Home Movie Vault Disc Vault Coming Soon Join Our Mailing List Articles About Us Contest Soundtrack Books eStore
THE GUARDPOST aka G.P. 506 (Korea)

  Publicity Stills of
"The Guardpost"
(Courtesy of GV)

In Korea with English & Chinese Subtitles
Director: Gong Su-chang
Cast: Chun Ho-jin, Cho Hyun-jae, Lee Young-hoo, Chun Ho-jin, Lee Jeong-heon

RunTime: 2 hrs 2 mins
Released By: GV
Rating: M18
Official Website: http://www.gp-506.kr/

Opening Day: 9 October 2008


At the guard post at the DMZ, on a rainy night, 20 out of 21 soldiers in the platoon are found dead and one unconscious. A search party of 21 soldiers is sent in to investigate the case, but they are stranded at GP 506 as the road is closed, due to heavy rain. One of the search party members is a veteran military investigator starred by CHUN Ho-jin. An army general orders him, at his wife’s funeral, to retrieve the dead body of a first lieutenant YOO, who is in charge of GP 506 and a son of the Army Chief of Staff. He has to complete the mission by 6 o’clock the next morning. At the scene, he finds only 19 dead bodies, 1 survivor, and one is missing. Searching the maze-like guard post, they find another survivor, First Lieutenant YOO. The search party members start acting strangely, showing cold symptoms, and they don’t remember what they did at all. Now they have to solve the mystery and find the truth so as to make it out of the guard post. What happened here? What killed them? What did they see? A war of those who kill to survive is not over yet.

Movie Review:

Just so you know where I'm coming from, I've so far been a fan of military based investigative thrillers. From the likes of Courage Under Fire to even relatively mediocre efforts like the John Travolta vehicles Basic and The General's Daughter, I've been lapping them up ever since. From Asia, Korea's JSA (Joint Security Area) by Park Chan-wook remains one of my favourites too. Why the fascination?

I guess it all boils down to being curious at how the military's rigid chain of command can be subverted, or abused for the personal agendas of the various perpetrators in the movies. Orders are to be followed strictly, which sometimes present moral dilemmas for troops on the ground, or on the flipside, they are not adhered to, and therefore you'd have some other problems brewing over the horizon. While combining such elements with the horror genre is nothing new, writer-director Kong Su-chang brings us to one of the current hotspots in the world, Korea's De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) for his latest movie since R-Point.

To some, this might seem to be just transplanting his earlier R-Point from Vietnam to the Korean DMZ, but it's anything but a rehash. For starters, having it set in the DMZ brings forth some sense of realism and danger, given that it still exists today, and technically the Koreas are still at war, although the DMZ remains a no man's land at the moment. But in this story, Kong Su-chang utilizes some of the unique characteristics of the deployed soldiers at the Zone, to conjure an intense investigative drama filled with plenty of situations where you'll find yourself at the edge of your seat.

As part of protocol, each platoon gets rotated to perform their duties at the frontline, and in such guard posts facing the DMZ, their tour of duty lasts 3 months, where it's tit-for-tat action, ever ready to battle, being issued live ammunition with shoot to kill rules of engagement. The Guard Posts (GP) are built like a reinforced labyrinth, compartmentalized and quite claustrophobic with its meandering narrow corners, and dimly lit corridors, making it perfect to spring some surprises when the going calls for it. While what happens in the GP stays in the GP, there's a system put in place where GPs have to keep in constant communication with the HQ, otherwise contingency plans will be kicked in.

The story follows a platoon being called upon to investigate the non-responding GP 506, and when they arrive, they were shocked to see a man soaked in blood, wielding an axe while everyone else around him were fatally maimed and killed. Through a series of flashbacks, the pieces of the jigsaw get put into place, although it does take some iterations in time before the characters get just a whiff of a clue just what is happening around them.

Fans of gore will find ample opportunities to rejoice (!) as this film drips copious amounts of blood on screen, and feature some unflinching moments of dismemberment, and killing in cold blood. It has some dalliances with outright supernatural horror, and though it does lapse into the tried-and-tested rationale, don't let that get to you with the "same old" feeling as what really matters here is the slick delivery. For some, the flashbacks which come without warning might serve to confuse, given everyone's a soldier and straddling two timelines. But you'll soon find your bearings, so don't let these jump cuts be a dampener from what is essentially a taut thriller.

Although it's set many miles away, the issue of "white horses" in the military also applied here, as there were fleeting contemplation and discussions as to potential cover-ups should they do something wrong, so as not to tarnish their image, or the image of their fathers. It provided somewhat well needed pause in the calm of a storm, before all hell breaks loose in the last act. The front set up the mystery, the middle section got a little bogged with going back in time for some necessary background, while the last act was a sprint to the finishing line.

Guard Post despite its run time of two hours, does however leave some key questions unanswered (and by Hollywood standards, means room for sequels), but it serves up quite a bloody visual feast for the eyes, and definitely not for the squeamish!

Movie Rating:

(Sentry duty will never be the same again when your partner starts to drool thick mucus)

Review by Stefan Shih


. Hansel & Gretel (2007)

. The Last Breath (2007)

. To Sir With Love (2006)

. Cinderella (2006)

. The Host (2006)

DISCLAIMER: Images, Textual, Copyrights and trademarks for the film and related entertainment properties mentioned
herein are held by their respective owners and are solely for the promotional purposes of said properties.
All other logo and design Copyright©2004- , movieXclusive.com™
All Rights Reserved.