"There is no stimulus whatsoever, except the difficult training the men must endure."
Director: Kang Wu-Seok
Writer: Kim Hee-Jae
Cast: Ahn Sung-ki, Sol Kyung-gu, Jeong Jae-yeong, Heo Jun-ho, Kang Seong-jin, Im Won-hee, Kang Sin-Il, Lee Jeong-heon
Running Time: 135 min.
Plot: See review below.
EQUINOX21'S REVIEW: Wow, what a movie. Silmido (meaning Silmi Island), loosely based on a true story, starts off showing events of January 1968, when North Korean commandos infiltrated South Korea in an attempt to assassinate the president. In response, South Korea established their own secret unit, comprised of South Korean convicts that had been sentenced to death and actually "executed" for their various crimes, whose mission would be to infiltrate Pyongyang and slit the throat of Kim Sung-Il. The movie follows the 31 soldiers' training over the course of 3+ years as they go from out of shape miscreants to hard-core, special ops soldiers. Most start out not liking each other, fights break out, tensions are high, but over the course of their training they form a brotherhood with each other and even with the soldiers assigned to beat them into shape.
The actors in Silmido were all top notch. You'll see many familiar faces among the main and supporting members of the 31 soldiers in Unit 684. Ahn Sung-ki, The general in charge of Silmido, Sol Kyung-gu (of Oasis and Public Enemy fame) and Jeong Jae-yeong (of Guns & Talks and No Blood No Tears fame) are really the three main characters and who the entire movie focuses on, with the latter two being the heads of the two of the three teams of trainees. They all do a bang up job, especially showing their early mistrust and dislike for each other growing to their mutual respect and admiration.
The movie was stark and lacked much color, but this is due to the fact that they were on a deserted island, dressed in military garb and didn't have anything as far as decorations. But this added to the terrific tension that builds in the movie. There is no stimulus whatsoever, except the difficult training the men must endure. The dramatic score adds to this as well.
If you enjoyed the brief training scene at the beginning of Shiri, you'll probably like the movie Silmido. The majority of the movie focuses on the training and building of a brotherhood, and it's fairly brutal. All in all a terrific film, it's no wonder it is South Korea's biggest blockbuster thus far.
EQUINOX21'S RATING: 8.5/10