Epically restless, loud and with a gore-sentimentality ratio John Woo might envy, the South Korean '30s-'40s-era war extravaganza "My Way" is combative to a thematic and stylistic extreme. It details the competitive tug of war between a haughty Japanese scion Tatsuo (Joe Odagiri) living in occupied Korea, and the servant family's son Jun-shik (Jang Dong-gun), who each excel at marathon running. Their road from rivals to friends is told over numerous lengthy, Cuisinart-edited scenes of chaotic struggle, small-world reunions and preposterously whisker-thin escapes.
It starts with a riot at the 1939 Olympic tryouts after Jun-shik is illegitimately denied first place, followed by Imperial Japan's suicidal approach to fighting the Soviets on the Mongolian border, with Tatsuo as a colonel, Jun-shik as a forced conscript. Time together as tortured POWS leads to a forced date alongside the Nazis at Normandy Beach. Director and co-writer Kang Je-kyu, commandeering South Korea's most expensive production ever, engineers one long pummel session of elaborate CGI effects, shaky battle cinematography and trial-by-fire heroics, but the nonstop adversity lacks any real sense of danger. Or, for that matter, emotional punch. Why these two long-distance runners keep each other alive should be of front-and-center concern. Instead, "My Way" is mostly an endurance test.