Language: Korean, Japanese, Russian, German, English
Genre: War Drama
Running Time: 2 Hours 23 Minutes
Director: Kang Je-kyu
Cast: Jang Dong-Gun, Joe Odagiri, Fan Bingbing, Kim In-Kwon
Synopsis: “It wasn’t life they couldn’t give up, but hope. Jun-shik (JANG Dong-gun) is a young Korean man who dreams of becoming the next SOHN Ki-jung, the Korean gold medalist marathoner. Tatsuo (Joe ODAGIRI) is Japan’s top marathoner. Sharing a strong sense of competition in childhood, Jun-shik and Tatsuo grow up to be the greatest of national rivals. A year after an unexpected incident sees Jun-shik impressed into Japanese military service, destiny reunites him with Tatsuo, now a colonel in the Japanese army. Thrown into the maelstrom of World War II, Jun-shik and Tatsuo wear the uniforms of Japan, the Soviet Union, and even Germany before finally arriving in Normandy, France. As they survive endless, unpredictable battles, they slowly transform into each other’s greatest hope. A Korean man and a Japanese man meet as enemies, but become each other’s hope. And a drama of true humanity that transcends borders and nationality unfolds” (Alternate Pictures).
Verdict: Did Kang Je-kyu manage to make another war film as good as his 2004 war film Taegukgi? The answer is simply no. This one is no where close to how enjoyable Taegukgi was to me. My Way is predictable, cliched, cheesy, illogical, and if you’re not familiar with World War II, it can be frustratingly confusing. It is quite interesting at the beginning but then it just becomes a little silly with some unnecessary scenes, characters and events that happen so coincidentally wherever the two protagonists are and survive from one major attack to another. There is also an overuse of the shaky camera technique for the war action scenes, which makes it quite uncomfortable to watch. However, the great acting performance of the entire cast makes the movie engaging until the end.
Second opinion: “Quite touching; the guy (Tatsuo played by Joe Odagiri) I hated in the beginning is so handsome at the end!” (Iris Loong).
Subtitles at Malaysian cinemas: English and Malay subtitles are small and almost transparent, making it very difficult and tiring to read. Some dialogues don’t have any subtitle but you can roughly guess what they mean. No subtitles at all for the prologue.
Rating: 2 / 5
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Most ridiculous scene: Both the protagonists play football (soccer) with the other Caucasian soldiers by the Omaha Beach and score. Then all the guys race to the sea in slow motion to retrieve the ball and ends up playing around together in the water smiling. So gay.
Questions: They accuse Jun Shik’s (Jang Dong-gun) father for killing Tatsuo’s grandfather, a high ranked Japanese soldier, but why wasn’t there a death punishment? How is it possible for Tatsuo to become a captain for the Japanese Imperial Army within such short period of time? The Japanese are famous for raping Chinese girls in the war but how come they place Shin Rai (Fan Bing Bing) in the cell to nicely wait for her execution instead? And to add to that, nobody speaks chinese at the camp, how does she find out the exact day of her execution? How does the conversation between Tatsuo and the Soviet Union officer go so well when they are speaking in their own language?
Plothole: Tatsuo and Jun Shik grew up as rivals with Tatsuo being outshined most of the time in their marathon races. Tatsuo accuses Jun Shik’s father for murdering his beloved grandfather and casts his whole family to a poorer state after the father is beaten up quite seriously. Jun Shik is later pissed off by Tatsuo for killing a number of soldiers for retreating in the line of fire. Tatsuo orders Jun Shik to be executed too. They basically hate each other. So how is it possible for them to forgive each other and ultimately become so caring to one another? And how does Tatsuo manage to let go his pride and honour to stay alive instead of “dying in honour” like how he wants at the beginning? He has no friends and he hates his father. His only wish is to be like his grandfather. Makes no sense for him to give up and live on.
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Special thanks to Yuberactive for the free tickets.