The Admiral (Roaring Currents) is a Korean film depicting an epic battle of Admiral Yi Sunshin, a famous war admiral in Korean history. The film follows the story of the Battle of Myeongnyang, where Admiral Yi defeated a Japanese fleet of over 300 ships with only 13 ships of his own. Based on this unreal story from Korean history, the film is exciting and incredibly entertaining… once the action actually starts. Unfortunately, it takes a while to get there.
When I was talking to a family member about this film, I advised them that if they watch it, they should probably fast forward through the first hour or so. I understand that the information relayed to the audience throughout this section of the film is important for character development and foreshadowing and whatnot. But seriously, nothing happens. It was bad enough that I completely tuned out and would have turned the film off if it had been just me watching it.
However, if you make it through the first hour, to when the battle starts, you are in for a trip. The film really shows off not only Admiral Yi’s intelligence and understanding of the sea he found himself fighting in, as well as his enemy’s mindset, but it also shows off some really cool battle technology of the day (1597). The coolest of this technology: Admiral Y’s turtle ship, a battle ship with a covered deck which made it impossible for enemies to shoot the men standing on the deck with arrow. The ship was also near impossible for an enemy to board.
The battle scenes are definitely worth the watch. The hour leading up to those scenes is just something the viewer has to suffer through.