
Are the war parts corny? No, they are extremely violent and hectic like Saving Private Ryan but it added to the “no imagination” factor that really annoyed me throughout the film. It seemed like the question “how do we tell this story?” never crossed the film makers minds and instead they just looked to the west for all the answers. What frustrates me is that it is lazy film making but it’s also because The Korean War isn’t exactly WW II where it’s been exhausted to death and instead of a unique perspective we get a telling of The Korean War as if it was WW II.
The epicness and scale is large and more than anything I’m betting Korea spent a lot of money on this film to show they could make the same quality of production as Hollywood. They most definitely accomplished this with the exception of a couple bad CGI parts as there are tons of explosions and realistic set pieces.
My opinion of this film is not the norm as most people love it and almost all of them cry like babies while watching but for me the lack of imagination and overt corniess that was multiplied by the corn-tastic soundtrack made it just average to me. Kudos to them for being able to make something in the vein of Hollywood as very few countries are capable of that but I would rather have watched something original than just a safe imitation.
Filed under: Action, Drama, Foreign, Recent, War | 16 Comments
Tags: korean cinema, korean war, movie review, Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War