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J.S.A. - Joint Security Area (2005)

Song Kang-ho , Lee Byung-hun , Park Chan-wook  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, Lee Yeong-ae, Shin Ha-kyun, Kim Tae-woo
  • Directors: Park Chan-wook
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Korean
  • Subtitles: Chinese, Korean
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
  • DVD Release Date: July 12, 2005
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009NZ78I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,552 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

In the DMZ separating North and South Korea, two North Korean soldiers have been killed, supposedly by one South Korean soldier. But the 11 bullets found in the bodies, together with the 5 remaining bullets in the assassin's magazine clip, amount to 16 bullets for a gun that should normally hold 15 bullets. The investigating Swiss/Swedish team from the neutral countries overseeing the DMZ suspects that another, unknown party was involved - all of which points to some sort of cover up. The truth is much simpler and much more tragic.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful

[[NOTE: This is an unedited reproduction of my original Amazon review of the "Import" edition of this DVD, post dated June 15, 2002; hence some of the information presented herein may be in need of a few minor 'update' tweaks]]


Spotlighted as one of the most expensive & highest grossing domestic Korean films to date (ranking third in overall audience attendance in Korea for a domestic film, just behind "Chingu" ["Friend"] and "Shiri" [or "Swiri"], and just ahead of the quirky romantic comedy "Yeopgijeogin Geunyeo" [aka "My Sassy Girl"], "JOINT SECURITY AREA" -- (Korean title: "Gongdong Kyeongbi Kuyeok - JSA") -- is one of those stories which starts off confusingly, but by the end ties everything together neatly and beautifully with some of the most sincere and genuine raw emotion ever experienced in a feature film.

"JSA" begins with a couple of contradictory flashbacks of an assassination-type event which takes place in a guardshack North of the DMZ (demilitarized zone) in the Joint Security Area, each based on the 'official version' of the story as propogated by North and South. As the film progresses, we are pulled along by a third and equally contradictory flashback, this one apparently revealing the truth not only of that fateful night's event which nearly ignited a small war between the two Koreas, but also giving us insight as to what led up to that point, and does so very tenderly and emotionally.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible film May 11, 2006
By Pansori
This is an incredible movie that tells a story of friendship against a political backdrop. One night shots break out at the JSA leaving 2 North Korean soldiers dead, one south korean soldier in a catatonic shock, and another southern soldier suicidal. A Korean-Swiss soldier is assigned to the case to find out what happened, all the while maintaining her neutrality.

What unfolds is the story of a complex friendship between a pair of northern soldiers with a pair of southern soldiers. Chan Wook Park is gaining fame for his Revenge Trilogy as well as his part in Three... Extremes, but out of all his work it is JSA that stands out for me.

He handles the friendship between the soldiers masterfully; they form a strong bond, looking at each other as brothers, but at the same time there is a sense that the bond will be easily broken.

At the end, when we see that a throw away scene actually has a meaning, it is enough to bring a person to tears.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding And Unforgettable Film! December 15, 2006
This outstanding film takes place at the DMZ [Demilitarized Zone] separating North and South Korea. One of the worlds most sensitive military and political regions in the world. When two North Korean soldiers are discovered dead, and two South Korean soldiers suspected in their murders, a team of neutral countries are gathered to determine the cause of what has happened: in which the fate of renewed hostilities between the two countries becomes all too real. I don't want to give out any spoilers in this film, therefore, I must leave out important information which will ruin the film for you if I divulge too much.

There is more to the deaths of the two North Korean soldiers, and the two South Korean soldiers being questioned by the neutral investigators that makes this film so different and outstanding. This is one of the better films to tackle a suspenseful subject matter that I have seen in a long, long time. The film moves between the present and the past. Each giving the viewer vignettes of what has transpired that has caused this tragedy. And although the film is tragic, there is also hope in the film: Hope for those who wish to see a better tomorow between this divided nation.

The storyline and cinematography is excellent, and as usual, Park Chan-wook weaves a magical tapestry of a film. He is truly one of the greatest directors in the business today. In fact, he is a directorial artist. [If there is such a term] He has a vision of directing that very few in the business have today: Every subject matter he seems to tackle comes off brilliantly. I look forward to more of his films. [Take notice Hollywood!] I recommend the film highly, you will not be disappointed. Highly, highly recommended. [Stars: 5+]
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars suspenseful... October 4, 2006
very well made is amazing how fast the South Korean film industry has propelled themselves onto the world stage. even though this was made quite a few years ago, it is still worth buying for collection.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars i have a question August 23, 2005
Great movie. I have one question. Is this version a edited one? Why is the Tai Seng Entertainme version, also offered here on amazon, Have a running time 10 minutes longer than this version? A total of 120 min. While this version has a running time of only 108 min. Anyone have the answer? I am confused on which version to buy. I don't want so water downed version.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truth is dangerous July 15, 2005
This is an interesting mystery set in the DMZ-between North and South Korea. Two South Korean soldiers begin visiting two North Korean soldiers and a friendship develops between them--but things go terribly wrong and two North Koreans wind up dead--including one of the friends. Due to the circumstances--"enemy" soldiers making friends in contravention to their orders--all involved are reluctant to tell the truth. The daughter of a North Korean expatriate is assigned the investigation-and though she uncovers the truth--it is a truth she cannot fully reveal.

The movie is interesting on it's own--but the message is clear--it's not soldiers who make war--it's politicians and governments!

Well worth watching!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good story ...
Published 2 months ago by Wolfgang Pehamberger
4.0 out of 5 stars very likable and propagandistic
four guys sitting around - and the North Korean ones suffer more than they deserve but with dignity and graciousness - that's the message
Published 4 months ago by Dwight
5.0 out of 5 stars Never knew this movie... Until
I wish more Americans would see this movie, if at all for any reason this one alone: perspective. It's a different perspective on a world issue based around a story worth watching. Read more
Published 8 months ago by William M. Welsh
4.0 out of 5 stars just one complaint
I love how the movie brings out true brotherhood. The one glaring problem that makes me yell out "What a WASTE!" is the JAG investigator's lame accent. Read more
Published 12 months ago by cat mat reviewer
3.0 out of 5 stars Expose You Own Preconceptions
This movie could have been better cast but the story is solid. The story is also subtle and your first conclusion as to any message will likely be wrong. Read more
Published 13 months ago by E. Hollowell
4.0 out of 5 stars The story bridges national borders and time with its universal...
Wonderful drama and action film that bridges national borders and time with its universal message.

I was reminded of Joyeux Noel (2005), Silent Night (2002), Saints and... Read more
Published 17 months ago by V. R. Padgett
5.0 out of 5 stars Yay!
I first watched JSA in language school and have loved it ever since. I watch it once every 2-3 months.
Published 22 months ago by S. M
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great movie
My wife and I have been watching alot of Korean movies lately on netflix. We came across this one and really wanted to own it. Read more
Published 22 months ago by WristWrocket
1.0 out of 5 stars Liberal Commie propaganda that is just as moronic in Korean as in...
GONGDONG GYEONGBI GUYEOK aka JSA aka JOINT SECURITY AREA(2000) Directed by Chan-wook Park.

At the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, two North Korean... Read more
Published on September 14, 2012 by The Mysterious Traveler
5.0 out of 5 stars A Small and Transitory Reunification On The Korean DMZ
This very good and intense movie totally absorbed me for the entire time it played. I won't go into the synopsis as other reviewers have already covered that ground very well. Read more
Published on May 23, 2012 by J Tate
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Topic From this Discussion
This Films Subtitles/Dubbing
It has both English subtitles and dubs. There are some actual English speaking scenes (not dubs) that do not have corresponding English subtitles, which I found a little difficult to understand, as they were spoken as a second language.
Jan 12, 2011 by Jonathan Campbell |  See all 3 posts
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