April 29, 2012

Epic Filthy Review - My Way

My Way (Mei Wai) (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

If you have read any of my reviews you will know that I am a fan of Korean horror and thriller flicks. My Way though was only the second war film that I had seen from that nation, with the other one being Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War from 2004, which incidentally is also directed by the director of My Way; Kang Je-Kyu. That was a stunning movie in itself and now he has followed it up with another sumptuous war epic, and it really is epic.

The story, which is based on true events, follows the story of Jun-shik Kim and Tatsuo Hasegawa, who since childhood have been rival marathon runners. Jun-shik is a poor Korean, whereas Tatsuo is a wealthy Japanese aristocrat, and through a twist of fate Jun-shik finds himself enlisted to fight for the Japanese army under the ruthless Tatsuo against the Chinese.

The story doesn’t end there though, as this film also takes them to Russia just before World War 2 and then into World War 2 itself. To give too much away with regards to the plot would be to spoil what is truly an epic movie. This is the sort of sweeping epic that Hollywood only wishes it could make, with movies like Pearl Harbor having the budget but not the heart or soul to compete with a movie such as My Way. To get across the scope of this film would take far too long, and I don’t intend on boring you. Suffice to say this is a dramatic war movie on a huge scale.

Although the film is very much concerned with the continuing relationship between the two rival runners, it is very much a war movie and it is here that the movie truly excels; the war scenes are brutal and unflinching. My Way is an incredibly violent film, with body parts literally flying across the screen, tanks flattening soldiers and blood spraying the screen; we are in serious Saving Private Ryan territory here in terms of the carnage. Even when the film does move away from the battle scenes there is still an unflinching violence throughout.

Although a Korean movie, it does feature a truly international feel to it, with Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, German and English languages involved, and I may well have omitted some. But even on this grand scale the film never shies away from the fact that it is a story about two characters, and Dong-gun Jang and Jo Odagiri (as Jun-shik and Tatsuo) are both superb in their roles. The entire cast is excellent though, and even though the film does rely heavily on the dramatics, of which you often find in these types of film, it is never less than riveting viewing.

Visually, as you might expect, My Way is absolutely stunning with sweeping shots mixed in with hand-held style camerawork when we get up close and personal with the action. I am guessing that there is a decent amount of CGI utilized in the film, but to my eyes it was pretty seamless and no doubt a hefty budget ensured the best techniques were used.

My Way is an epic film and as such has a running time to match the amount of action the film contains. It pushes the two and half hour mark, yet it never seems to drag, even when it moves away from the more frenetic action.

I really can’t recommend this film enough, and I don’t care if you don’t like subtitles, just suck it up and read them. My Way is violent, emotional, uplifting and truly cinematic, and I really wish that I had the opportunity to see it on the big screen, where I imagine it would be absolutely stunning. Regardless, My Way is an excellent film that you should check out when you get the chance.

My Way is released by CJ Entertainment and PMK BNC Films and is currently playing select theaters in NY and LA, with further cities being added from May 4th.

1 comment:

CikguSTEM said...

Agree with..such a great film. I'm repeating watching it too many times and still feel teh emotion between this two actors. How amazing when we could see the beauty of friendship in this film eventhough no typical love story take part. Love My Way.