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A rare martial arts film from North Korea, this film proves that when it comes to providing fight scenes, the language is global.

Set during the Korean War in the 1950’s, a group of military officers in training have finally been given their assignment. They are to find the camp belonging to the Dragon Special Forces, their arch rivals and cripple the base and stop the enemy general. The captain (Kim Jeong-Woo) of the squad knows that not everyone will survive the mission, but will do whatever it takes for the glory of their country.

The squad also learns that the army has planted a female agent, Un Ha (Kim Hye-Son) codename “Balaustine”, as an undercover officer named Yong Mi. En route for the first contact to Un Ha, the plan is thwarted when Kil Nam (Cha Sung-Chol), a compassionate soldier finds himself protecting a young girl harassed by members of the Dragon Special Forces. At the local café, a fight between the army and their enemy forces Un Ha to meet the soldiers at the rally point. She intends to find out where the headquarters of the Dragon Special Forces are located. When her cover is blown, she narrowly escapes but is shot in the process. When she reveals the location, the army sets out for a final assault.

The film is a hybrid of war film, spy film, and martial arts action film. Co-directed by Jung Ki-Mo and Kim Eung-Suk, the film is quite an oddity in the sense that the film was made and glamorizes North Korea as the heroes of the film. The plot is simple: military group, known in the film as the “Red Guerillas” because of their Communist nature must infiltrate the enemy (in this case it is obvious that the “enemy” is South Korea with them being called “Dragon Special Forces”) and of course, this being a war movie, not everyone survives.

The film will astound fans of martial arts cinema as the film has some very nice fight scenes. It is obvious that tae kwon do is the art used by both sides when it comes to hand-to-hand combat. The cast definitely have the necessary talent and skills in the art to unleash their kicking skills. Fans who love Hwang Jang-Lee’s bootwork will not be disappointed as some of his trademark moves are performed by members of the film’s cast. The only complaint that must be noted is despite some wirework, there is sometimes a few seconds of unnecessary undercranking when it comes to certain moves. However, overall the fight scenes nicely edited and shot using long shots and nearly overhead angles that enable the viewer to see tae kwon do used in military combat.

The bottom line is that if you just want to enjoy a good military martial arts film, then check out this rare film from North Korea. As they say, martial arts films have a global impact and ORDER NO. 27 delivers in the fight department.

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  • John Firth

    Ah, it’s up on Youtube. Saves hunting for it.