Published on March 30th, 2011 | by Chris3
71: Into the Fire (2010)
Wow, just wow. I'd read a lot about this movie out of Korea, about a band of college students thrust onto the front lines during the start of the Korean War, but I had no idea what I was getting into here. Take elements from Saving Private Ryan, Letters from Iwo Jima, and some John-Woo-like action sequences and you've got 71-Into the Fire.
Summarizing this is going to be tricky, as there really is a lot going on here... The story follows student Oh Jung Boem, as he's thrown into a violent firefight and basically pulls a Corporal Oppham as he fumbles for a bullet watching another soldier get bayoneted. From there he winds up in a hospital, and taken under the wing of Capt. Kang (I think that was right), and then left to protect a school on the front lines with 70 other students as Kang joins the main battle not far away.
Among these students are 3 misfit deliquents dropped off at the last minute, including the stereotypically cavalier Kap-Jo. The contrast between Oh and Kap is deliberate and ultimately resolved, and serves if nothing else to bring some drama and tension to the "hurry up and wait" portions of the film.
Then there is the "villain" of the picture, North Korean commander Park Mu-Rang. His character is done in a suitably "Vader"-ish fashion, if you will. That's about the best parallel I can make.
The students are quickly overcome by their inexperience as they encounter a North recon patrol, and their numbers are quickly halved. Park gives them the opportunity to surrender, but of course they don't take it. They use the tools and equipment available to them to put up a decent "last stand" until Kang returns with some Allied backup....
The battle scenes in this film are intense and brutal, that's an understatement. Stylistically it borrows a lot from "Ryan" and Eastwood's recent efforts. The washed out palette, the gritty fast moving camera shots and "high speed film" look, the at times gruesomeness... and a bit of slow-mo bullet time thrown in to make things really interesting.
But. Here's the rub. First off, let me say that I don't want to diminish in any way the "status" or story of these students. From what I understand this is a quite well known moment in the Korean war, and these kids are held up as heroes (as this picture would indicate) and this film does that justice.
However, there's a point in the final battle where things start to get, well, a little over the top. The rooftop scenes in particular, where the final two students (Oh and Kap of course) lay down an endless rain of bullets and literally pile up the bodies several thick. At some line, reality meets legend, and then it gets crossed, which I think happened here. Does it make for a more spectacular ending? Absolutely! Is it what really happened? Probably not, at least not like this, I have my doubts.
71-Into the Fire is definitely worth the viewing, though. I'm giving it an 8/10. It lost the 9 because of the ending, and a few other parts which seemed to detract overall.
Here's the first 13 minutes or so. I leave it as an exercise to find the rest if you're so inclined.
71-Into the Fire [Blu-ray]
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Experience a masterpiece of World Cinema with incredible hyper-realistic full-scale battle sequences to rival The Pacific and Saving Private Ryan. On August 11th, 1950, 71 boy soldiers of the South Korean army singlehandedly held back the elite North Korean 766 Commando Brigade for a full 11 hours...
DVD InformationBinding: Blu-ray
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audience Rating: Unrated
Original Release Date:
- Cha Seung-Won
- Kwon Sang-Woo
- Choi Seung-Hyun
- Kim Seung-Woo
- UK Import
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
More Action from South Korea and its ruddy marvelous,
This review is from: 71 Into the Fire Korean Movie Dvd English Sub Ntsc All Region Code (Based on a True Story) Kwon Sang Woo (DVD)I was looking forward to seeing this one as I am a fan of Korean cinema. This follows in the wake of many other excellent films from South Korea telling some of the stories that came out of their still ongoing civil war.
Once again this is based on `actual events' that took place on August 11th 1950, when a group of volunteer `Student Soldiers' held back a North Korean commando brigade. They are hopelessly outnumbered being only 71 in number and hence the title of the film, but show remarkable ingenuity and tenacity. It is slightly reminiscent of the German WW 2 film 'Die Brucke' or The Bridge,The Bridge (Die Brucke) [DVD]  where school children are left to defend a bridge against overwhelming odds, but this has buckets more action.
The events unfold in a mix of real time and some flash backs which help to create empathy for the main characters, who are all desperately young and most still in school uniforms.
The action scenes are regular and... Read more
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Awesome excellent movie!!,
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This review is from: 71-Into the Fire [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
It's amazing how foreign films deliver such action and drama while telling semi-true stories, even with subtitles. The cinematography and acting made this movie spellbinding.0
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
71 into the fire,
This review is from: 71 Into the Fire Korean Movie Dvd English Sub Ntsc All Region Code (Based on a True Story) Kwon Sang Woo (DVD)
I watched this movie in the movie theater when it was limited timing about a year ago, there was like no one in that movie screen, however the movie turned out to be great, besides the subtitles, it was a movie where you really didn't have to understand what they where saying, because you would understand what they were saying by just watching the movie. If you are into history or are in the military I'm pretty sure this movie will touch you greatly, A MUST WATCH even if the subtitles aren't great.0
I will buy this movie shortly.
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Summary: At some line, reality meets legend, and then it gets crossed, which I think happened here. Does it make for a more spectacular ending? Absolutely!