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[Current Movie 2018] The Great Battle / Ansi Fortress, 안시성 - Jo In Sung, Seol Hyun & Nam Joo Hyuk - In Theatres

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The Great Battle

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Director: Kim Kwang Sik

Release Date: September 19, 2018


Distributor: Next Entertainment World



In 645, Yang Man-Chun  and Goguryeo soldiers defend Ansi Fortress against a half million invading Tang force.


Zo In-Sung - Yang Man Chun

Nam Joo-Hyuk - Sa Mool

Seol Hyun - Baek Ha

Park Sung-Woong - Li Shimin

Jung Eun-Chae - Shi Mi

Bae Sung-Woo - Choo So Ji

Um Tae-Goo - Pa So


source: asianwiki



 press conf


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Watch: Jo In Sung, Nam Joo Hyuk, And AOA’s Seolhyun Are Fierce Warriors In Teaser For New Historical Film

Watch: Jo In Sung, Nam Joo Hyuk, And AOA’s Seolhyun Are Fierce Warriors In Teaser For New Historical Film

Aug 21, 2018
by blessedkpop

The first trailer of “The Great Battle” starring Jo In Sung, Nam Joo Hyuk, and AOA’s Seolhyun has been released!

The upcoming historical film depicts the 88 days of battle between Yang Manchun (with the Goguryeo army) against the invasion of 500 thousand Tang Dynasty troops who tried to capture Ansi fortress. After the release of the trailer, the movie rose to the top of the search engine. The trailer is also expected to draw attention for its overwhelming action scenes and the actors’ explosive performances that have never been seen in Korean films.

The preview begins with a scene of a confrontation between a Tang army and a Goguryeo army on a vast plain. Just when it seems like the Tang army is invincible, the people of the small fortress Ansi on the outskirts of Goguryeo risk their lives to protect their land. The trailer gives a taste of the fresh action sequences that will appear in the movie.

Jo In Sung takes the lead as the general with Nam Joo Hyuk and Seolhyun fighting loyally by his side. Despite the struggles and hopelessness, the people never give up hope and fight until the end to save their country and people.

source: soompi

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Historical blockbuster 'The Great Battle' starring Jo In Sung, Nam Joo Hyuk, & Seolhyun drops first theatrical trailer



Historical action blockbuster film 'The Great Battle' (formerly known as 'Ansi Fortress') will be hitting theaters in Korea just in time for the Chuseok holidays, premiering on September 19. 


'The Great Battle' tells the story of The Siege of Ansi, an 88-day battle between Goguryeo and the Tang dynasty. After announcing its premiere date for this coming September, the film has also dropped its first theatrical trailer, boasting an enormous scale not yet seen in previous Korean historical productions. 

In the film, Jo In Sung appears as the head general of the Goguryeo army, leading skilled soldiers played by Nam Joo Hyuk, Bae Sung Woo, Um Tae Goo, AOA's Seolhyun, Park Byung Eun, and more. Opposite this crew, actor Park Sung Woongplays the emperor of the Tang dynasty.


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Jo In Sung, Nam Joo Hyuk, Seolhyun & more look ready for 'The Great Battle' in 9 unique character posters


Historical blockbuster film 'The Great Battle' just released a set of 9 unique character posters in preparation for its premiere next month.


'The Great Battle' tells the story of one of the greatest battles that ever took place in East Asia, known as 'The Siege of Ansi'. In their character posters below, the warriors of 'The Great Battle' each carry their signature weapons, warning viewers of the grand-scale action to come in the film. 

The Goguryeo forces in 'The Great Battle' will be led by Park Sung Woong, as he commands Jo In Sung, Nam Joo Hyuk, AOA's Seolhyun, Bae Sung Woo, Um Tae Goo, Park Byung Eun, and Oh Dae Hwan. Actress Jung Eun Chae gives off an ominous vibe as Goguryeo's priestess in her own character poster. 














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Cast of upcoming film 'The Great Battle' came together for their first press conference. 


On the afternoon of August 21st, Jo Insung, Seolhyun, Nam Joohyuk, Bae Seongwoo, Jung Eunchae, and more visited CGV in Apgujeong, Seoul. They sat down together for an interview session, talking more about the film and answered questions given by reporters at the venue.



















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[Video] ‘The Great Battle’ to reenact legendary fight of Goguryeo

By Yoon Min-sik



The ancient kingdom of Goguryeo is a source of an immense national pride for Koreans, as it once single-handedly fought off the most powerful Chinese empires.

But it is also a kingdom in which period dramas are rarely set, due to a lack of knowledge and research about it.

The upcoming film “The Great Battle,” directed by Kim Kwang-sik, is one that follows the desperate 88-day fight between 200,000 soldiers of the invading Tang Empire and 5,000 Goguryeo soldiers led by Gen. Yang Man-chun.

“Most of the period pieces in Korea are based in the era of Joseon Dynasty. This (film) attracted me in that it deals with the history of Goguryeo, which myself had forgotten about. Of course, I personally was fascinated with Gen. Yang myself,” said Zo In -sung, playing the lead role Yang. 




Yang, who commanded the forces at the fortress of Ansiseong, is thought to be a man of integrity as he refused to fall in line with Yeon Gaesomun after he took control of the country in a military coup. After unsuccessful attempts to take the fortress, Yeon allowed Yang to retain his position as commander.

Despite being a compelling figure, hardly any record of him exists outside of his fight against the Tang army. This allowed leeway for the actor and director to reimagine Yang.

“Rather than the authoritative image created by generals in other period pieces. ... He (Yang) is revered (by the public) but doesn’t care for it. He serves the people from the lowest position,” said Zo.

“Why would Yang want to defend Ansiseong, even as he is being called a traitor (by Yeon)? I gave it a lot of thought, and the answer is that he would not have wanted to lose the people there, or their happiness. That would’ve led him to defend Goguryeo.

The siege of Ansiseong was near the dusk of Goguryeo Kingdom, when its territory was limited to the area that is now occupied mostly by North Korea. This means the records for the battle itself are mostly inaccessible here.




Kim imagined the system and the chain of command at the fortress on the basis that the ruler of the time did not have absolute control over his subjects, which would mean the place would have a relatively high level of autonomy about how things are run.

“Out of nearly all the battles in Korean history, it is the only one a depiction of which would exclusively focus on the siege of the fortress itself. I wanted to put on screen the sight of fighting over a fortress,” said Kim.

In order to relive the battle, director casted young actors that could do action sequences, resulting in the characters shedding the authoritative aura that is often depicted in Korean period pieces.

Park Sung-woong, who plays the Chinese Emperor Taizong, is a veteran actor expected to bring balance and sense of urgency with his acting prowess.

“I have a good feeling about this film because every time I play a villain, the movie becomes a hit,” Park, who played the iconic badass gangster Lee Jung-gu in “New World,” jokingly said,

Another cast member that stand out is the budding starlet Kim Seol-hyeon, who is better known to the public as K-pop star Seolhyeon of AOA.

She plays the fictional character of Baek-ha, Yang’s sister and the leader of an all-female troop of the same name.

“Baek-ha is the leader of the all-female troop, and I liked the character because I understood exactly what it was that she wanted to do,” Kim said.

“Goguryeo is thought of as aggressive and not backing down from a fight. I imagined that the women there would not have been passive in an invasion,” said director Kim.

“The Great Battle” opens in local theaters on Sept. 19.



By Yoon Min-sik (minsikyoon@heraldcorp.com)


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Jo In Sung, Nam Joo Hyuk, Bae Sung Woo, & Park Byung Eun of 'The Great Battle' to guest on 'Radio Star'!

The male cast of upcoming blockbuster film 'The Great Battle' is coming to 'Radio Star'.
Actors Jo In Sung, Nam Joo Hyuk, Bae Sung Woo, and Park Byung Eun of 'The Great Battle' have decided to guest on 'Radio Star' together to promote their new film. According to reports, it seems that Jo In Sung's close friendship with 'Radio Star' MC Cha Tae Hyun had a big role in deciding the upcoming appearance. 
This will also mark Jo In Sung's first variety appearance for the purpose of promoting his own production, outside of his invitations to shows like '1 Night, 2 Days', 'Infinity Challenge', and more for special occasions. It will also mark Nam Joo Hyuk's first ever 'Radio Star' appearance. 
Expect the cast of 'The Great Battle' on 'Radio Star' some time around the Chuseok holidays.

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New film reenacts Koguryo's legendary victory over China

  SEOUL, Aug. 22 (Yonhap) –– The Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and the subsequent Japanese colonial period have been the main settings for recent Korean historical films. But only a few feature ancient Korean history, probably because of the lack of historical records.

   "The Great Battle," set to open next month, is a rare historical action blockbuster featuring the history of Koguryo, one of the three Korean ancient kingdoms, which lasted from the first to seventh centuries. At its peak, it stretched from the central part of Korea well into modern-day northeastern China.

Actor Zo In-sung poses for the camera during a promotional news conference for his new film "The Great Battle" at a Seoul theater on Aug. 21, 2018. The film is set to open on Sept. 19. (Yonhap)

   The movie reenacts the legendary 88-day war that Yang Man-chun and his relatively small Koguryo troops fought against 200,000 invading Chinese Tang troops to defend their territory in 645.

   During a promotional press conference in Seoul on Tuesday, director Kim Kwang-sik said his production team had to use their cinematic imagination to add to the backbone of the historical records to tell the story of courageous Koguryo people who fought to defend their country at all cost.

   "It's an ancient history that was very much forgotten," Kim said. "So, we thoroughly examined historical records to recreate the main forces of the Koguryo troops and used our imagination to describe Ansiseong, considering the possibility that the border town may have been given a relatively high level of autonomy in the time when the ruler did not have absolute control over the country."

   Kim also gave a modern aura to the ancient battle with the casting of young actors and the use of robotic camera arm, high-speed Phantom cameras and other cutting-edge filming devices.


   "Admirals or commanders are often depicted as old men in Korean period flicks, but I wanted my characters to do the action themselves. So, I cast young actors."

   The lack of historical records had actor Zo In-sung puzzle out his character Yang, head of Ansiseong.

   "My question was why he tried to defend the town even though he couldn't receive any help from the ruler, labeled as a traitor," he said. Yang was shunned by Admiral Yeon Gaesomun, who took control of the country in a military coup, for refusing to support the coup.

   Zo concluded that Yang would have not wanted to see the happiness of his people destroyed. "I imagined the tie between the locals and their leader was very strong and they lived very happily. So, I thought what if he is a humble leader who always put his authority and power behind to mingle with his people."

   Seolhyun, a member of the K-pop girl group AOA, plays Baekha, younger sister of Yang and leader of the troops of female crossbow shooters. She previously appeared in "Memoir of a Murderer," a 2016 crime thriller, as the daughter of the main character, but this is her first role in a historical drama.

   "I felt that every moment was a challenge because this was my first time to do a historical drama," the singer-actor said. "But I felt comfortable because such great actors were with me."

   The Next Entertainment World presentation is set to open on Sept. 19, days before the long Chuseok fall harvest holiday weekend. The film also has Nam Joo-hyuk, Park Sung-woong, Bae Sung-woo, Um Tae-goo, Park Byung-eun, O Tae-hwan, Jung Eun-chae.


A promotional poster for "The Great Battle" (Yonhap)



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Cho In-sung's "The Great Battle" introduced three attractions.

"The Great Battle" is an extremely large-scale action blockbuster portraying the 88-day battle at Ansi Fortress, which has been reported as the most dramatic and great victory in the history of East Asian war. In preparation for the opening of the Korean market, the production staff disclosed three attractive points.

Goguryeo's Screen Victory


First, "The Great Battle" is a movie about Goguryeo's great victory, focusing on the battle between Goguryeo and Ansi Fortress, which has disappeared from history. Director Kim Kwan-shik, who directed the movie, said, "Unfortunately, there is a shortage of historical materials about the battle between Goguryeo and Ansi. However, he said, "I used my best reference to the remaining historical materials and filled in the missing parts with my filmy imagination. It will show the history of the battle between Goguryeo and Ansi, where director Kim Kwang-shik, the production team and actors' efforts have been forgotten, clearly on the screen.

exhilarating actions of young actors

Young actors such as Cho In-seong, Nam Ju-hyok, Park Sung-eun, Bae Sung-woo, Om Tae-g and Kim Sol-hyun (AOA) will show the charms of Ansi Fortress. "The Great Battle", which has the same military strength as Hollywood, will not only express each individuality clearly, but will also show an explosive chemistry.

Director Kim Kwan-sik said, "I wanted to make a young and sexy period drama, and that's why I cast Cho In-sung first."The action scene in which "Team-Anshijo," which has already become a topic of conversation in the trailer, deals with his own weapons, is one of the important highlights.

Introduction of state-of-the-art photographing systems

Finally, "The Great Battle" offers new attractions to its audience by introducing a cutting-edge system.The powerful action scene unfolded on the vast ground is a result of the close collaboration between the technique of the shooting team and the VFX team. With all the state-of-the-art photographic equipment, such as Skywalker, drone, robotic arm, Phantom and Russian arm, and even VFX technology, new action blockbuster will be introduced.

On the other hand, the movie "The Great Battle" will be released in South Korea on September 19.

Korean entertainment comprehensive information site KOARI



(translated using Naver)

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"The Great Battle" cast featured in High Cut magazine vol 227




Actors Jo In-sung, Nam Joo-hyuk, Park Sung-woong, Seongwoo Seom, Tae-Gu Um, Kim Seul-hyun and Chung Eun-chae attended the showcase of the movie "Ansi-seong"  083118







With epic scale and breathtaking action, THE GREAT BATTLE tells the story of the Siege of Ansi, where Goguryeo forces held their fortress against 500,000 invading Tang soldiers in a battle that raged for eighty-eight days.



Edited by Jillia
Please do not post consecutively, edit you previous post instead. Thanks! :)

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"The Great Battle" Showcase 083118








Full video of "The Great Battle" Showcase available at





"The Great Battle" Movie Talk 090418







Jo In Sung, Nam Joo Hyuk, Seolhyun & more of 'The Great Battle' are dressed to kill in 'High Cut'




The stars of upcoming historical blockbuster film 'The Great Battle' seriously dressed to kill in their full-cast, 'High Cut' pictorial.


The cast members including Jo In Sung, Nam Joo Hyuk, Park Sung Woong, Bae Sung Woo, AOA's Seolhyun, Jung Eun Chae, Park Byung Eun, Um Tae Goo, and Oh Dae Hwan had no trouble setting the serious, deadly silent mood of a group of modern soldiers ready for war. Shedding their battle armor for suits and professional attire, 'The Great Battle' stars depicted an upgraded air of maturity.
In their 'High Cut' interview, you can find various beind-the-scenes stories from the filming set of 'The Great Battle', as well as each actor and actress's reasons for why they chose to work on this film. 
Meanwhile, 'The Great Battle' premieres in Korea on September 19. 





Nam Joo Hyuk, AOA’s Seolhyun, Jo In Sung, And More Talk About Why They Were Attracted To Their Upcoming Film


On September 4, the fashion magazine High Cut released their photo shoot featuring the cast of the upcoming historical film “The Great Battle.”

The stellar cast includes Jo In Sung, Nam Joo Hyuk, Park Sung Woong, Bae Sung Woo, AOA’s Seolhyun, Jung Eun Chae, Park Byung Eun, Uhm Tae Goo, and Oh Dae Hwan.

In the accompanying interview, the cast share their reasons for why they were drawn to this project. Jo In Sung said, “I was looking forward to a new type of historical drama. It’s rare for Korean films to portray the history of the Goguryeo era.”

He added, “‘The Great Battle’ is definitely a mainstream film. They are not fighting while running away, but instead picking a place to go to war face-to-face. The action is a lot more aggressive and intense.”


Nam Joo Hyuk, for whom this is his first historical film role, said, “On the surface it’s about action, but what push the story forward are the characters. I worked hard to portray my character’s fear and confusion.”


Park Sung Woong said, “It was a challenge. During my acting career, I had thought once or twice I’d like to play a king, but an emperor? I was totally on board. If I could make my character look cool, I thought it would add to the emotional arc of the film. But I had to learn so much Chinese for the role.”

Bae Sung Woo, who had previously acted alongside Jo In Sung in “The King,” said, “I always like working with Jo In Sung. It was tough in ‘The King’ because his character betrayed me, but this time we fight together until the end. In terms of rank, he’s the lord of the castle and I’m his general. Our characters change so that they respect and like each other by the end.”

Seolhyun said, “There were a lot of scenes in my previous project where I was tossed to the ground or hit while running away. In this one, I got to use a weapon and take control of the action. I hope that people can see a new side of me compared to what they’ve seen before.”

Jung Eun Chae said, “Compared to the actors who had to wear armor and carry weapons, I suffered the least. My character is neutral in the war and works with both sides, and so has to watch every word and be careful of what to say.”

“I was a bit lonely while filming,” she added jokingly.


“The Great Battle” premieres in South Korea on September 19.






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Actor Jo In Sung has returned to the silver screen as a charismatic general of Goguryeo. "The Great Battle" Press Conference snippets 082118 with Eng subs


"The Great Battle" Press Preview 091218 full video


"The Great Battle" VIP Premiere 091318































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"The Great Battle" cast in Cine21 No.1173





















Casts of [The Great Battle] Did a Photoshoot Together... It`s an Unbelievable High Level of Visuals This Photoshoot Had






Visual after visual after visual. 


The upcoming film 'The Great Battle's casts gathered for a photoshoot together with 'HIGH CUT Magazine' that has been released through its September Issue in the country. Not only did this film had its promising line of casts, it came with a stunning line of visuals too. 


Actors and actresses Jo Insung, Nam Joohyuk, Park Seongwoo, Bae Seongwoo, AOA's Seolhyun, Uhm Taegu, Park Byeongeun, and more showed their tip-top charismas and chic vibe for the photoshoot.






The film is going to be shown in the theaters on September 19th. Check out their pictorial shoot clip in the video above! 





Jo In Sung as General Yang Man Chun in 'The Great Battle' https://



'The Great Battle' Press Conference 091218 full video




'The Great Battle' Press Conference




'The Great Battle' Press Preview




@wellgousa will be bringing the Korean war epic #TheGreatBattle to selected theatres from 21 September. Here's the trailer




IOK Company IG Update


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[Herald Review] ‘The Great Battle’ has its flaws, but is an action-packed spectacle


While he is by no means a great actor, Zo In-sung’s acting has improved tremendously since his sitcom days. But the actor’s voice is one of his glaring weaknesses, and a weak voice is a significant disadvantage in period pieces.

This is why I expected Zo, cast in the lead as Gen. Yang Man-chun, to be the downfall of “The Great Battle,” which depicts the Goguryeo Kingdom’s fight against the powerful Chinese empire of Tang.

To my surprise, director Kim Kwang-sik did a clever job of masking his actors’ weak points and making the most of their strengths in this action-packed flick.

The movie kicks off with a grand battle between Goguryeo and Tang, led by Yeon Gaesomun (Yoo Oh-seong) on the Goguryeo side and Emperor Taizong (Park Sung-woong) on the Tang side. After a devastating defeat, Yeon retreats to the capital of Pyongyang for the final siege, leaving nothing between the 200,000-strong army of Tang and the fortress town of Ansiseong.




Yeon, who considers Yang a traitor for not falling in line with his military coup, sends Sa-mul -- a young officer from Ansiseong played by Nam Joo-hyuk -- to the fortress to assassinate Yang. Sa-mul also holds a grudge against Yang for not sending his troops to the battle that killed his best friend.

Meanwhile, Ansiseong is in peril with Taizong’s army at its doorstep.

When it comes to acting, the cast is far from flawless. Zo’s voice still seems out of place in a period piece, and his big speech prior to the first battle is just uninspiring.

But his character refrains from making any more big speeches, taking action instead. Taking liberty with the historical facts -- easy, given that there are very few records left from Goguryeo -- director Kim reimagines the battle and creates an almost fantasylike siege.

It is very unlikely that Yang was in his mid-30s, or that there was a squad of beautiful women shooting blowguns, or a group of borderline super-soldiers fighting without their helmets, but this movie throws historical accuracy out the window and the result is a lot of fun.

The battle scenes play out like clips from a fantasy or superhero movie, and are done quite well -- except for the occasional much-too-slow slow-motion segments. With a gigantic budget on its side, the movie seems determined to make the battle scenes as epic as possible, which works for the most part.

Of course, the budget and technology are not quite on a par with those of Hollywood blockbusters and the computer-graphics soldiers are a little awkward, but the director manages to create the illusion that the 200,000 soldiers are really there.

To Zo’s credit, he looks and acts the part and his action sequences stand out.

Kim Seol-hyeon, an idol singer and actor, has surprisingly strong moments despite her lack of experience. Her acting range is still quite small, but the director manages to work within that range with good results.

Nam, despite his youth and lack of experience, delivers a rock-solid portrayal of a wavering youth who is unsure of what is right or wrong.

Does the film have its flaws? Of course.

The character-building moments to establish Yang as a people-first leader are almost painfully obvious, and the film has some genuinely cheesy moments. The overflowing of national pride may pump up the adrenaline for Koreans, but may be uncomfortable for foreigners, particularly Chinese -- who will already be annoyed by Park’s weird Chinese accent.

It is by no means a masterpiece, but it is an enjoyable film with clear selling points -- maybe enough to crack the 10 million ticket mark at the Korean box office.

“The Great Battle” hits local theaters Sept.19.

By Yoon Min-sik




Busy Holiday Season Leaves Viewers Spoilt for Choice




With the ink still warm in the record books for this summer’s box office, the Korean film industry is heading straight back into action for one of the busiest Chuseok holiday seasons of recent memory. Five star-driven titles will vie for glory on the charts as families around the country gather for the festivities.
Chuseok, Korea’s Thanksgiving holiday, is one of the two biggest annual celebrations in the country, along with the Lunar New Year. This year, the holiday will take place from Sunday, September 23 to Tuesday 25, with Wednesday threw in as another day off by the government. In addition, National Foundation Day and Hangeul Proclamation Day will fall on Wednesday, October 3 and Tuesday, October 9, giving fall releases plenty of opportunities to draw in big crowds in 2018.
Among this fall’s five top titles are a new showdown between HYUN Bin and ZO In-sung, who went head to head during the Lunar New Year holiday in 2017 with Confidential Assignment and The King, the latest Don LEE vehicle, last year’s Chuseok champ with THE OUTLAWS, the final entry in a period drama trilogy and South Korea’s first ever period creature feature.



The Great Battle - ZO In-sung




Reportedly the year’s most expensive film, period siege epic The Great Battle is the ambitious third feature of KIM Kwang-sik, returning to theaters after the gangster romcom My Dear Desperado (2010) and the media thriller Tabloid Truth (2014). With dazzling effects and plenty of forwarding momentum, this latest period war film takes pages out of Hollywood hits such as 300 and The Lord of the Rings.
Set in the year 645 AD, The Great Battle focuses on the real siege of the Ansi Fortress, which held out for 88 days when it was besieged by the military forces of the Tang Empire. General Yang (played by ZO) leads his small loyal forces against an overwhelming larger foreign invader, while also trying to fend off an assassination attempt from home.
ZO scored a hit during the Lunar New Year holiday last year with HAN Jae-rim’s prosecutor drama The King (2017). Yet, The Great Battle is only his second film in ten years, owing to an extended absence following A Frozen Flower (2008) when he enlisted for his military service. Complementing ZO on screen are TV star NAM Joo-hyuk in his film debut, AOA member Seol-hyun, BAE Sung-woo (ZO’s co-star in The King), UM Tae-goo (The Age of Shadows, 2016) and PARK Sung-woong (New World, 2013).



(skipped unrelated.....)



source : http://www.koreanfilm.or.kr/eng/news/features.jsp?pageIndex=1&blbdComCd=601013&seq=442&mode=FEATURES_VIEW&returnUrl=&searchKeyword=




Review: THE GREAT BATTLE, Rip-Roaring War Film Eschews Nationalism

Review: THE GREAT BATTLE, Rip-Roaring War Film Eschews Nationalism

Going all the way back to the Goguryeo Dynasty, siege action epic The Great Battle chronicles the historic standoff of a small Korean garrison against the might of the Tang army in the 7th century. Light on jingoism and heavy on spectacle, this surprisingly deft war film is an engaging ride throughout, even as it gets a little top-heavy in its final third.

In the year 645 AD, Emperor Li and his Tang Dynasty army march from one brutal victory to the next in the lands of Goguryeo. He soon sets his sights on Ansi Fortress; but also headed there is the young army captain Sa-mool, who has been ordered to assassinate Ansi’s leader, Yang Man-chun, who failed to come to Goguryeo’s aid on the battlefield. Sa-mool discovers that Yang and his loyal followers are not what he expected, and together they hold out for almost three months as the Tang army bears down on their walls.

With its tale of a small squad of Korean warriors going up against and vanquishing foreign foes, the parallels between The Great Battle and all-time Korean box office champ Roaring Currents were evident from the get-go, but whereas the former work relied on heavy-handed nationalism, director Kim Kwang-sik reigns in the patriotic excess in his unabashedly fun war picture, as he crafts a driving David versus Goliath tale powered by solid design and effects work, which are matched with a colorful cast of misfits audiences will be happy to root for.

Zo In-sung, back on screens after last year’s Scorsese-esque prosecutor drama The King, proves a magnetic lead as Yang, the commander of Ansi Fortress, who quickly disarms Sa-mool with his charm and inspires loyalty at every turn with his magnanimous and keen leadership. Uhm Tae-gu, memorable as the ferocious Japanese officer in Kim Jee-woon’s The Age of Shadows, is a welcome presence once more as the husky-voiced leader of Ansi’s cavalry, while Seol-hyun (of Kpop band AOA) brings grit to her role as his love interest and Yang’s sister, the leader of the fortress’ crossbow squadron.

Bae Sung-woo (who starred alongside Zo in The King) tones down his trademark humor as Yang’s stolid right-hand man while Park Sung-woong (New World) is suitably stony-faced and cruel as Emperor Li, even if his Mandarin doesn’t always sound very natural. Comic support comes from Park Byung-eun (Assassination) and Oh Dae-hwan (V.I.P.), who play bickering warriors by Yang’s side.

Eight years ago, Kim Kwan-sik delivered the low-key but effective romcom My Dear Desperado with Park Joong-hoon and Jung Yu-mi. He was less successful with the humdrum media thriller Tabloid Truth in 2014 and now, despite every opportunity to the contrary, he has delivered his most accomplished work yet. Pacing throughout is tight and Kim’s direction makes the action clear and easy to follow, whereas other Korean period epics often rely on a barrage of frenetic energy and frenzied camerawork.

After a blistering couple of attacks, the siege of Ansi Fortress settles in for the long haul, and this is where the narrative runs into trouble. Perhaps unsure of how to proceed, the writers throw in a few unlikely scenarios and a rushed side plot yet the production eventually manages to get back on track for a rousing closing battle.

Buckets more fun than we might usually expect from a period Korea war title, The Great Battle takes a big page out of the middle chapter of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and is a welcome change from the dreary nationalism we’ve come to expect from Korea’s period war pictures.






The Great Battle' Movie Talk at Lotte Cinema World Tower 091718 full video



'The Great Battle' BTS


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