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71: Into the Fire

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Original title
Po-hwa Sok-eu-ro - Pohwasogeuro (Into The Gunfire) (In the Crossfire) (71: Into the Fire)
Running time
120 min.
South Korea South Korea
Man-Hee Lee, John H. Lee (Original story: Dong-Woo Kim)
Dong-jun Lee
Chan-min Choi
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Taewon Entertainment / UBU Film / H Plus Communication
War. Drama | Korean War. Based On A True Story
Synopsis / Plot
The (supposedly true) story revolves around 71 student soldiers who are left behind to protect an outpost against the approaching North Korean army, while the high command and remaining battalions have to defend the last beachhead against the enemy somewhere else.
With little supplies and largely alone, the group of students is having difficulties to work together, as leadership is questioned frequently, some never follow orders and, mostly for dramaturgic reasons, things go wrong that simply shouldn’t go wrong (just like in horror movies when we think who on god’s earth would be so stupid to do that). 71: INTO THE FIRE manages to create a great deal of internal and external conflict that mostly feels natural though, like a result of the circumstances the group is in. Very importantly, Mr. Lee keeps the momentum up until the end and shows great talent in pushing the limits, inevitably steering towards a grand finale that won’t let the audience down.
While 71: INTO THE FIRE is not providing any insights into the actual conflict, it’s a fine drama and war movie with a lot of memorable moments, good acting and fierce action. 71: INTO THE FIRE is Mr. Lee’s best work to date and one of the better movies coming out of Korea this year, and arguably can claim a spot on any “best war movies” list out there, if just defined broad enough.
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