My Way (2011), a South Korean World War II movie, and apparently being one of the most expensive Korean films ever made with a budget of ₩28 billion (US$24 million), is loosely based on the story of Yang Kyoungjong.
Yang Kyoungjong was a Korean soldier, who fought with the Imperial Japanese Army, the Soviet Red Army, and eventually the German Wehrmacht (in one of the Eastern Battalions) during World War II. According to various sources, he is to date the only soldier to fight on three sides of a war.
REVIEW: Well, if you came here for historical accuracy, you can already make a U-turn..
There’s only one thing true… It’s loosely based on the story of Yang Kyoungjong and they speak Korean. Can’t tell. My Way features two main characters, Korean “Rickshaw” Jun-Shik Kim and Japanese “Professional runner” Hasegawa Tatsuo. The first 25 minutes of the movie are about the rivalry between Korea and Japan especially after the Korean marathon runners were banned from the Olympic games. Eventually, after the intervene of Korean Kim-Jung Sohn, who won a Golden Olympic Medal, Jun-Shik Kim was able to enter the try-outs.
This is where all the action will start off… During the All Japan Olympic Marathon Try-outs (at least according to my subtitles) both runners are giving their best.. and guess who wins? .. Yeah, and more incredible guess what happens after? … This is when Jun-Shik Kim with many other Koreans is sentenced to fight under the Imperial Japanese Army.
They’re send off to their first battle against the Soviet-Union near the Mongolian border. It is here where the two rivals would meet again. Only Tatsuo is now a Colonel in the Imperial Japanese Army.
Let us forgive the shaky camera work, that may irritate you after a while (especially in the beginning when you start noticing it), yet action-wise you won’t be disappointed. The producers did an immense job to put action in this movie and they succeeded!
If you also forget many of the historical inaccuracies and the producers love for invention to create new type of vehicles (Japan had many suicide weaponry and methods of sacrificing yourself for the Emperor but didn’t know the Japanese had suicide trucks) and so on…
But you will be amazed by all the action, forget Saving Private Ryan. I think the producers literally sought every possible way to put action in to this: bomb packages, suicide bombers and trucks, harakiri, strafing aircraft and bombers, warships, samurai action, tanks, cannons and I probably forget many more…
From the Imperial Japanese Army, to the Red Army and eventually serving under the German Wehrmacht. Action all around, the rest is split between rivalry and friendship and the love for running. Forget about accuracy: many action scenes (in various ways many of the scenes are inaccurate), 100’s of the same B-17’s bombing the beaches; Utah, Pointe du Hoc and Omaha Beach mixed into one .. literally too much.
However the editing, slow-motions during the actions and shaky camera work throughout the movie, probably is one of the reasons why My Way never became a success. I don’t know much about South Korean movies and how this one compares to others however, one thing is for sure, the movie’s action is intense, loud and brutal and that is what makes the movie stand out from many others.
If you find yourself irritated after watching numerous inaccuracies repeatedly, this movie isn’t for you.. but this is a must-see, if you want to see a World War II action movie or just to be able to discuss it with your friends! It took me 7 years to see but I finally did.. and I wasn’t disappointed. The trailer or the stills don’t even show a fraction of all the action.
It reminded me of a specific scene in Hot Shots, only they aren’t on Rambo’s team:
Tips for maximum enjoyment: watch it in a relaxing chair, cold beer and nuts near you and shut off any brain matter, no thinking allowed during this movie. Otherwise you’ll rate the movie 2/10 but with brains off, cold beer in your hand and on a lazy night, it’s action-wise a 8-9/10.