Thursday, February 20, 2014

[Movie] Battlefield Heroes

Battlefield Heroes is a 2011 South Korean war comedy film, directed by Lee Joon-ik. In case you are not familiar with Lee Joon-ik's work, one of them is the King and The Clown. The one with the clown that got his eyes seared with hot iron, no? You guys haven't seen that? Well, it was awesome.

Battlefield Heroes is a sequel to the Once Upon a Time in a Battlefield. It took place on AD668 where Shilla (south Korean state) join forces with the Tang Dynasty (Chinese kingdom) and attacked Goguryeo (north Korean state). Due to its historical nature of this movie, some of its plot might be unfamiliar with audience outside of Korea. But then again, this is not exactly a historically-accurate movie. Its a comedy film where I think it would be quite appealing to outside audience. Or maybe it just me, I dunno. I enjoyed the movie though. It hilarious.

Ok, maybe I watched this because Kwang-soo also cast in this film. Guilty as charged. But I was really interested to see his acting in movies other than the drama. He didn't act as the main protagonist though, seems like he is really good as supporting actor. The story is about the 2 side, Shilla and Goguryeo. On Shilla side, a Baekje man named Thingamajig (Lee Moon-sik) was drafted into the Shilla army. While on Goguryeo, well, they were about to be screwed over from both side, Shilla and Tang.

And when they say they might, it means they won't.
The movie started with Tang Dynasty officials, Shilla king and Goguryeo king meets up and discuss about redrawing their border. The Shilla states agree to join with the Tang to attacked Goguryeo, in return for the Baekje state. While the Tang agree with such prize, on the condition that Shilla army vanguard the invading forces.

Both sides comes to agreement, while Goguryeo just throwing insults and mockery, saying that they will not back down. The allied army of both Shilla and Tang marches to Pyongyang Castle at Goguryeo's capital. Dealing with the crushing force from the massive Tang army, the Goguryeo retreated back to their castle for the defence. Goguryeo's generalissimo Yeon Gaesomun (Lee Won-jong) died during the chaos and handed over the command to his second son, Yeon Nam-geon (Ryu Seung-ryong).

But, unknown to Goguryeo, Shilla actually have no interest of fighting the war, and was planning to work together with Goguryeo but doesn't want to invoke the wrath of Tang Dynasty. Shilla's grand general Kim Yushin (Jung Jin-young) advises the king to held the main army back, while sending a few regiments to make it seems like Shilla's army is marching toward Pyongyang Castle.

This guy Moon-di (Lee Kwang-soo) is not from Baekje!
Shilla uses the tactic of tempting Goguryeo defending army with rice, to ensure the conflict is prolonged. Hoping that the snow would come, and the Tang's army would have no choice but to returned back to their faraway home in diminished strength. Goguryeo however, didn't get the gig and proceeded to response aggressively toward Shilla approach (they need to spearhead the attack, remember).

To matter even worse, Yeon's first son (who didn't get promoted before his father's death) Yeon Namsaeng (Yoon Je-moon) suggested that they should negotiated with the Tang to ensure their survival, which is rejected completely because, no way they gonna let themselves annexed by the Tang. Especially when they have the 'secret weapon'.

Yes.. yes, get your rice, no need to fight.
While the Shilla's main army keep being 'delayed', things started to get sticky, causing Shilla's grand general head the allied camp near Pyongyang Castle ahead of the main army, to maintain the illusion that they are still marching. The Tang's general, commander-in-chief of the allied forces, grew restless because he too aware that the longer the campaign is protracted, the lesser his army's supplies would be.

Growing impatient, and half of the Tang's army supplies was burned by Goguryeo guerrilla attack, the Tang's general force Kim Yushin to spearhead the attack on Pyongyang Castle, with or without the Shilla's main army. This gives Kim Yushin quite a headache, because obviously it a suicidal frontal attack that will no doubt be using the Shilla men as meat shield.

What.. just happened?
Luckily, while the Shilla's army were dying trying to breach the walls, and the Tang's was about to enforce the push to an unstoppable tide, the Goguryeo unleashed their 'secret weapon'. Causing the Tang's army right behind Shilla to be completely devastated. Shilla men were surprised with the sight, completely routed.

The situation worsen with the revealing of Goguryeo's 'secret weapon'. Now the Tang's general set his eyes to that sweet, sweet devastating weapon. Making whoever gets that prize after the war, pretty much becomes the undisputed victor. What was the weapon you ask? Actually, I'm not really sure. It seems like Hwacha (fire cart), but its shapes looks like ballista. Well, either way it shoots a whole lot of arrows and kills a lot of people in a short time.

Thingamajig is in the middle, with his newly wed wife.
Thingamajig, who got captured during the siege of Pyongyang castle, was force to broadcast a demoralizing message to his fellow friends and country men. However he manage to get married to one of the female soldier, Gap-sun (Seonwoo Seon), after the Goguryeo pitied him for being dragged into a war that he doesn't belong (he is a Baekje man, not Shilla).

The Tang's general, getting even more antsy, finally launched a full scale attack in order to seize the 'secret weapon'. However, in his haste, Kim Yushin manage to outmanuever the Tang's army by sending a commando team to sabotage those weapons, and called in the Shilla's main army in time to arrive just as the war is over.

In the end, while the bulk of Shilla's army still intact, the Tang have no choice but to retreat, in much devastated state. Kim Yushin gamble paid off, where Shilla would get Baekje (they did spearhead the attack as promised) and due to Tang's army incapacity to maintain their presence in a newly conquered land, handed it over to Shilla.

This created the Unified Silla, where it compromise the whole Korean Peninsular. Well, I told you it was fun. Don't mind about the small detail though, its not going to be historically accurate anyway. Its a comedy film. Athough this film didn't get a strong box office, well, the things is this movie is not exactly a blockbuster. Its more of a family-fun movie. Definitely worth to put into my movie marathon collection.




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