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John H. Lee
Liam Neeson, Bum-Soo Lee, Jung-Jae Lee
Chung Tae-Won

A squad of soldiers fight in the Korean War's crucial Battle of Incheon.
Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English PCM 2.0
Korean DTS-HD MA 5.1
Korean PCM 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 111 min.
Price: $17.99
Release Date: 1/24/2017

• ďMaking ofĒ Featurette
• Trailers


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Battle for Incheon: Operation Chromite [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 10, 2017)

Laurence Olivier played one of his final film roles in 1981ís Inchon, a massively expensive South Korean-produced war epic. The movie bombed horribly and suffered huge financial losses.

45 years later, another movie looks at the subject Ė and boasts another aging Anglo actor to boot. With 2016ís The Battle for Incheon: Operation Chromite, Liam Neeson takes over for Olivier as General Douglas MacArthur.

Battle takes place in 1950 and views the early days of the Korean War. After North Korean forces run roughshod over South Korea, US General MacArthur creates a plan to get the South Koreans back in the battle.

As part of this, MacArthur forms a special team led by Lieutenant Hak-soo Jang (Lee Jung-Jae) to go behind enemy lines. This squad intends to infiltrate North Korean intelligence and set the stage for a MacArthur-orchestrated naval attack.

Though I remember the negativity and sense of failure that surrounded Inchon 35 years ago, I never saw the movie. As such, I canít compare it to Battle and deem which one handles events in the superior manner.

That said, I find it tough to believe Inchon couldíve done much worse than Battle. Stiff, awkward and consistently dull, the 2016 movie becomes a slow journey to nowhere.

Which seems almost shocking given all the action and intrigue the movie displays. From the spy mission that occupies the filmís first half to the military invasion that fills its second, Battle packs in all sorts of material that should involve and stimulate the viewer.

Unfortunately, the end result fails to serve any of these goals, as it seems unconvincing and plodding. The spy narrative fails to get off the ground, as the filmmakers canít find a way to make any of these events dynamic. We trace the infiltratorsí path in a loopy, sluggish way that doesnít develop the narrative in a clear sense or give us any real intrigue Ė we just bide our time as we await the military action.

When the forces do attack, Battle gives us a little greater drama Ė but just a little. To be honest, we just donít care enough about the participants to fully invest in the warfare.

That comes back to the many flaws of the first hour or so, as the movie sets up its participants in such a lackluster manner that we donít find ourselves involved in their tales. The characters come across as generic and one-sided, without much to flesh out the narrative or prompt an emotional response.

Because of this, when violent events occur, weíre left at armís length. If we donít fret about the fates of the characters, we donít have much onto which we can hang our hats.

For the most part, the actors perform in a competent manner, though Neeson seems disinterested as MacArthur. Granted, I canít blame him, as the movie sticks Neeson with an awful lot of wooden, unconvincing dialogue, but even so, it feels like the actor lets his corncob pipe do the heavy lifting for him.

One senses Neeson viewed Battle as nothing more than a paycheck, and I canít fault him. While the movie tells a story that boasts considerable potential, it lacks the skill and conviction to give us anything more than a cheesy, stiff melodrama.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus D

Battle for Incheon: Operation Chromite appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie provided a largely strong image.

Sharpness tended to seem fine. Some interiors could appear a bit soft, but not to a significant degree. This meant the film usually looked accurate and well-defined.

I saw no jaggies or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also failed to create distractions during this clean presentation.

In terms of colors, Battle opted for heavily stylized hues. It favored mustard yellows, grimy greens and a teal sensibility. None of these hues seemed appealing, but the Blu-ray reproduced them as intended.

Blacks were deep and firm, and shadows offered appropriate clarity, with nice development of low-light shots. The image held up well and provided a good reproduction of the source.

Though the disc also included an English dub, I opted for the original Korean DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack Ė though it didnít totally consist of Korean dialogue. Scenes with English-speaking characters such as MacArthur remained in English, which made sense Ė even if it mightíve been fun to hear Liam Neeson attempt Korean.

While much of the film concentrated on character moments, the various action sequences offered enough pizzazz to create an impact. These filled out the speakers well, and the quieter moments delivered good involvement as well.

For much of the film, occasional explosions offered the most obvious ďbig momentsĒ, but the final act used the speakers to much more consistent advantage. During the climactic assault, the various channels came to life and offered an involving impression. The rest of the movie seemed fine, too, but it was the climax that most obviously delivered the sonic goods.

Audio quality also was solid. Speech seemed crisp and distinctive, as I noticed no flaws like edginess. Music seemed warm and full, while effects added a real bang to the proceedings. Those elements showed good clarity and accuracy, and they offered tight, deep bass as well. The track seemed vibrant and dynamic as it accentuated the movie in a satisfying manner.

A Making of featurette lasts three minutes, 57 seconds and provides comments from Tae-Won CEO Jung Tae-Won, director John H. Lee, and actors Lee Jung-Jae, Lee Bum-Soo, and Liam Neeson. The piece looks at history, plot and characters and cast and performances. Itís little more than a short promo piece.

The disc also includes trailers. We get promos for Battle of Incheon as well as The Priests, Veteran, The Piper, The Admiral: Roaring Currents, and The Himalayas.

Based on real military events, Battle for Incheon: Operation Chromite fails to convey any sense of urgency or drama. It lacks depth and seems like a flat, clunky exploration of characters and circumstances that bores most of the time. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and audio but comes with almost no supplements. Maybe someone will eventually make a quality movie about the topic, but Battle isnít it.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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