2010s The Front Line (2011)

Published on October 11th, 2012 | by Chris


The Front Line (2011)

War Movie by:
Hun Jang

Reviewed by:
On October 11, 2012
Last modified:October 9, 2012


The Front Line is a quality addition to a slim Korean War Movie library. We need more perspectives like this into the "Forgotten War."

The Front Line (2011)As the Korean War (well the shooting anyway) drew to a close in 1953, the Aerok Hills are still being fought over in a desperate series of battles.  The area changes hands frequently in bloody conflicts, with immense costs.   If I had to draw a parallel to an American film, The Front Line would probably come close to Hamburger Hill.

(You'll have to forgive me when it comes to keeping track of everyone's name in this movie, I failed miserably, just because they're difficult to remember due to the language barrier! I know this sounds terrible, but its damned difficult.)

The film opens with one of two South Korean soldiers being released from captivity at the start of the war, which according to their captor (which we see again at the end of course) will only last a couple of weeks.  Needless to say, that isn't the case, and eventually the two are reunited at the front lines at Aerok.

The especially heinous part of the movie comes as the cease-fire is signed, but doesn't take affect for another day.  So both sides decide that they must undertake one last ultimately pointless battle for the area.  Both sides know it's pointless, but yet they feel its their duty to do this.  Its pretty crushing to think what they would be going through at this point.

There is a subplot which I admit to not fully understanding (maybe I missed something key here), involving a communist spy in the ranks of the South.  I don't think this plot really went anywhere, and may have just served as a vehicle to get the two back together.

The battles are of course long and bloody, very graphic stuff.  At the end of each, the group retakes the same bunker where they've been swapping goods such as wine and cigarettes with their counterparts on the other side.  This actually serves a valuable purpose, to cement the movies point that this battle is really stupid and pointless.  That they shouldn't be fighting here at all, and there really isn't any difference between them, except for a line in the sand.

Also of note is the subplot involving the sniper "two seconds" (so named because you don't hear the shot until two seconds after you're dead.)  I won't spoil the outcome of this, but it makes for an interesting twist throughout.

The Koreans also have a penchant for melodrama.  The soundtrack is noticably this way, sounding at times like its straight out of a television soap opera.  Coupled with numerous scenes of screaming and crying young soldiers...  It can sometimes come across as cheesy to us, but its just how it is done.  (I'm currently trying to get through the Korean war-move series "Road No. 1" and it is about four-times as melodramatic as this!!)

The Front Line is a quality addition to a slim Korean War Movie library.  We need more perspectives like this into the "Forgotten War."

IMDB: The Front Line (2011)

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In February 1951, in Korea, while the armistice negotiation still faces difficulties, the battle continues in the Eastern front line, on the Aero.K. A company commander of the South Korean army dies in battle, and the bullet found in his body belongs to the South Korean army...

DVD Information

Binding: Blu-ray
Aspect Ratio:
Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)
Manufacturer: Well Go USA
Original Release Date:
  • Shin Ha-Kyun
  • Ko Soo
  • Soo Go


  • Factory sealed DVD


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The Front Line (2011) Chris

Summary: The Front Line is a quality addition to a slim Korean War Movie library. We need more perspectives like this into the "Forgotten War."


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About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.

4 Responses to The Front Line (2011)

  1. the war movie buff says:

    Sounds interesting. How does it compare to Tae Guk Ri? At least you didn’t say all those gooks looked alike.

  2. Chris says:

    I recently watched Tae Guk Gi (review should be coming soon) and the two are pretty similar in tone. I’m also half way through the 20-part miniseries “Road No. 1” which also has a lot of the same “feel.” (only its 20-hrs long and mostly soap/K-drama! ack.)

    Never thought about that last part, actually. It was not intended that way at all.

  3. Woo says:

    Hey, enjoyed the review, but I disagree with some parts about you thinking the movie being cheesey with screaming and crying young soldiers; I saw that scene as emotional, not cheesey. Maybe that’s just because I’m Korean but I thought it captured the emotion pretty well. I mean the whole point of the movie was that how soldiers are being killed off everyday and nobody bats an eye. When some of the few soldiers who survived long enough like Lt. Kim Su-Hyuk dies, or the youngest soldier Pvt. Nam Sung-Shik, isn’t it normal for soldiers to shed tears? Especially the young Captain Shin, who literally followed Su-Hyuk like his own brother.

  4. Woo says:

    Also regarding the “subplot” you didn’t understand…

    You missed the vital point of the movie, and there’s an entire scene dedicated to the whole incident. There is no spies in the ranks; the soldiers exchanged gifts and letters through a box they left in the hill. There were some South Korean men kidnapped or defected to the North Korean side and wanted to send letters back to their homes, hence why they left the soju as a bribe along with the letters they wish to send. One of these letters got caught in the system and this is why there was the whole “spy” situation.

    I personally don’t see how this was missed, but I think it would be nice if you re-watch the movie as I think you missed key points in the film that needs to be fished out to have a better understanding.

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