The Film: Toward the “end” of the Korean War (well, at least the end of major combat operations) a truce is being worked out regarding the dividing line between North and South Korea, which is still a sticking point in negotiations. On the front of the conflict is a strategic hill called Aero.K which has passed between the North and South throughout the war. When it appears there might be a North Korean spy who has infiltrated the South’s famed Alligator Company, Lieutenant of Defense Security Command Kang Eun-Pyo (Shin Ha-Kyun) is sent to investigate, where he reunited with Kim Soo-Hyuk (Ko Soo), a friend who he thought was dead. There’s a lot of layers though, and Kang Eun-Pyo begins to question the role humanity plays in warfare. You can check out Alex’s review here, and while I largely agree with his point of view it grabbed me more than it grabbed him, especially in the final half hour of the film, which is intense. The battlefield action has the level of realism that has come to be expected in war films since Saving Private Ryan, and I was surprised by the extent of the gore.
The Features: You get the original and the American trailer, which like most trailers don’t really enhance your appreciation of the film. Then there is a “making of” feature that runs less than four minutes. It consists of disjointed clips of the actors talking about how difficult it was to shoot the film, so if you wanted to learn how the movie was actually made you’re out of luck. The final feature is “Highlights,” which, as you might guess, is 20 minutes of clips of some of the movie’s best scenes. I don’t know why anyone would watch this after seeing the film, because if you liked it you’d just watch the whole movie again and if you didn’t like it you wouldn’t want to watch the highlights. As a whole, none of the features are particularly noteworthy, which is a shame
Movie Review: While not on the level of some other Korean War films, still tells a unique story that reflects the conflict (7/10).
Blu-ray Review: The movie looks great with its clarity despite the intended muted colors, but the features are far from essential (3/10).
The Front Line will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on May 8