71: Into the Fire (2010)

Director: John H. Lee
Casts: Cha Seung Won, Kwon Sang Woo, T.O.P, Kim Seung Woo
Genre: Drama/War
Running Time: 120 minutes
Certi: 18

This film is based on a true story. In June 25, 1950, 71 student soldiers defend against hundreds of North Korean soldiers in front of the school for 11 hours. Oh Jung Bom (T.O.P.) is the commander of the group. Meanwhile, he has to deal with Kap Jo (Kwon Sang Woo) who serves his sentence by volunteering to fight as a student soldier. While Kang Suk Dae (Kim Seung Woo) is out to battle against the North Korean troops, Park Mu Rang (Cha Seung Won) leads the North Korean 766th Commando Brigade to attack the Pohang area including the school.

71: Into the Fire is a good example of presenting a part of the Korean War history. Even though I watched this film the second time, I was still moved in tears. These 71 student soldiers’ strength and courage give a great impact that I have a slight goosebumps on my arms. At times, I feel so angry and sad about the student soldiers who are fighting. They are supposed to have a normal life and be with their families. I cried whenever Jung Bom thinks about his mother and writes letter to her. Also, I wonder why both North Korean and South Korean troops have to fight against each other in the first place. The small kid, who is part of the North Korean army, also got killed by Kap Jo. It makes me so mad to see this. Everyone wants to go home and have a happy normal life. Yet, during that 1950s, the war was still going on.

The visualization of war is not overrated such as the use of clichés that could make me sighed heavily. Luckily, I didn’t. I enjoyed the war scenarios. The flow of the war is smooth-sailing such as how the 71 student soldiers have dealt with three attacks from the North Korean army. The background music blends in well with the scenes that could build up the audiences’ emotions. The sad yet inspiring music makes me feel the pain in my heart as I watched these soldiers fight till the very end.

The four main actors of this film are amazing. T.O.P. pulls off well with his cool and great leader to lead the student soldiers. He is able to evoke his emotions especially when he thinks about Kap Jo’s mother. Kwon Sang Woo did well in being the arrogant person who thinks that he’s almighty. Yet, he is able to bring the character back to realize that he has to consider about others. I am really impressed with Cha Seung Won. He fits perfectly on being the bad guy. He portrays the North Korean leader with calm, coolness, and then the insanity to kill others who get in his way. Finally, even though Kim Seung Woo is the supporting actor, he manages to show an officer who really cares about others while defending South Korea.

I would recommend you to watch 71: Into the Fire. It’s inspiring and then you’ll feel the tears in your eyes when you watch at the end of this film. It has great casts, great visualization, and an inspiring story to tell.

Rating: 8/10

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