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Tae Guk Gi - The Brotherhood of War

4.6 out of 5 stars 169 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In the powerful tradition of Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers comes this box-office hit from Korea.From the director of Shiri comes the epic tale of two brothers. Jin-tae, a shoemaker, has worked tirelessly to provide money for the younger Jin-seok to go to college. But each of their hopes and dreams are shattered when both are forced to join the army against their will. Torn away from home and family, Jin-tae vows to protect Jin-seok despite the dangers and the cost. In the searing crucible of battle, fate intervenes, forcing their bonds of faith, love and trust to be tested time and again in this suspense-filled, action-packed war drama.


A big, bruising epic of the Korean War, Tae Guk Gi smashed box-office records when it played in South Korea in 2004, almost as though the country needed to re-live the trauma at a 50-year distance. For the rest of the world, this movie looks like a ground-level reckoning in a melodramatic key, with an authentic feel for battle lines as well as home front. Tae Guk Gi follows two brothers--one uneducated and forceful, the other intellectual and reserved--as they are united and then divided by the conflict. The broadly emotional story has some of the power of tales of the American Civil War, when family members found themselves on opposite sides of a battle. Director Kang Je-gyu , who made the lively female-assassin hit Shiri, takes a blunt approach to the material (including a Saving Private Ryan-style framing device). And at 150 minutes, he has plenty of time for head-splitting, blood-spraying combat. This movie is meant as a punch in the stomach, and it connects. --Robert Horton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Dong-gun Jang, Bin Won, Eun-ju Lee
  • Directors: Je-gyu Kang
  • Producers: Je-Kyu Kang, Seong-hun Lee
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Korean, English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 15, 2005
  • Run Time: 148 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006VL1J2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,082 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tae Guk Gi - The Brotherhood of War" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I thought this movie was very good. It has its flaws (which I will get into later), but overall, it's a very well done piece of cinema. This film, along with many others is proof that Korean movies, and by extension Asian movies, have grown up and are ready to seriously compete with Hollywood for global influence, audience and market share. I am impressed with Tae Guk Gi's attention to detail, special effects, cinematography and other high production standards.

Now, enough people here give you a quick synopsis of the story and adequate description of the plot, so what I am going to do is respond to some of the comments that other reviewers have made. I think my input might be helpful be cause I am a Korean raised in North America and can understand both worlds and explain things that were either misinterpreted or not clearly understood by non-Korean reviewers.

Some non-Korean reviewers have commented that it seemed like there was some over acting or acting "over the top" going on. Well, believe it or not, Koreans act like that in real life. They are emotional by nature, yell at each other a lot, slap around their younger peers, etc. Jin Sok and Jin Tae's mother collapsing after the train departs looks like something a Korean mother would do in that situation. What some non-Koreans would consider as "overacting" I would, as someone from a Korean background, consider realistic and normal (give the extreme situations that the characters go through). Anyone who thinks overacting is purposely going on in this movie needs to join the peace corp or something and get exposed to other cultures in different parts of the world.

One reviewer thought that Koreans fought unusually well given their supposed reputation at the time as poor soldiers.
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Format: DVD
This 2004 Korean film is about two brothers caught up in the national tragedy of the Korean War. The older brother is large and strong and shines shoes for a living with the hopes of becoming a shoemaker. His younger brother is 18 years old and the pride of the family because he is going to college. We first meet these brothers in a happy time when their future looks bright and the older brother is planning to get married. But suddenly, war is upon them and the family is forced to flee their home in Seoul. The two brothers are forcibly drafted and we soon see them on the battlefield.

The older brother is determined to protect the younger one. He risks his life to go on dangerous missions because he knows that if he receives a medal, the younger brother will be able to get out of the army. The battles are gruesome and real and better than any I have ever seen. I understand that the director accomplished this with a very small budget and I have nothing but applause for him for this effort. There's a human side of every battle, and I felt real emotion watching them.

Somewhere along the line, the older brother turns into a monster of aggression. Not only does he show exceptional bravery, he also shows exceptional cruelty.

This story goes deep into the heart of Korean national identity. Both sides are equally cruel to ordinary villagers who are just trying to survive. But one thing is clear and that is the bond between the brothers even though they eventually wind up in opposing armies. This is a serious film about brotherhood. And it is also a film about Korea. Actually, it helped me understand what is happening there today.

The film is 2 hours and 20 minutes long and it didn't drag for one single moment.
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Format: DVD
TAE GUK GI (literally translated, is the name of the South Korean Flag) or THE BROTHERHOOD OF WAR is one of the most consistently moving, desperately realistic, harrowingly poignant films about war in the international motion picture repertoire. While many directors and writers have prolifically produced films about the Civil War in the US, World Wars I and II, the Vietnam War, and other wars from other countries, few have touched on the Korean War. Director Kang Je-gyu corrects that omission with this dazzling epic and in doing so, he elects to make the story of that war a tale of two brothers (a metaphor for the North vs. South Korean conflict ignited by the fires of communism versus capitalism).

Jin-tae (the strikingly handsome and fine actor Jang Dong-gun) shines shoes and works at small jobs to encourage his younger brother Jin-seok (the refined and delicate actor Won Bin) to study to go to college to be the saviour of their poor family. The degree of camaraderie of these two brothers is some of the most touchingly portrayed on film. The joy of this South Korean family fills the screen for the first moments of the film, only to change abruptly on June 25, 1950 when suddenly the North Koreans attack at the 38th parallel, forcing communism and death down the throats of the South Koreans. Jin-tae realizes he must join the South Korean army to protect his mistakenly conscripted brother from the horrors of war.

The remainder of the film explores the progress of this war with great detail, leaving no battle untold and visually depicting the atrocities of war more brutally than any other film of this genre.
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