The South Korean
blockbuster "Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War," which opened in the United
States Friday, has received strong reviews from several major U.S.
The South Korean blockbuster "Taegukgi
: The Brotherhood of
War," which opened in the United States Friday, has received strong reviews from
several major U.S. newspapers.
The film about two brothers caught up in
the 1950-53 Korean War simultaneously opened on a total of 35 screens in the
cities of Washington, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and
Honolulu, with English subtitles.
The New York Times introduces the
film's director Kang Je-gyu as the Steven Spielberg of East Asia and likened the
film to Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan."
The two directors are similar not
just because their movies routinely become blockbusters but in that they make
compelling genre stories around questions of national identity, the newspaper
It added that two of Kang's earlier features, "The Ginko Bed" and
"Swiri," broke box-office records in South Korea.
Brotherhood of War,' Kang seems to be deliberately forcing the comparison... The
film begins with an elderly man's visiting a burial site, a sequence that
practically quotes Spielberg's film," it said.
But it said "Taegukgi" is
far more ambivalent and ambiguous film that Spielberg's. Both North and South
Korea are portrayed as brutal, abusive regimes that use their citizens as cannon
The Washington Post also featured Taegukgi on two pages of its
weekend movie section on Friday.
Calling it a "huge, sprawling, expensive
film full of shocking battle violence, but at the same time not without its
subtleties," the Post said its director Kang is as good as Spielberg in "Private
"You may find some of the story developments melodramatic but the film
itself is quite powerful," the newspaper said.
Taegukgi set a box-office
record by attracting more than 11.6 million moviegoers in South Korea, a country
with a population of 48 million. It has already generated 6 billion won (US$5
million) from exports to 14 countries. In Japan, the film has raked in 1 billion
yen ($91,100) since opening on 320 screens in late June.
number of screens allocated to Taegukgi in the United States is minimal compared
to the average of 2,500-3,000 for Hollywood blockbusters, it is still the widest
release for a South Korean film making a U.S. debut, according to its producer
Kang Je-gyu & Myung Films.
Another South Korean film showing in the
United States, "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter....And Spring," ranked 66th in the
U.S. box office last week, but it opened on only four screens and later expanded
to 60, the official said.
Taegukgi's U.S. distributor Columbia Pictures
plans to increase the number of screens for Taegukgi in the future if it