Director John H. Lee presents Battle for Incheon: Operation Chromite, a 2016 War film from Korea. The film is about a squad of soldiers fighting in the Korean War’s crucial Battle of Incheon. Liam Neeson stars as Douglas MacArthur. Also involved are actors Jung-jae Lee and Beom-su Lee.
MacArthur is appointed head of the United Nations Command at the height of the Korean War. He dispatches eight elite South Korean military men on a suicide mission into North Korea. It’s obviously dangerous but the conflict has raged on longer than thought and desperate measures are being taken. Both the U.S. and South Korean forces are disheartened by the turning points of the war. MacArthur hopes this covert operation will be just the key to turn things around.
The mission is not easy. Not only do they have to infiltrate deep into enemy territory but the courageous “X-ray” intelligence unit are up against a ruthless North Korean commander Gye-jin Lim. Not to mention they also have to be concerned with the Russian and Chinese troops that are aiding the enemy at this time.
The goal is to stay alive as long as possible and achieve what some may consider an unreachable target. They must sabotage the North to clear the way for a naval incursion by MacArthur at sea. This is the story of the decisive surprise attack of the 1950 invasion of Incheon by 75,000 U.N. troops and 261 warships.
Apparently there is a 110 minute version cut, perhaps a theatrical one, but the one included on the DVD is 140 minutes. This is sort of a remake or at the very least a retelling of the 1981 film Inchon. Laurence Olivier plays MacArthur in that one. It’s pretty widely accepted to be a stinker. Of course it is based at least somewhat on a true story, although I was not interested in the story enough to find out how many things were accurate or not.
Battle for Incheon: Operation Chromite is basically just your typical war movie. Neeson does a passable job at acting, even though his character just seems to be rambling off motivational poster quotes. The special effects are pretty low budget, or at least they didn’t have a lot of time spent making them look realistic. There are multitudes of shots of people obviously just standing in front of a screen that will be digitally resurfaced later.
North Korea has described Battle for Incheon: Operation Chromite as “ridiculous bravado from ignorant lunatics” and while I tend to not agree with cartoon villains they may have a point in this one area. It seems very much like a simplified propaganda film. The goodies are always good and in the right, and the baddies always deserve what they get. Not that there is anything wrong with making a film like this, it’s just generally good to be aware of the kind of film that it is. If you go into it not expecting much then it’s a pretty average film.
There is a bit of shaky cam during the action. Also the film seems to be a bit manipulated with dramatic deaths of characters with the musical score swelling. There was voice-over work about the obligations of protecting one’s family. It was meant to project emotion and get the viewer involved but I could see behind the curtain and it just came off as hollow and cliche. If the film really grabs you then you make experience it completely different than I did.
The audio and video quality on the DVD were adequate. It’s about what you would expect a modern moderately budgeted movie to look like. There are quite a few digital effects in the film that in my opinion don’t look the greatest but I know that many viewers can look past that and still enjoy the movie for what it is. The audio sounded nice from the 5.1 Dolby Digital and there are English subtitles included. The gun fire and explosions seem to have a good boom to their sounds and I never had an issue with hearing the dialogue.
Battle for Incheon: Operation Chromite Final Thoughts:
I feel like generally there will be two types of an audience for a film like this. One will be reflecting back on the sacrifices made in war and be uplifted by the story of the troops. The other will see a messy, overlong CGI fest of average acting and war movie cliches. Honestly I can see both sides of the coin, and they are both valid opinions.
Battle for Incheon: Operation Chromite isn’t a bad movie at all, but it was just not engaging enough for me and therefore I cannot recommend a blind purchase. I suggest a rental if you are interested at all in the idea. If you have seen the film and want to purchase it on either DVD or Blu-ray then you can get your copy here on Amazon. If you decide however to just skip the whole film I don’t think anyone would blame you.
Note: This DVD was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.