Wednesday, March 10, 2010


It snowed today. It wasn't the 70 year storm of January. But there was a pleasant couple of centimeters that makes everything white, beautiful, and a bit chilly.

What better weather to stay inside and watch a movie.

What an inspired movie it was! It was inspired by true events that were in turn inspired by a movie.

OK...let's play a little game...if you could pick any American war movie to base an expedition on...what would it be?

Today, Korea is "technically" at war with itself. While the North and the South declared an armistice 50 some odd years ago, they are not officially at peace. Occasionally this will lead to minor clashes at sea, tunnels dug across the border or the random launching of rockets.

But it wasn't always this calm. Back in 1968, the North Koreans sent a commando unit into Seoul in order to assassinate then dictator/president of South Korea Park Chung Hee. The South Koreans decided to respond in kind.

Did you think of a movie yet? I gave you a hint...the movie came out before 1968...

The South Korean government selected about 3 dozen death row inmates, staged mock executions, and shipped them off to an uninhabited island (which is near the world's most highly rated airport: Incheon Airport) called Silmido.

Under the watchful eye of a hardened commander, these hardened criminals became hardened soldiers under dangerous conditions. How extreme...if 20% of your recruits don't survive...the training might be considered slightly lethal.

These death-row-soldiers had one purpose. They were to assassinate North Korea's leader Kim Il Sung. After which, they would receive their freedom.

This is where the similarities between Unit 684 and the movie "The Dirty Dozen" end. (Was that your movie?) You see, the Dirty Dozen got to kill many Nazis and some members of the unit actually survived.

Unit 684 started their mission, but their mission was stopped en route after the top brass got cold feet. In the years between the assassination attempt, the tensions had eased between the Koreas. The countries wanted to work towards peaceful reconciliation.

So the project was ordered terminated.

And by terminated I mean, the orders were to kill everyone in Unit 684 and erase all traces of the project.

Instead of being slaughtered like sheep, these honed assassins, overwhelmed their guards, and commandeered a bus headed towards the Blue House in Seoul (home of the president...think the White House...with different paint...)

The South Korean army eventually managed to successfully barricade them. Outnumbered and surrounded, the surviving member of 684 committed suicide...

The official press releases from 1971 indicate a death squad unleashed by the North. It wasn't until very recently that the documents surrounding the incident were declassified. Which promptly spawned a movie.

Which promptly spawned a blog post...

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