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Tale of North vs. South excites

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"Northern Limit Line" is a throwback to the days of Hollywood’s heroic and patriotic World War II films — except that it takes place in 2002.

NORTHERN LIMIT LINE’
Unrated (In Korean with English subtitles)
***
Opens Friday at Pearlridge West

Based on real events — when the North Korean navy launched a surprise attack against South Korean patrol boats while much of South Korea was distracted with the World Cup taking place in the country that year — it follows the fates of several crewmen as seen through the eyes of a plucky young medic, Park Don-hyeok (Lee Hyun Woo).

The first hour is somewhat lightweight, even jocular, but things turn toward the bloody and brutal in the latter half after the North Koreans open fire and South Koreans find themselves woefully outgunned — but fight on anyway.

A huge hit when it opened in South Korea in June, the handsomely mounted film has resonated with many there, perhaps in the way that "American Sniper" registered with many Americans. Both films end with footage from servicemen’s actual memorials, and it’s hard not to be moved by the outpouring of emotion.

Director Kim Hak-Soon may not strike a consistent tone, and there are certainly no shades of gray here. But "Northern Limit Line" is quite effective at getting the heart pumping.

Review by Cary Darling, Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram

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