Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 19
  2. Negative: 1 out of 19
  1. 89
    The most costly and the most popular film in South Korean history is also one of the most gripping and epic war films ever made, and certainly the only one I can think of the portrays the Korean war from the viewpoint of both sides of the conflict.
  2. Belongs to that brand of sweeping, conflict-era drama epitomized by "Saving Private Ryan," "Gone with the Wind" and TV miniseries "North and South."
  3. A complex film about the minefield of loyalty and betrayal.
  4. An anti-war spectacle that uses the story of brothers divided by the 1950 civil war as a metaphor for the wounds of the split.
  5. Reviewed by: Gregory Kirschling
    75
    Always entertains, just like ''Pearl Harbor'' and the rest of the best of Hollywood's dumb war movies.
  6. 70
    While it comes on like a flag-waver, it actually delivers something more nuanced. Its underlying skepticism about the Korean War seems to have jibed with the current national mood: The picture was, deservedly, a huge hit.
  7. With killing as an end in itself, combatants lose sight of what they were supposed to be taking up arms for in the first place. It's a terrible lesson, and one that Tae Guk Gi teaches with unexpected confidence.
  8. Reviewed by: Andrea Gronvall
    70
    The cloying score aside, this is a searing depiction of war in all its savagery, waste, and folly, with artfully choreographed sequences that surpass the conventions of the genre.
  9. You may find some of the story developments melodramatic -- I did -- but the film itself is quite powerful.
  10. 63
    Shamelessly contrived and manipulative, Tae Guk Gi packs a visceral wallop.
  11. It's hard to remain unmoved by Kang's deeply heartfelt homage to his nation's past.
  12. The film is never as powerful or convincing as it should be.
  13. Reviewed by: Ed Park
    60
    In the rare moments when a rifle, grenade, howitzer, bayonet, dagger, fist, land mine, or flamethrower isn't being deployed, the film pushes its melodramatic plotline with soap operatic shamelessness.
  14. 60
    Far more ambivalent and ambiguous film than Mr. Spielberg's. Both North and South are portrayed as brutal, abusive regimes that use their citizens as so much cannon fodder.
  15. Reviewed by: Ethan Alter
    60
    It's easy to view the story of these brothers as a larger metaphor for the relationship between the two Koreas, which gives the film an added resonance that your typical Hollywood war movie wouldn't possess.
  16. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    50
    Kang remains a superb technician, but somewhere the movie forgot to pack any genuine emotion along with its ordnance and K rations.
  17. 50
    After a sentimental opening sequence, he (Kang) scarcely lets the film pause to breathe, which dulls its effectiveness.
  18. Almost entirely devoted to combat violence and sentimental interludes.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 69 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 38
  2. Negative: 1 out of 38
  1. AmyR.
    Feb 20, 2006
    10
    Amazing movie! So much more than a war movie! I'm surprised that it didn't receive more critical acclaim from the US. I highly Amazing movie! So much more than a war movie! I'm surprised that it didn't receive more critical acclaim from the US. I highly recommend this movie! Full Review »
  2. GeorgeS.
    Feb 1, 2006
    10
    Awesome Movie! The saving private Ryan of Korea..I never even knew Korea had a war or it's own and that the South had conflicts with the Awesome Movie! The saving private Ryan of Korea..I never even knew Korea had a war or it's own and that the South had conflicts with the South. I love SOUTH KOREA! Full Review »
  3. Apr 15, 2013
    9
    I hate movies that make me read, but this was a great movie! Made me like South Korean people even more. I watched this at a strange time withI hate movies that make me read, but this was a great movie! Made me like South Korean people even more. I watched this at a strange time with all the threats from North Korea. This movie makes you care about the characters, and hope they get back to their peaceful living. Full Review »