As current events in Syria attest, conflict zones often turn into a microcosm of a much larger conflict. Following the end of World War II and the division of Korea, the onset of the Cold War saw the arena of conflict move east. The Korean War began in 1950, with China and Russia backing the communist North and the US and UN the South. John H. Lee’s new film, Operation Chromite, proceeds the most important moment in the war: The Battle of Inchon.
Just a few months after the Northern forces almost overrun South Korea, General Macarthur (Liam Neeson) devices a secret plan to invade behind enemy lines (codename: Operation Chromite). In order to persuade the other military commanders, he needs information. Soviet trained Captain Jang Hak-soo (Lee Jung-jae) leads a covert military operation to capture military intelligence. Posing as North Korean officers, the band of eight must outfox the clever and ruthless Commander Lim Gye-jin (Lee Beom-soo) to succeed.
Operation Chromite works best when it focusses on the action on the ground. Captain Jang’s mission is a riveting, tense and cleverly conceived story. There’s great acting from the ensemble cast, impressively choreographed action scenes, and it looks wholly realistic. However, it’s let down by the frankly dreadful sequences with Liam Neeson. Phoning it in is an understatement. However, if you can overlook this obviously financial consideration, you’re in for a superior Korean war film.
Operation Chromite is in cinemas and on Digital Platforms from today.