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The Admiral: Roaring Currents Review!

Discussion in 'PiratesAhoy! News' started by Thagarr, May 6, 2015.

  • by Thagarr, May 6, 2015 at 5:38 AM
  • Thagarr

    Thagarr Pining for the Fjords! Staff Member Administrator Creative Support Storm Modder News Gatherer Hearts of Oak Donator

    Jan 1, 1970
    CNC Machine Operator
    Steeler Country
    I have been chomping at the bit to see this movie ever since I found out about it. The original title for this film was Battle of Myeongnyang, which they should have kept in my opinion, but the film still works quite well under it's western title. The prospect of seeing Korean Turtle ships in action on the big screen had me very excited. I really do not know that much about Korean history, but I remember fighting Turtle ships while I was playing Age of Empires II. I always played as Vikings (I know all of you are absolutely shocked by this) and nothing could stand against my fleet of fully upgraded Viking longboats with fire arrows, except Turtle ships.

    I pre-ordered the Blu-ray disk back in March and it finally arrived late last week, so I baked me a pizza Saturday night and put it in my Blue-ray player. The first thing that struck me was there was no previews, commercials or advertisements, just a simple main menu with play and setup options. I was expecting to have to watch a subtitled Korean audio version, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the fact that there was a full 5.1 English language audio! The dubbing in this movie is quite good and you can't tell that they are speaking anything other than English unless you specifically look hard for it. Already the disk was worth the $18 pre-order price!

    The first hour of the movie sets up the back story, the year is 1597 and Japanese Imperial forces are in the process of invading Korean during the Joseon Dynasty. Korean Admiral Yi Sun-sin has been disgraced and tortured by his own king for crimes that he did not commit. Close to death, Yi is saved from death by his friends and supporters at court. He is put in charge of the remaining Korean fleet of 12 Panokseon and one Turtle ship. The invading Japanese fleet consists of over 300 vessels, about 133 warships and about 200 supporting vessels.

    For those of you who are not aware, Turtle ships are based on the flat-bottom Korean Panokseon boats. The Turtle ships had many distinctive features that set them apart from other ships. The most obvious being an added plating covering the main deck that resembled the shell of a turtle, hence the name. There has been some dispute as to whether this plating was iron or wooden, the plating was ringed with arrow or musket slits and covered in metal spikes which strongly discouraged the idea of boarding.

    Another distinctive feature was the Dragons head on the prow of the ship. The mouth of the dragon could be used in several different ways, it could breath fire, emit a sulfurous cloud of concealing smoke, a poisonous cloud of deadly smoke, and it also could concealed a cannon. Turtle ships could also carry five different types of cannon, 11 on each side, plus two bow, in addition to the one in the Dragons head, and two in the stern. They also carried a huge anchor on the prow that they also used as a ram. These vessels were fast and maneuverable using sails and oars. They had a fighting crew of about 60 men, and a compliment of about 70 oarsmen. They were just as effective whether they were attacking or defending. They were floating fortresses, and almost invincible.

    Because they were hopelessly outnumbered, the Korean king orders Admiral Yi to disband what is left of the fleet and take the sailors to fight with his soldiers in a last stand against the Japanese invaders on land. Admiral Yi has other ideas however, and is determined to fight, and win against impossible odds. Yi is haunted by his past, friends and comrades that have fallen by his side in earlier battles. He also must face the fear, and treachery, of those under his command. This film pulls no punches and shows just how brutal the invasion was, and at times is not an easy movie to watch.

    The second half of the movie is all naval combat, and I must say, it is quite awesome! The special effects for this movie are very well done and everything looks quite realistic. Weapons, cannon, armor are all correct for the period. To insure complete victory, the Japanese Emperor sends a brutal warlord, known for his cruelty and called a pirate king by his own forces, to lead the invasion fleet. The film makers do a brilliant job of showing the strategic chess match between these two equally matched adversaries. Here is a small example :

    There are a couple of weak points with this movie, at a couple of points, the acting is almost painful to watch. These scenes are few and far between however, and for the most part the film is very well acted and the script is very well written. I can't stress enough though, that where this film really shines is during the last hour of non stop naval combat! While the film does take a liberty with physics here an there, for the most part it is all very believable, very authentic, and very well done! IMDB gives it a rating of 7.1, which I think is pretty accurate overall. If I were just to rate the last hour, it would be a solid 9.5! If you are interested at all in naval combat, you will love this movie!
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
    Pieter Boelen and Hylie Pistof like this.


Discussion in 'PiratesAhoy! News' started by Thagarr, May 6, 2015.

  1. Pieter Boelen
    Watched this movie just now. Interesting, but quite odd as well. I can't say I quite understand it all.
    Not sure if the strategies employed would have worked out very well in real life.

    And the speed of the man-propelled ships is quite amazing; makes me wonder why we ever bothered inventing sails and engines! :rofl

    Anyway, the title "Roaring Currents" is quite appropriate for the film. Plus it does actually sound cool too. :cheeky
  2. Red Back Dude
    Gotta track this down so i can watch it.
  3. Thagarr
    The Battle of Myeongnyang was quite well documented, for the time, on both sides. Though there are some differences in accounts, they both agree on the main facts. The currents in the straits were Yi chose to make his stand are quite unique. Fast moving tidal currents flow in one direction at about 10 knots, and later change direction to flow the opposite way in about 3 hour intervals. Yi used those currents to his greatest advantage, and the Japanese were not at all familiar with the conditions in the straits.

    Part of the reason the remaining Korean fleet was reluctant to fight was because they had earlier been led into a massacre by the Admiral who replaced Yi in the Battle of Chilchonryang. Yi had built up a proper navy and new how to use it, his successor did not and only 10 ships out of total force of 166 survived. After that massacre, Yi was reinstated as Admiral in a disparate attempt stop the reinforcing Japanese fleet.

    The naval tactics used are certainty quite different from European tactics, but they were no less effective. The Japanese did not have many ships that used cannon, partly because they preferred to board enemy vessels and overwhelm with sheer numbers of warriors than to fight it out at a distance. The plating of the Turtle ships was a direct response to this, that that was Yi's doing as well. I meant to include a link to the Wikipedia article on the battle, but forgot to include it, I have corrected the article, and you can find that link HERE!

    While there were probably some liberty's taken in certain points of this film, the basic history is quite accurate and match up with historical accounts. The flat bottom keels of the Panokseon did indeed help make them quite manoeuvrable. I am not sure just what there top speed was, but I am sure a lot of the speed that you saw in the film was in part do to the 10 knot currents of the straits. Also, the position and use if the oars is quite a bit different from European vessels, and had been used in this way in the Orient for quite some time.

    Pieter Boelen likes this.
  4. Pieter Boelen
    The use of the current was indeed really quite clever. But how about the "ramming your 12 ships into several hundreds" part?
    If you've got cannons, that is something I wouldn't quite like to do myself.
    And what was with throwing their deck cannons down into the hold and then mounting them there again in mid-battle? :wp
  5. Thagarr
    As I said, there were some creative liberty's taken in the film. I think you will find that with almost every film ever made though.

    Yi's flagship was the only one in the currents for the start of the battle, the other 11 came in later and not all at once. The flat bottom keels of the Panokseon made them very manoeuvrable and they could handle those currents far better than the V shaped keels of the Japanese. His choices were to run and let the reinforcing Japanese land on the mainland and decimate the capitol. or he could fight out in the open and let the Japanese surround, board and capture them all. Instead he chose to stand and fight in the straight where he had the advantage because he knew the currents and knew how they would effect the Japanese vessels. I think he made the correct decision! :onya
    Pieter Boelen likes this.
  6. Pieter Boelen
    Most likely! :woot

    Also, did you understand what happened to the Turtle Ship? Did it actually "come back from the dead" at the end to kick some ass?
    That confused me quite a bit. :confused:
    Thagarr likes this.
  7. Ashinokami
    Another creative liberty must have been "Sent by the emperor" part, as Korean wars was a pet-project of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, that held titles subordinate to emperor, but in reality emperor was but a puppet and didn't have much (if at all) to do with Korean invasion.
    Thagarr likes this.
  8. Thagarr
    They carried those heavy anchors on the bow specifically for ramming, having a flat bottom is a big advantage for that as well. As for the Turtle ship reappearing, I think that was more creative license by the film makers. I think they really wanted to show the Turtle ship in action, I know that is one thing I really wanted to see!
  9. Pieter Boelen
    There was a "rumour" of the turtle ship being part of the final large battle, which seemed very odd to me and I didn't actually notice that.
    Then afterwards the turtle ship did appear out of the fog, but there she was never seen doing all that much.
    Just blast into the camera before the screen went black. Did I miss something there?
  10. Mask
    Interestingly, Extra History is actually doing a series on Admiral Yi soon. After the current series on Justinian and Theodora, and after Deus Vult (the First Crusade).
  11. Mask
    Mm, this is true. Was it possible that the Koreans at the time didn't grasp this (if the film portrayed it as the Korean understanding rather than the actuality)? I'm not quite familiar enough with the history to say.
  12. Ashinokami
    All's possible. Extra Credits by the way did their History miniseries on Sengoku period too, there was a bit on how that conflict came about.
  13. Mask
    Mm, the Sengoku Jidai series was good. It's good that they'll be able to continue it with a series on Admiral Yi (which ought to cover much of the invasion of Korea at large).

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