Admiral : Roaring Currents, The (2014)
|Year Of Production||2014|
|Running Time||105:18 (Case: 109)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (47:20)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Han-min Kim|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||Korean Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English Titling (Burned In)
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
South Korea has been turning out some high quality movies lately including such wonderful films as The War of the Arrows and The Front Line, both of which have been reviewed on this site. The director of The War of the Arrows, Han-min Kim has returned to our screens with another marvellous military history film, this time telling the story of a naval battle between Korea or Joseon and Japan in 1597. In English the film is called The Admiral : Roaring Currents, in Korean Myeong-ryang. These titles do not literally translate to each other as the Korean title refers to the name of the famous sea battle involved, whereas the English title is a bit more descriptive of what the film is about.
The main protagonist is Korean Admiral Yi Sun-Shin (Min-sik Choi) renowned to naval historians as one of the greatest naval commanders ever, although probably not that well known outside of Korea. Korean has been under relentless attack by Japan for 6 years and is facing defeat by land and sea. The Japanese are steadily advancing on the capital led by Commander Todo (Myung-gon Kim) and Wakizaka (Jin-woong Jo). Much to their disgust, the Japanese chancellor sends them General Kurushima (Seung-ryong Ryu) to lead a naval assault on the capital. They perceive him to be a pirate rather than a great military leader. After some angstiness between them he takes the lead in the attack on the Korean fleet commanded by Yi Sun-Shin. The Korean fleet consists of 13 ships and the Japanese over 130. Yi Sun-Shin's secret weapon, however, is the strait in which he sets out his ships called Myeong-ryang in Southern Korea. What follows is the naval battle by which he manages to defeat the huge opposing force with guile and bravery.
This film is focused on the tactics and guile of the Joseon admiral, Yi Sun-Shin as opposed to being focused on the politics or personalities involved, although these are touched on. Min-sik Choi does a marvellous job portraying the admiral and is well supported by the all Korean cast. The film is really well put together featuring fantastic physical effects and stunts, combined with some well integrated CGI. They actually built 8 full size ships for this production, plus others for use on gantries to portray the close up combat as ships are boarded. They focused on historical authenticity in the ship built, something which even surprised museums they engaged to help. The costumes are also marvellous and there are loads of extras, providing a sense of really being in the battle. As a Korean production it obviously focuses on the heroism of the Koreans and the Japanese are pretty much universally portrayed as either arrogant, stupid or lacking in courage. The naval manouverings are well portrayed and you certainly get a good sense of the tactics involved. The hand to hand combat is very visceral and probably a little more bloody than really necessary. The score is excellent, suitably heroic and dramatic, really adding to the production.
Based on Box Office Mojo, this film seems to be the highest grossing film ever in South Korea, taking nearly 18 million US at the box office. It got minor theatrical releases here and in the US.
If you enjoy historical Asian action epics like I do, this film is one of the best ones I have seen lately, so I would recommend it. Also, if you have an interest in naval history and tactics, this film is definitely also one for you. Even if you just like a bit of gory action you will get something from this too. Red Cliff goes to sea!
This video transfer is good for DVD, however I would plump for the Blu-ray which I assume would be quite a step up. The picture is reasonably sharp, although some scenes especially near the beginning lack somewhat in detail and seem a little soft. The colour is excellent, showing off the costumes and landscapes. Shadow detail is decent but a little murky at times. There is an obvious layer change at 47:20. There is also a little digital shimmer at times. Technically, it is 2.35:1 16x9 enhanced.
There are subtitles available in English plus some burned in titling for place names etc. They are both clear and easy to read. The subtitles contained some minor grammatical errors.
This is a high quality soundtrack in Korean Dolby Digital 5.1. It is great for DVD but the Blu-ray is sure to be awesome. The soundtrack is a little quiet overall but once you turn your amp up it is a great surround experience. The dialogue seems clear and clean and the majestic music sounds great. The battle scenes give all the speakers a work out including the well-used subwoofer. Voices appear in the surround channels plus the confusion and deafening sounds of battle in the forms of cannon fire, screaming and explosions. The subwoofer supports all of this well.
|Surround Channel Use|
Small set of extras.
The menu features music and is simple with only two options, play and extras.
This includes interviews and behind the scenes footage plus discussion of how they achieved period authenticity. Interesting but far too short.
Short promotional clips. One on the admiral, one on characters in the Japanese Navy and one on the Korean navy. Far too short for any substance.
A short trailer.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The US edition seems to be exactly the same. Buy local.
The video quality is good.
The audio quality is excellent.The extras are very minor.
|DVD||Panasonic DMR-PWT500, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|