• The Battle Of Jangsari (Well Go USA) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Well Go USA
    Released on: January 28th, 2020.
    Director: Kyung-taek Kwak
    Cast: Megan Fox, George Eads, David Lee McInnis, Minho Choi, Myung-Min Kim, In-kwon Kim
    Year: 2019
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Battle Of Jangsari – Movie Review:

    The Battle Of Jangsari tells the story of a group of 772 young Korean men – kids really, most of them were in their late teens – who, during the Korean War. Led by Lee Myung-Joon (Kim Myung-min), this group is used to divert the attention of invading North Korean forces by convincing them that there’s going to be an attack launched against them at the beach from which the film takes its name. The plan was that by doing this they’d allow for the Incheon Landing Operation, where 75,000 UN backed troops and 261 naval vessels invaded, fought the North and reclaimed Seoul.

    This is framed by a subplot involving Maggie (Megan Fox), an intrepid American reporter covering the Korean War and hoping to draw attention to the events unfolding in hopes of getting more help from the international community.

    For the most part, this works quite well. The movie does a good job of crafting some interesting characters out of a group of young men who could have otherwise simply been portrayed as generic soldiers. The performances from the Korean cast members are dedicated and convincing, and while the film does indulge in its fair share of flag waving and jingoism, at least it does it well. The first half of the movie is more interesting than the second. It’s here that the characters are established and we see the horrors of war first hand. It feels like a Korean version of Saving Private Ryan at times, but it pulls you into the situation and keeps you engaged.

    As the story progresses, we lose sight of some of the humanizing factors and focus more on action and spectacle. From a technical standpoint, this aspect of the movie is handled well enough, but it isn’t as interesting. As to Megan Fox’s top-billed performance (which is much more of a supporting part than an actual lead), she’s… let’s be charitable and say stiff, likely cast in an attempt to have the film appeal to a western audience. She appears to have been film separately from the rest of the film and her scenes really do stick out like a sore thumb. She could have been completely cut out of the film and it really just would not have mattered.

    Not all of the visual effects employed in the picture come off without a hitch, but many of them do. You’ve got to appreciate the scale of some of the battle scenes, they’re quite intense and effectively shot. There is a lot of energy to these moments, and they manage to drive the film, even when the last half of the film becomes bogged down with clichés.

    If nothing else, the movie should be commended for shedding some light on a story not often told in western culture. The Koreans who fought in the actual The Battle Of Jangsari deserve the recognition that this film gives them, even if the picture itself is imperfect.

    The Battle Of Jangsari – Blu-ray Review:

    The Battle Of Jangsari comes to Blu-ray from Well Go USA framed at 2.39.1 widescreen on a 25GB disc. The movie has been heavily tinted throughout, and because of this, colors look less than natural and black levels less than perfect. As this was presumably intentional on the part of the filmmakers, you can’t fault the disc for it but the look of the movie may put some off. That said, there’s good detail here and a fair bit of depth as well. Shot digitally, the image is free of any damage and there aren’t any noticeable compression issues to gripe about.

    The 24-bit DTS-HD 5.1 mix, in the film’s original Korean language save for the scenes where Ms. Fox speaks English, sounds pretty bombastic. Optional subtitles are provided in English only (which do not translate the English dialogue). The battle scenes are really intense, the lower front end can bury things here but you get the impression it’s on purpose in an attempt to replicate the battlefield. Lots of ambient noise present in the quieter scenes as well. Things get a little muddied in spots but overall this is pretty intense.

    Extras are slim. We get a three-minute ‘making of’ that is little more than an EPK, and three different trailers for the feature. Menus and chapter selection are provided and a few trailers for other Well Go USA properties play before the main menu screens load. As this is a combo pack release, a DVD version of the movie featuring identical extra features is also included inside the keepcase.

    The Battle Of Jangsari – The Final Word:

    The Battle Of Jangsari isn’t a masterpiece but it’s a decent telling of an important part of Korean history. Some of the English acting is stiff, but the Korean cast members deliver fine work and the action set pieces can be impressive. Well Go USA’s Blu-ray release is light on extras but it looks and sounds pretty decent. If this isn’t a ‘must see’ it’s worth checking out if you’ve got an interest in WWII history or war movies in general.

    Click on the images below for full sized The Battle Of Jangsari Blu-ray screen caps!