Film Review: The Admiral – Roaring Currents


Article by Kevin Young

Channeling fear into courage, is the theme that surrounds South Korea’s blockbuster hit, The Admiral: Roaring Currents. This historical war film directed by Kim Han-min stars veteran actor Choi Min-sik as the inspirational protagonist, Admiral Yi Sun-shin. Choi Min-sik recently starred alongside Scarlet Johansson in the Hollywood psychological thriller Lucy.

Set in 1592 the film opens explaining the war-torn setting of Korea as the Koreans desperately try to push back the invading Japanese forces. The admiral was initially tortured for failing to neutralize a Japanese double agent yet was reinstated after word of another Japanese invasion force coming. The odds are against the Koreans with merely 12 naval ships left compared to the Japanese fleet of 300.

The admiral has an enormous amount of stress on his shoulders. He has to rally his men to wage war in these hopeless odds and he has to come up with a tactical strategy after his gargantuan turtle ship is destroyed by traitors among his ranks. In essence he teaches his men that they can turn their fear of dying into courage and face the ruthless Japanese pirate fleet with tenacity.

Choi Min-sik, having been known to play stoic gangsters proves that he is versatile in his craft and can play inspirational leaders too. He accurately depicts what a leader should be while helping to educate viewers about one of Korea’s biggest naval victories in history. Against all odds these brave Korean warriors stood against the imperial Japanese invaders and proved to their people that resilience and ambition are two very crucial allies in any conflict.

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