Hi readers: I first saw this film on Netflix and it made a big impression on me. Unfortunately it’s been a while. I was in the hospital when I watched it first, so some of the details are vague to me now. But it’s probably the first movie ever to be filmed about Khalkhin Gol.
Khalkhin-Gol: The forgotten battle that shaped WW2
In August 1939, just weeks before Hitler and Stalin invaded Poland, the Soviet Union and Japan fought a massive tank battle on the Mongolian border – the largest the world had ever seen.
Under the then unknown Georgy Zhukov, the Soviets won a crushing victory at the batte of Khalkhin-Gol (known in Japan as the Nomonhan Incident). Defeat persuaded the Japanese to expand into the Pacific, where they saw the United States as a weaker opponent than the Soviet Union. If the Japanese had not lost at Khalkhin Gol, they may never have attacked Pearl Harbor.
The Japanese decision to expand southwards also meant that the Soviet Eastern flank was secured for the duration of the war. Instead of having to fight on two fronts, the Soviets could mass their troops – under the newly promoted General Zhukov – against the threat of Nazi Germany in the West.
In terms of its strategic impact, the battle of Khalkhin Gol was one of the most decisive battles of the Second World War, but no-one has ever heard of it. Why?
The Korean movie industry scored a big one with My Way. The theme or setting is two kids, one Japanese, the other Korean competing as runners in pre-WWII Japan. But when the Japanese Kwantung Army rubs up against the Soviet Army in Manchuria both are sent there in time for the earliest tank battle of WWII era. [Western thought about when WWII began places the battle pre-WWII]
So when the USSR kicks the ass of Japan in the battle, the two are captured and sent to a Soviet POW camp. Eventually they’re allowed to volunteer for slave labor on the front where the USSR is fighting German troops. And they’re captured, allowed to fight for the Germans next, because Japan, of course, was an ally to Germany.
As D Day approaches they find themselves on the beaches of Normandy constructing shore defenses.
One hell of a movie.
I see by the clips on YouTube a lot of people agree with me. Some even say it’s the best movie they’ve ever seen. Maybe you’ll find it absorbing.
Thank you for your service, all you young Soviets, Japanese and Koreans.
Posted in 1940's, 2014, History
Tagged armor, culture, entertainment, Events, History, Japan, Khalkhin Gol, Korea, movies, senior citizens, society, sociology, WWII
Hi readers. I saw the entire movie, Attack the Gas Station 2, on Netflix and found it fascinating. It ain’t the same Korea I spent 14 months in back in 1963-’64. Hell, it ain’t even a 3rd world country anymore.
When this photo was taken near Camp Howze, Korea [Pong Il Chon], I can say with authority there was a rice paddy somewhere nearby where people toiled from daybreak to dark. Somewhere nearby men were carrying a-frames loaded with firewood several times their own weight. Probably somewhere in Korea there was affluence staying well hidden, but the ‘average’ Korean made a few dollars per month and most would never expect to be able to afford a bicycle anytime during their lives.
But several things impressed me about the Korean film. First, it’s the best photography I’ve seen in any of the foreign films I’ve watched on Netflix lately. Secondly, the characters are wealthy in the middle-class way US citizens, even the poor ones, are wealthy by standards of the 1960s.
Secondly, the kids are easily as stupid as US kids, but it’s a higher quality stupidity. I suppose it hasn’t had time to mature, to become as decadent as US kids manifest constantly in public. Stupidity of Korean kids has the quality of an over-ripe apple that hasn’t yet begun to rot.
And thirdly, the amazing wealth. Look at that gas station, the cars and the people driving them. The motorcycles those kids are riding and the clothes they’re wearing. Observe the body-fat. Those people might well be Americans in the better neighborhoods.
By comparison, consider another Netflix foreign film, this one from Russia. The Suit. Some Russian youngsters fall in love with a Gucci suit in a store window and the adventures they go through to acquire it. And what happens once they have it in their possession.
The Suit is a damned eye-opening good movie, well done and fun to watch, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Attack the Gas Station 2. The Russian kids are smarter, incidently, and not so wealthy.
Anyone who tells you different is wrong.
Posted in 2014, Adventure, America, Art
Tagged attack the gas station 2, culture, entertainment, Human Behavior, humor, korean, Life, lifestyle, movies, russian, senior citizens, society, sociology, the suit