The Great Battle: A Review

When I saw The Great Battle on the Netflix listings, I was hyped. Most Korean historical movies are set during the Choson era, but I have always been interested in the Koryo period, and The Great Battle takes place during the Gokoryo period, which was a kingdom that could sometimes stand toe-to-toe with the Chinese kingdoms – the last time Korea didn’t accept a junior partner status with the Middle Kingdom.

Unfortunately, I can’t offer up much in the way of compliments to the makers of the film. It allowed “quirk” to replace “character,” and didn’t feel nuance was necessary when you can offer epic battles. The epic battles, though, were epic only in size, and they lacked any real artistry or excitement. Since the characters were so thinly drawn, there were no real stakes. More annoying – for me – every standard siege tactic was dealt with as if no one had ever faced this before.

OMG, they have ladders! How shall we address this completely unique and never before encountered problem?

This is definitely not the worst movie I have seen, though I think it’s the worst Korean historical actioner I’ve seen in my memory. I’m sure there have been worst that I’ve forgotten – as I am likely to forget this in the near future – but nothing comes to mind.

I don’t recommend The Great Battle and give it 2 utterly shocking although totally pedestrian siege tactics out of 5. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

If you are looking for a good Korean historical actioner, head back to Musa: The Warrior from 2001 (more info at Wikipedia and IMDB).

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