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Saturday, September 04, 2004


Blueberadnz is the real Korean film expert here but I'll at least tell people about the story of Shilmido. If you don't want me telling you all about the story and film then read no further. I should also quickly say that I'm typing this hard and fast and I'm not bothering to go back and double check facts and names etc as I have to go shopping in Seoul soon. But you can trust that I'm pretty much on the mark with all this.

I'm sure most of you don't know this story as even Koreans didn't know about it until recently as it was covered up like most horrible military incidents in Koreas past. Including student massacres in Gwangju and straight out enormous slaughters on Jeju Island back in the day. Things I'd like to do more research on.

Anyway. Shilmido is the name of a Korean movie which came out relatively recently in Korea. Nothing amazing in that except that it's based on a true story and if you get a chance to see the movie you'll find that perhaps a bit hard to believe. However the real crazy thing is that if anything the real story is even wilder than the movie. It's turned into a blockbuster and there wouldn't be a hell of a lot of the 48 million SOuth Korean movie going population that won't have caught up with it. It's also being distributed internationally at the mo.

Right so let's get into it.

Basically a bunch of convicts and some ordinary civilians are carted off to an island off the north west coast of South Korea (if that makes any sense) to train up as a crack squad of 31 commandoes to go and slit Kim Il-Sungs throat (the North Korean leader at the time in the late 60s). The significance behind 31 was that in 1968 North Korea had sent 31 of their own south to do the same to the South Korean leader. Unfortunately they failed. I say unfortunately because the South Korean leader at the time was a murderous scum bag.

So anyway, off they get dragged and so for the next few years they undergo a brutal training regime.

During this time, one of them drowns, one of them dies through blows received in a fight, two of them are shot after trying to escape, and three are shot after escaping and raping a woman in a nearby town. These things are kind of covered in the film but not exactly the same.

So anyway then we get left with 24. Well, then relations between the North and the South thaw somewhat and this unit 624 get scrapped and in order to cover it up (Seoul doesn't want the north finding out about their attempts to plod north and cut the dear leaders throat) they decide to kill the entire unit. Well I guess the poor lads get wind of this and so they go on a bloody rampage and kill all of their leaders. Only 6 managed to escape alive. In the film the head of their training commits suicide seemingly honorably. However in reality they caught the guy and beat him to death with a hammer and a short sword.

So then off they escape south heading straight for the presidents house. They are reported as being communists by the south who hope to wipe them out and forget all about this business.

Well they hijack a local bus (which had had some teachers from a local high school near me get off it just before it was hijacked because they had forgotten something. They did see the soldiers though). Well they tear south with many casualties along the way. Then finally in Seoul they park up the bus in front of a road block and spray bullets around and get shot at plenty themselves. Eventually they decide to commit mass suicide by pulling the pins from their hand grenades. There were a few survivors who were sentenced to death.

The real story has it that they crashed into a tree with hand grenades at the ready and four of them dropped them and blew the bus to bits. Here it gets cloudy. Apparently there were a few survivors but they were pretty fucked up. I think one of the units three captains died of wounds in hospital. The others were either shuffled off to suffer from mental problems or just plane shuffled off.

So anyway, watch the film and see what you think.

Right I'm off to invade a Seoul music store and book store though I'm attacking the secret way from the south.

SILMIDO is actually a pretty terrible movie based around a totally brilliant, whacked story. Watching it is like watching the All Blacks play out the exact same backline moves that haven't worked the past 68 attempts - frustrating to see potential thrown away at the altar of shitty technique.
well that was the thing.

Why didn't they just do it 'EXACTLY' the same as the original. It was quite capable of stunning the audience and it would have been shocking in it's truth.

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