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The Front Line [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), Korean Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Certification: 15
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Run time: 128 Mins.
  • Studio: Cine-Asia
  • Blu-ray Release Date: February 27, 2012
  • RRP: £24.99

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B006GDKW6M[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

When it comes to war films, there is a vast well to draw from that have been made from the Western perspective. Saving Private Ryan, Flags of Our Fathers, or even the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers come to mind immediately. When Clint Eastwood dared step out of the box to tell the Japanese perspective in his Letters from Iwo Jima he risked and did in fact receive a lot of negative publicity.

Perhaps director Hun Jang’s The Front Line (Gojijeon) doesn’t quite fall into the category of Iwo Jima, being that it is Korean-made and it is from the perspective of our allies in the Korean War. It is still refreshing, however, to see a film about this often overlooked war that is made from the perspective of our South Korean allies.

It is two-years into the Korean war and Eun-pyo (Ha-kyun Shin) is sent to the Eastern front to uncover a possible Northern mole in the ranks. It’s the crucial territory of Aerok Hills that has been constantly changing hands, and now each side is desperate to hold onto this strategic stronghold before an imminent armistice is signed. Upon his arrival, Eun-pyo finds his friend Soo-Hyeok (Soo Go), the once timid soldier he thought dead who has now quickly risen through the ranks to lieutenant commanding the Aerok forces. The question lies in how Soo-Hyeok has risen so quickly through the ranks. A Southern commander was found killed with a Southern bullet in him and someone among their ranks in under suspicion.

The Front Line is a strong character drama of camaraderie, moral ambiguity and action. Like the best war dramas, it captures the essence of a group of soldiers coming together under the worst of times to do unseemly things as one makeshift family. The camera work and in-camera effects are of a high quality and the acting top notch.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Captured in high definition on a Red One camera at 4.5K resolution, The Front Line comes to Blu-ray from Cine-Asia in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement that is clean, sharp and rich with details and textures. While this particular film doesn’t look quite as filmic as I have seen some other productions done with the Red, it is still very good. There is little to no video noise in the image and the intended color palette looks flawless.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Audio, provided in a Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) soundtrack is a solid and aggressive mix during the battle sequences in which bullets are flying all around and explosions are rather hefty. The low frequencies could have been stronger, but at least dialogue is clean and high frequencies never become fatiguing.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

There is all together over an hour of video featurettes on the production and special effects of this film plus a solid audio commentary by Bey Logan.

The supplements:

  • Audio commentary by Bey Logan
  • Making Of (1.33:1; PAL; 00:03:50)
  • Aero-K Hill – Action & SFX Making Of (1.33:1; PAL; 00:22:00)
  • A Daily Record of Battle – Making of Production (1.33:1; PAL; 00:33:13)
  • Ceasefire Agreement – Production Design (1.33:1; PAL; 00:19:42)
  • UK Trailer (1.85:1; 1080p/24)
  • Original Trailer (1.33:1; PAL)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

I was quite taken with this Korean War drama by director Hun Jang. The Front Line draws viewers in, it is touching and heartbreaking, pulse-pounding and riveting. A different perspective from what we’re used to in the West, I recommend everyone into this genre of films pick up this strong Blu-ray release.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B006GDKW6M[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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