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The Great Battle (2018)

The Great Battle (2018)

Ancient Korean warriors take a stand in this action-packed, spectacular historical epic

7.0

Movie

South Korea
Korean, Mandarin
Action, History, War
2018
KIM KWANG-SHIK, KIM KWANG-SIK
Bae Seong-woo, Bae Sung-woo, Cha Eun-woo
135 min

TLDR

The second fight scene at the gate comes just close to Helm’s Deep, and it’s just *chef’s kiss*.

What it's about

Goguryeo, 645. The Tang Empire launched siege after siege, taking down smaller, neighboring kingdoms and expanding their rule. When the empire reached the Ansi Fortress, commander Yang Man-chun and his troops took a stand to protect it in an epic 88-day battle.

The take

While Hollywood still makes some films in this genre, there are less historical epics being released, in part due to cost, but also in part due to having had so many, ever since the start of the medium. However, there are some historical events that we rarely see on film, and one of them is The Great Battle. Set before the formation of a united Korea, the film is a classic standoff against a larger army, that has all the swordfighting and armies we’ve come to expect, but it’s also grounded by the dynamic between a young warrior sent to assassinate, and the hardened, brilliant commander whose leadership kept the troops protected. While there are moments that definitely eludes historical accuracy, and there are some subplots that distract from the main conflict, The Great Battle is a fairly entertaining historical epic to watch, especially when focused on the action-packed clashes and the spectacular warfare.

What stands out

When Man-chun goes around and actually puts in care and thought with the people in the fortress, while his enemy just goes around invading other kingdoms, of course you would want Man-chun to win. Writer-director Kim Kwang-sik establishes Man-chun’s character to make the stakes of life and death feel much more real.

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