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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Oct 14, 2016

Operation Chromite Movie Review: Exciting War Movie About Capt. Douglas Macarthur's Attack On Inchon During The Korean War

‘OPERATION CHROMITE’ is a South Korean production top billed by a Hollywood actor, Liam Neeson (who’s actually Irish and not American), playing the role of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. But actually, Liam as MacArthur plays only a supporting role in the film as the real lead star is popular Korean actor Lee Jung-jae as a brave South Korean spy hero.

Inspired by true to life events, the film is set in 1950 during the Korean War when North Korea, helped by Russia and Communist China, attacked South Korea which was in turn backed by the U.S.A. Part of South Korea has already been occupied by North Korea then. The United Nations coalition led by the U.S. under MacArthur, who’s based in Japan, launches an attack on the port city of Inchon in an invasion campaign called Operation Chromite, with American troops numbering 75,000 in 200 warships. The Battle of Inchon is a turning point in the Korean War as it drove the North Korean back on its heels.

Other Americans oppose MacArthur and accuse of him using Inchon, like the landing in Normandy, just to forward his ambition of running for the U.S. presidency. MacArthur then organizes a top secret operation whose aim is to steal tactical navigation maps from occupied Inchon to locate the mines the enemy has planted under the sea. The leader of this mission with eight spy operatives is Capt. Jang Hak-soo (Lee Jung-jae), who impersonates a North Korean office to infiltrate enemy territory.

The villain in the movie is Commander Lim Gye-jin (Lee Beom-su), who studied in Russia and is very loyal to the North Korean leader, Kim Il-sung. Lim is suspicious of Jang from the start and won’t reveal any information about the mines. The infiltrators are almost always in danger of being discovered until, finally, their cover is blown but they continue to do spy work to make sure MacArthur gets the help he needs to secure victory for Inchon, with the help of the South Korean Resistance.

What follows is a series of gunfights and chase scenes, topped by the huge naval attack on Inchon. The movie reminds us of our favorite Hollywood patriotic films shown after World War II, like “Guadalcanal Diary”, “Halls of Montezuma”, “Sands of Iwo Jima”, “Guns Of Navarone” and “Bridge on the River Kwai”.

Directed by Korean filmmaker John H. Lee, the film works as an action-packed, men on a mission war movie and Lee Jung-jae does very well as the intense hero who courageously leads his squad into firefights versus the North Koreans. Lee Beom-su is perfect as his aggressive foil and relentless North Korean adversary who mouths lines like “ideology is thicker than blood”. Actress Jin Se-yeon also makes a good impression as a communist nurse who sides with Jang after the Communist commander ruthlessly kills her uncle.