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Film / The Battleship Island

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The Battleship Island is a 2017 South Korean film directed by Ryoo Seung-wan. It is set during the last days of World War II.

A large number of Koreans are either drafted or conned by the Japanese into working on the small mining island of Hashima, under appalling conditions.

Lee Kang-ok is a musician who planned to travel to Japan with his daughter. He ends up doing his best to please the Japanese in order to protect her. Park Moo-young is a member of the Korean independence movement who infiltrates the island in order to rescue an older man being held captive there. Choi Chil-sung is a violent man who seems to be from a Korean mafia. Oh Mal-nyeon is a comfort woman who has already experienced terrible things with the Japanese in China.

They try to survive as they can. Meanwhile, Allied bombers are striking Japan, including Hashima island.


This film provides examples of:

  • Bad People Abuse Animals: The director kills a bug with apparent pleasure.
  • Bittersweet Ending: the Korean Laborers managed to escape, but the only surviving major characters in the film are Moo-Young and So-Hee. Moo Young's mission to free Yoo Hak Chul was revealed to be pointless since he was in league with the Japanese and wants to flee to America with the Laborers' money being spent on himself and So-Hee has no family anymore since her father died while escaping.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Park Moo-young is shown to conceal a bladed hook a very long time before he has to use it.
    • A miner has the habit of licking dynamite sticks and to carry them with him.
    • Hashima island is in Nagasaki prefecture.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Several Korean characters are this, such as foremen of the mining company.
  • Advertisement:
  • Company Town: A mining company seems to own the island. Workers are informed that everything they need, such as food, has been paid by the company and will be taken from their wages.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Choi Chil-sung is very violent but not too bad.
  • The Mole: While there are other Koreans who sell themselves to the Japanese, Yoo Hak Chul, the person Moo Young is trying to break out with, stands out because was revealed to be in league with Shimazaki and embezzles the Laborer's money by not giving them salaries.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The miners work in an underwater coal mine. It features the usual dangers of coal mines plus flooding.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Many Koreans are killed or injured by Allied bombers. Taken Up to Eleven later as someone says that many Koreans live in Nagasaki.
  • La Résistance: The Korean independence movement.
  • Sex Slave: Koreans are forced into two different kinds of jobs. Women don't work in the mine.
  • Together in Death: Gil Sung and Mal-Nyeon.
  • Too Desperate to Be Picky: Some miners lick dynamite sticks, claiming it tastes sweet. Might not count as Edible Ammunition.


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