My Way (2011 film)
South Korean poster
|Directed by||Kang Je-gyu|
|Produced by||Kang Je-gyu
|Written by||Kim Byung-in
|Music by||Lee Dong-jun|
|Editing by||Park Gok-ji|
|Distributed by||CJ Entertainment|
|Running time||119 minutes|
This film is inspired by the true story of a Korean named Yang Kyoungjong who was captured by the Americans on D-Day. Yang Kyoungjong was conscripted in the Japanese Imperial Army, the Red Army and the Wehrmacht.
The year is 1928 in Gyeong-seong (modern-day Seoul), Korea. Young Kim Jun-shik (Shin Sang-yeob), his father (Chun Ho-jin) and sister Eun-soo (Jo Min-ah) work on the farm of the Hasegawa family (Sano Shiro, Nakamura Kumi) in Japanese-occupied Korea. Both Jun-shik and young Hasegawa Tatsuo (Sung Yoo-bin) are interested in running; by the time they are teenagers (Do Ji-han, Kobayashi Yukichi), they have become fierce competitors. Tatsuo's grandfather (Natsuyagi Isao) is killed in a bomb attack by a Korean freedom fighter and subsequently a Korean runner, Sohn Kee-chung (Yoon Hee-won), wins a marathon race against Japanese competitors, further inflaming Korean-Japanese tensions.
In May 1938, Jun-shik (Jang Dong-gun) is working as a rickshaw runner. Koreans have been banned from taking part in sports events and Tatsuo (Joe Odagiri), now a fierce Japanese nationalist, has sworn that a Korean will never again win a race. Though he has been accepted by a medical college in Berlin, Tatsuo decides to stay in Korea to run in the All Japan Trials for the marathon. Sohn secretly backs Jun-shik and the latter wins the race, though Tatsuo is awarded the medal when Jun-shik is disqualified for allegedly cheating; a riot by Korean spectators ensues. As punishment, those who started the riot are forcibly drafted into the Japanese army, including Jun-shik and his friend Lee Jong-dae (Kim In-kwon), who has a crush on Eun-soo (Lee Yeon-hee).
In July 1939, they find themselves, along with 100 other Koreans, in the battle at Nomonhan, on the Mongolian border, where a Chinese sniper, Shirai (Fan Bingbing), avenging the death of her family at the hands of the Japanese, is captured and tortured. Tatsuo, now a colonel, arrives and takes over command, forcing the existing commander (and a Japanese far more fair to the Koreans), Takakura (Tsurumi Shingo), to commit hara-kiri. After refusing to join a suicide squad organized by Tatsuo to fight the Soviets, Jun-shik is imprisoned with Shirai but escapes with her, Jong-dae and two other friends to the River Khalkhin. Jun-shik, seeing the tanks on the horizon, attempts to return to base to warn the Japanese forces. During his return, he is attacked by a Soviet I-16 Ishak, and is saved by Shirai, who dies after shooting down the plane. Jun-shik returns to the base and manages to warn the Japanese forces that a large-scale Soviet tank attack is coming but Tatsuo refuses to order a retreat, and both Tatsuo and Jun-shik are seen flying through the air, unconscious.
In February 1940, Jun-shik and Tatsuo end up in Kungursk POW camp, north of Perm, in the Soviet Union, where both Koreans and Japanese are incarcerated together. Under the name of Anton, Jong-dae has become a work-unit leader and helps his Korean friends, while abusing his old Japanese leaders, while Tatsuo is humiliated and almost killed by Jun-shik in a fight. When news comes that Germany has declared war on the Soviet Union, Jun-shik and Tatsuo are volunteered by Jong-dae to join the Soviet army. Johng-dae has saved their lives. They all fight in a bloody battle against the German army at Hedosk in December 1941. Jong-dae dies, while leading the Soviets to battle, but Tatsuo and Jun-shik find themselves alive at the end of the battle and Jun-shik convinces Tatsuo to don German military apparel taken from bodies and travel over the mountains. As they travel, it becomes clear that Tatsuo has been injured. They come upon a town where Jun-shik goes to find medicine to give to Tatsuo. During his search, Jun-shik is found by German soldiers, who, unable to understand him, capture him. Meanwhile, the dying Tatsuo is found by Nazi soldiers searching the house he was placed in.
Three years later, Tatsuo is part of the German Army. He finds himself on the beaches of Normandy, France, just prior to the D-Day Allied invasion. As the army fortifies the beaches, Tatsuo sees a man running on the beach. He catches up to him and see that it is Jun-shik. It is apparent that they have not seen each other since right after the battle in Hedosk. They decide to run away from Normandy to go home, back to Korea. As they attempt to leave, the Normandy Landings begin. Jun-shik and Tatsuo are locked into a machine gun nest by a German officer. The two force open the door and emerge to a scene of chaos, with American soldiers taking over the beach. They run inland, but Jun-shik is wounded by a bomb fragment in the chest. A dying Jun-shik tells Tatsuo that "He is now Jun-shik," as Tatsuo is Japanese and considered an enemy of the Americans. Tatsuo is later seen running and winning the 1948 Olympic games then a flashback appears of their first encounter.
- Jang Dong-gun - Kim Jun-shik
- Joe Odagiri - Tatsuo Hasegawa
- Fan Bingbing - Shirai
- Kim In-kwon - Lee Jong-dae
- Lee Yeon-hee - Kim Eun-soo
- Oh Tae-kyung - Kwang-choon
- Kwak Jung-wook - Min-woo
- Kim Hee-won - Choon Bok
- Nicole Jung - press conference guide
- Yang Jin-suk - official at banquet
- Taro Yamamoto - Noda
- Manabu Hamada - Mukai
- Shingo Tsurumi - Takakura
- Kim Shi-hoo - Tsukamoto
- Yoon Hee-won - Sohn Kee-chung
- Chun Ho-jin - Jun-shik's father
- Isao Natsuyagi - Tatsuo's grandfather
- Shiro Sano - Tatsuo's father
- Kumi Nakamura - Tatsuo's mother
- Shin Sang-yeob - Jun-shik (child)
- Sung Yoo-bin - Tatsuo (child)
- Jo Min-ah - Eun-soo (child)
- Do Ji-han - Jun-shik (teen)
- Yukichi Kobayashi - Tatsuo (teen)
- Ko Joo-yeon - Eun-soo (teen)
- Hong Young-geun - Joseon conscripted soldier
- Hakuryu - governor of Athletic Federation (cameo)
- Kim Soo-ro - mic man on a truck (cameo)
- Han Seung-hyun
- Andrea Bocelli - To Find My Way
This is the first film Kang Je-gyu directed after taking a 7 year hiatus. Kang first received the original screenplay with the working title D-Day in 2007 and then after watching a Korean documentary on the subject decided to turn the script into a film in 2008. The production lasted eight months from October 2010 to June 2011, with locations in Latvia and Korea (Hapcheon, Cheongoksan National Park in Gangwon Province, Saemangeum Seawall). The Soviet BT-5 and BT-7 tanks in the film were copies built on the chassis of old, but functional American light tank M24 Chaffee.
Despite being one of the most expensive Korean films ever made with a budget of ₩28 billion (US$24 million), the film flopped at the box office. It encountered stronger than expected competition from Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, released on December 15, and it also received a lukewarm response from viewers. From its release December 21 to the end of the year, My Way sold 1.58 million tickets - only a small fraction of what it would have needed in order to break even.
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