Based on real events, the aforementioned spy is a South Korean Navy Lieutenant named Jang Hak-soo (Lee Jung-jae), who is deep within enemy territory, undertaking the covert operation ‘X-Ray’ in a bid to provide the UN, and in particular, Douglas MacArthur (Liam Neeson) with vital information about the North Koreans, to ensure that Operation Chromite can be pulled off, and give a victory to the underdog in the devastating Battle of Incheon. However once the unit’s cover is blown it becomes a race against time to get the job done, with all of their lives – and millions of others – desperately on the line.
Unrelenting from the offset, Operation Chromite offers a pure sense of entertainment, but lacks heavily on the emotional front, and that’s not for the want of trying, as profundity is vied for, and yet is hard to adhere to. The visual experience is a rewarding one, certainly, but the conflict sequences feel too fast-paced and it can be a challenge to keep on top of the action. Conversely, we then have to witness a handful of slo-mo shots which pose equally as many issues, just for completely opposite reasons.
Liam Neeson takes something of a backseat in this endeavour, but has a myriad of quite remarkable one-liners, a whole career’s worth in one feature, and that’s just in a mere handful of scenes. They’re emblematic of a film that has little commitment to realism, and again while this is far from a pre-requisite, given the film wants to evoke poignancy and an emotional response from the viewer, it’s a challenge to do when riddled with cliché. Talking of which, the music is horribly contrived and dictates how the viewer must feel at any given moment without a smattering of subtlety. The hackneyed victory song plays when things are going well, and a horribly melancholic piece when things aren’t.
If Neeson wasn’t in this film, chances are, we wouldn’t have to sit through it, as it would be unlikely to secure distribution in territories outside of its home nation. So thanks a bunch mate.