The battle scenes are amazing in their scope and vehemence. But in the breaks between fighting, the movie reminds us that the costs of war can exceed the loss of life and limb.
At times the performances seem more akin to the histrionics of old silent movies, when emotions had to be seen because they couldn't be heard.
| Original Score: 2/5
Although flawed, the film is obviously successful in bringing to life what has been called the 20th century's 'forgotten war.'
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Even with its overemotional moments, it's more honest than most.
| Original Score: B+
Brutal yet meaningful, agonizing yet touching, The Brotherhood of War is a harrowing but rewarding experience.
| Original Score: 4/4
Worth seeing for its sheer otherness at a time when Americans are forced to look increasingly at the outside world for new information.
Thanks to its excess, and even at 140 minutes, Tae Guk Gi always entertains, just like Pearl Harbor and the rest of the best of Hollywood's dumb war movies.
| Original Score: B
A complex film about the minefield of loyalty and betrayal.
A tough and honest film.
The battle scenes are gripping and horrific, the special effects amazing, and the sentimentality overwhelming.
Epic in scope and violent in a way that every war film has to be since Saving Private Ryan, Taegukgi is a big-time movie that never loses sight of its human story.
Alternately brutal and schlocky, and occasionally both at the same time.
| Original Score: 1/4
The film does offer Western viewers rare access to another country's innermost anxieties and contradictions, and as such is a fascinating document.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
Successfully combines audience-friendly sentimentality with absolutely grueling combat footage and an unexpected but unmistakable hostility toward the entire notion of war.
Writer/director Kang Je-gyu dedicates himself to the human side of a grand tale, to people who've been uprooted by history.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
While it comes on like a flag-waver, it actually delivers something more nuanced.
In the rare moments when a rifle, grenade, howitzer, bayonet, dagger, fist, land mine, or flamethrower isn't being deployed, the film pushes its melodramatic plotline with soap operatic shamelessness.
Kang remains a superb technician, but somewhere the movie forgot to pack any genuine emotion along with its ordnance and K rations.
It's an overwhelming vision far more realistic and insightful than the wacky MASH unit through which most Americans have seen this period.