Battle for Incheon: Operation Chromite (2016)

Directed by Lee Jae-Han. Starring Liam Neeson as General Douglas MacArthur and Jung-Jae Lee as the leader of a nearly suicidal undercover mission behind North Korean lines at the peak of the Korean War. Operation Chromite –(original Korean title, 인천상륙작전; 仁川上陸作戰;Incheon Sangnyuk Jae-jeon) is a 2016 South Korean war drama blockbuster directed by John H. Lee and based on actual events leading up to the decisive Invasion of Inchon led by MacArthur in 1950. which turned the tide of the war after initial North Korean successes.

“Operation Chromite” was the real life code-name of a secret operation whose purpose was to infiltrate the North Korean defenses at Inchon and clear the way for MacArthur’s surprise attack from the sea. Handsome charismatic actor Jung-jae Lee is the leader of an eight man squad disguised as North Koreans who infiltrate North Korean HQ in Inchon to find out where the mine fields are that would block a naval incursion. In actual fact MacArthur’s surprise move far behind enemy lines resulted in the recapture of Seoul and the turning of the tide in the darkest early days of the Korean War when American and South Korean forces had been pushed back to a mere toe-hold in the so- called Pusan Perimeter. Neeson’s portrayal of MacArthur is such a caricature it’s almost a joke, however the principal Korean actor’s, hero Jung-jae Lee and villainous North Korean commander Bum- soo Lee, are quite convincing and keep the suspense at a peak throughout. With director “John H.” Lee this might be called the Picture of the Three Lees.

Overall a rousing historical war film with lots of shootouts and suspense ~ money’s worth “time pass” if nothing else. Lead actor Jung Jae Lee was a discovery and I will look for more of his films. MacArthur was previously portrayed by Gregory Peck in the 1977 biopic entitled “MacArthur” and by Sir Lawrence Olivier in the 1981 Reverend Moon (Unity Church) funded monstrosity entitled “Inchon”, described as “a noisy and absurd re-telling of the great 1950 invasion of Inchon during the Korean War” on IMDb and a high ranker on many Worst film of All Time lists. Operation Chromite is basically a Korean Flag waver similar to WW II Hollywood films which were designed to promote civilian morale on the home front against the Axis enemies. What is significant here is that this is not just an historical film to remind people about a war that took place over sixty years ago but also an alert to the ongoing hostility of North Korea even today. Not to forget that a peace treaty was never signed between the two Koreas and that Nuclear armed North Korea continues to rattle the Sabres daily in northeast Asia, even threatening the USA and Japan with possible nuclear attacks.

North Korea has described the film as “ridiculous bravado from ignorant lunatics” — only to be expected from this insane corner of the world. Op Chromite was released in Korea on July 27, 2016 and is already the big hit of the year in Korea. It may not make waves at festivals but it’s not at all bad and is worth checking out.

Review by alexdeleonfilm

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