JSA: Joint Security Area

Starring: Yeong-ae Lee, Byung-hun Lee and Kang-ho Song
Tartan Asia Extreme
RRP: £19.99
TVD 3563
Certificate: 18
Available 30 May 2005

On the hyper-militarised border between North and South Korea shots ring out and a wounded South Korean soldier stumbles back across non-mans land, leaving two North Korean soldiers dead. The South Korean Army praise him as a hero, but were the soldiers actions far less courageous? Is only part of the tale being told...?

From the award winning director of Oldboy comes this thrilling tale of deceit, misunderstanding and the ultimate futility of war. Tough, brutal and fiercely intelligent, JSA: Joint Security Area stars leading actors Kang-ho Song (Shiri and Sympathy for Mr Vengeance) and He-kyun Shin (Save the Green Planet and Sympathy for Mr Vengeance).

This film has been available on import for a number of years now, it signalled Korea's ability to make high tension, action films. Based on a book called DMZ, this film centres on the area between north and south Korea, known as the "Joint Security Area". It focusses on an incident that occurred in the area. The story is told from both sides of the divide and as such, both of the tales do conflict at times.

This is also well known for being Korea's most expensive film ever made and boy does it show. The cinematography is absolutely superb and the quality of the film is very apparent throughout.

JSA has some genuine moments of high tension as the investigators into the incident start to uncover the truth about what happened. I really enjoyed this film, with its superb acting and lavish direction coupled with a genuinely good plot. You cannot help to be won over.

The special features on the disc include a couple of rather lame documentaries and two music videos as well as some trailers. It's a shame the features are not up to the standard of the film. If you like a good, solid film made with love and care that will also thrill you to watch it, then look no further.

Simon Lee

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