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Brotherhood of War (2004) – Korean Movie

A friend recommended this one and I saw it today – what an amazing experience it was. I’ve always been a Korean movie fan and this one took the respect to a next level altogether. If you like war movies – you are going to Love this one big time, if for nothing else – you will always remember for its graphic war sequences and visuals – totally out of this world shots. No wonder, it became one of the biggest one of the biggest success till 2004. It totally reminded me of two of my favorite movies “Forrest Gump” and “Saving Private Ryan” and a lot of similar movies, I haven’t still forgotten them and will never forget this either. It shows us the story of two brothers in war torn Korea in the mid 50’s. They both get sucked up in the war when North Korea attacks South Korea, elder brother tries his level best to save his younger brother, makes him promise to complete his education and support the family back home. Although it isn’t for the weak hearted as it has a lots of shooting, bombing, killing, stabbing, blood and gory moments, that all may not like, but they are done in such a way that you actually end up hating war more than what you are shown onscreen. It’s a must watch for all war movie lovers – I am glad that I came across this one.
The Movie: Starts with some people working on a excavation site, they find a lot of soldiers bodies dumped in one area with some belongings. After identification they start calling relatives to notify them of the findings. An elderly gentleman gets a call with information that they found his own belongings, he believes that these are not his but his brothers remains and drives down to the site with his granddaughter. Rest of the movie is in flash back with him thinking about their past and happenings in South Korea in and around 1950’s war between North and South Korea. Jin Tae the elder brother owns a shoeshine stand to pay for his younger brother Jin Seok’s education. Suddenly war breaks out and army picks up anyone who is more than 15 years of age to fight for the country. As Jin Tae tries to get his younger brother off the train – the army picks both the brothers up and they are sent to the battlefield to fight for South Korea. Jin Tae leaves his Fiancé and her family behind to go with his brother as younger brother had a heart condition and he would not be able to survive for long with ongoing war and its toll. He does requests his seniors to release his brother and offers his services instead but he is told that if he can earn the highest award for a South Korean soldier – his brother would be sent back home. What he does to earn that award is heartening to see and how a difference develops between both the brothers because of the war is something that breaks your heart.
Mind-blowing scenes: As the movie started and progressed – I was taking it as another emotional drama from Korea but as the focus shifts from brother’s relations to the war, it changes gears and I was totally hooked to the war sequences with eye popping action, some sequences are simply mind-blowing to say the least. I haven’t seen a better war movie in I guess last five years which comes any closer to this one as far as visuals are concerned. If you have seen “Forrest Gump” and remember those bullet shots and explosions – you will know what I am talking. It’s totally outstanding how they have captured the moment in the camera which is as real as it could be in real life. Bullets being fired left, right and centre, bombs exploding with people getting shredded like anything, body parts flying, blood flowing like water, there were so many scenes which refuse to go out of my mind like there is this shot where one of the bomb goes off near a soldiers leg and next moment you see his leg gone below thighs, another soldier who is firing an automatic gun, gets shot on his elbow with so many bullets that his arm is cut off in a moment and but his hands remain on the gun shooting. I have never seen something like that earlier in any of the movies so far. Jin Tae’s determination to kill all the enemies and kill as many as he can to ear the award – is totally mind-blowing stuff. How he fights back with enemies even hand to hand combat or with guns or he gets into those craters with automatic guns blazing all over – is totally heart wrenching. Every moment – your heart says – he is gonna get himself blown over any moment – yet he survives and keeps fighting. He keeps telling his brother that he has to go back, complete his school and support the family, they have their own ideologies and differences yet they remain together as long as they could. What happens next is something you gotta see the whole movie for. Would Jin tae be able to save his brother from the war? Who was that elderly gentleman? Was he the elder brother or the younger?
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