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The themes and characters are right out of any number of classic war movies, but... the frontline culture, so at odds with military discipline and command, is fascinating.
If you like war movies, this one is a dandy. Sure, you'll recognize some of the genre's shopworn conventions, but there are enough unique twists and details to make "The Front Line" memorable.
| Original Score: 8/10
Jang's filmmaking weapons may be utterly conventional, but that does not prevent them from delivering a high-impact payload.
A potent anti-war movie with breathtaking battle sequences.
| Original Score: 3/4
A movie that reserves its final sickening wallop for a grueling half-hour that leaves you as emotionally battered as the soldiers are forced to return to hell for one last senseless round.
| Original Score: 3/5
The action in The Front Line is bloody and tense, but the movie also reduces war to its simplest terms...
| Original Score: B
This strong, assured Band of Brothers-style drama from director Jang Hun makes universal points about bonding, misery, loyalty, and the senselessness of war through a portfolio of soldiers.
| Original Score: B+
Quick, unexpected flashes engross the viewer in this Korean War tale even as the script is filled with conventional war movie tropes and types.
South Korea's impressive entry for the 2011 foreign-language Oscar race offers a different kind of war picture in its foreshadowed setting of the blood-soaked front line between North and South Korea during the 1950-53 war.
A war movie not quite worth engaging.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
Hollywood clichés pervade The Front Line, from its slate and sepia tones to its stock company of characters and dialogue that translates macho posturing into present-day slang.
| Original Score: 6.5/10
While its tone and humanity offset the futility of each side's need for one crucial hill, much of this intense, honorable film is too drawn-out.
| Original Score: 2/5
What you don't get is the sense that this pumped-up combat-fatigue chronicle is pandering-or, for that matter, particularly original.
Both brutal and sentimental, this Oscar-submitted Korean war drama offers up rusty tropes as telling ironies.
| Original Score: 2/4