Friday, August 22, 2008

Kmovie - Taegukgi (2004)

Synopsis - Rotten Tomato
Photos - Soompi

After independence, Korea is full of hope for a better future. Family of Jin-tae is none different. Jin-tae lives with his mother, younger brother Jin-seok, and fiancé Young-shin. His mother and Young-shin runs a noodle shop in a market and he shines shoes to send Jin-seok to university. Although the living isn't easy, they are working hard for their better future. Yet, the Korean War breaks out and Jin-tae and Jin-seok get drafted and are located at the battlefront immediately. With bullets flying and bombs going off a few inches away, Jin-tae realizes that he has to keep his brother alive and send him back home safe even if he hurts himself. Believing so, he learns that earning a Medal of Honor may send Jin-seok home, and now Jin-tae begins volunteering for dangerous missions. Yet, Jin-seok is always uncertain about Jin-tae's motivation. Midst of war, U.N. troops join the war and the war seems to end soon. Somehow, Jin-tae succeeds in many missions and ends up getting a Medal of Honor. By then, Jin-tae has driven war crazy with such hatred for North Koreans and Jin-seok refused to go home. Their tension grows between two and there is sudden attack of Chinese Army. With Chinese Army coming down ruthlessly two brothers get separated and Jin-tae believes that Jin-seok is killed during the battle. Jin-tae is now running mad. Yet nobody can bring the dead brother back. It is here in this ruined country that these two beloved brothers are plunged into an unexpected turning moment of their fate.

Yes, it's a war movie. Some people just put it aside. If you give it a try, you may surprise yourself and end up liking Taegukgi. I have a soft spot for war movies. Wait, that didn't come out right. What I mean is Hmong people help the USA with the "secret war" in the Vietnam War. Therefore whenever I watch a war movie, I am very patriotic. Plus it doesn't hurt that my hubby is very passionate about war movies too since he lived through the Vietnam War. He used to tell me stories about his adventures as a young boy in Cambodia. His life was just like the "Killing Fields" movie.

If you like war movies like Saving Private Ryan or The Band of Brothers, then you have to watch Taegukgi. Taegukgi is my favorite war movie of all times!! Any language!! The film title Taeguki refers to the Korean name for the South Korean flag. It was originally designed in 1876 but was outlawed during Japanese rule of the nation, and then restored to be used in 1948.

The movie focuses bitter enmity between North and South Korea. Here's a brief history for those who were not familiar with North and South Korea. Why would a country be split like that? Korea has been split to North and South Korea after World War II. North Korea has a communist government from the USSR, while South Korea became a democracy.

When people refer to Korean movies, they are really talking about South Korean movies. Although I don't specify whether I'm watching North or South Korean movies, these movies are from South Korea. Another snippet since I'm blabbing about it - a lot of hot Korean actors have been or is in the South Korean military now. Ironically, Won Bin who is one of the leading actor in Taegukgi recently came back from military duties. Now in the military is the other hottie I love - Gong Yoo.

The story of Taegukgi starts off by archeologists finding a skeleton and identifying it as Lee Jin Seok. But Jin Seok is still alive! Now he tells the story of the Korean War when his brother Jin Tae and him fought in the 1950s. The beginning of the movie just gets you hooked. You're wondering, what's the deal with finding a skeleton of Lee Jin Seok? Plus watching a movie where two brothers end up fighting against each other is really interesting.

Dong Kun Jang is wonderful as the big brother, Jin Tae. Even though he has a fiance, he thinks what is best for his mother and younger brother. He rather sacrifice his life for them living in a better environment. I have never seen Kun Jang in any other movie besides Taegukgi. Even till this day. I wasn't a fan of his looks but his recent pictures, he is looking so breath taking! I know, I'm shallow but wanted to throw that in.

Won Bin is such a cutie. Seen him in Autumn of my Heart. He's actually the first and only Korean actor who I thought was a hottie just by pictures. All the other ones who I think is hot now, I had to watch their movies and/or dramas before I made that conclusion. Not with Won Bin. What I love about Won Bin is his choice of movies. He doesn't have many to his filmography but he chooses non-romantic characters unlike most Korean actors today.

I can not stress how much I love this movie. It's quite gory and a long movie but watching it, I didn't mind.

No comments: