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Film Review: The Great Battle (2018) - South Korea

Andrew Chan Korean Movie The Great Battle

The Great Battle (2018) - South Korea

Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)


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It’s South Korean cinema’s turn to go epic with the “The Great Battle”, directed by Kim Kwong-shik, the film revoked memories of the great battles scenes in John Woo’s “Red Cliff” and Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings”. The film is loosely based on the Year 600s period when the three Korean kingdoms are at war and the Chinese Tang’s Emperor Taizong took advantage of this to stage an attack of the fortress guarding ancient city of Ansi. Largely historically inaccurate as the film exaggerated the number of Tang’s forces by 10x to create a bigger illusion and impact with the odds.


Jo In-sung plays the Korean General Yang Manchun whose is tasked with the impossible of defending the Ansi fortress against an army of over 200,000 Tang’s troops. In-sung is suitably charismatic and shows glimpses of heroic leadership required of the role. A young cadet and spy (played by Nam Joo-Hyuk) provides the film main tension and coming of age as the battle sequences of catapults rain across the Ansi Fortress.


All in all, “The Great Battle” works well as an epic ancient war battle with plenty of satisfying action sequences one after another. The legion of unlikely female bow and arrows is more of a plus than a minus. The CGI is also largely impressive as the battle scenes echoes some of the best works of Woo and Jackson. The one thing that lacks is overall character development as the plot is forced to play with too many characters and deaths making emotions unlikely to fly high. Still this is a highly commendable effort.


I rated it 7.5/10

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