Director: Kim Ji-Hun
Writer: Kim Hwi, Yun Je-Gyun, Kim Ji-Hun
Cast: Ha Ji-Won, Ahn Seong-Gi, Oh Ji-Ho, Lee Han-Wi, Park Cheol-Min, Song Sae-Byuk, Cha Ye-Ryeon, Park Jeong-Hak, Park Young-Soo
Running Time: 112 min.
“Sector 7” is the latest film penned by Yun Je-Gyun, the screenwriter behind 2009’s “Tidal Wave,” and if you’ve seen that Korean disaster epic you can probably predict the biggest problem with “Sector 7”: the pacing. “Tidal Wave” spent over an hour building up its character dynamics and teary-eyed melodrama before hitting the audience with an unrelenting deluge of CG spectacle. “Sector 7” works the much the same way; although it’s a true blue monster movie, the creature doesn’t make an appearance until over an hour into things. Most of the film is devoted to the rivalries and antics of a crew of oil riggers out in the middle of the Pacific.
This wouldn’t be an issue except that our characters are little more than thinly-drawn stereotypes: there’s the tough but cute heroine nicknamed “Hard-Ass”; the sniveling, accident-prone nerd; the stern and withdrawn female scientist; the unseasoned rookie who has yet to prove himself to the others; and so on and so on. The way these relationships play out feels entirely predictable – we’ve seen it all before – and once the monster does show up, “Sector 7” turns into little more than an endless series of chase sequences and false climaxes, as the sharp-toothed beastie from below proves to be harder to kill than the Terminator.
This is not a good film but (and this might be a big “but”) you’ll probably find something to enjoy if, like me, you’re a huge fan of foreign monster movies. Whether we’re talking about a slice of pop art like “The Host” or special effects-driven schlock like this, I’m always entertained by the way other countries assemble a creature feature. On the plus side, the production values on “Sector 7” are sky high, with a crisp color palette and smooth camerawork. And the picture quality on Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray release is literally stunning at times.
It’s just a shame that so much money and effort was expended on a ho-hum script that doesn’t do anything new with the monster movie template. There’s nothing here that’s as intense or knee-shaking as the raptors-in-the-kitchen sequence from “Jurassic Park” and that was almost 20 years ago. Even the gorehounds will go home unhappy since there’s very little red stuff on display here.
Although he doesn’t have many films to his name, director Kim Ji-Hun is clearly talented when it comes to handling expensive and effects-laden blockbusters. His next film is a 3D Korean riff on “The Towering Inferno” called “The Tower.” I’m sure he’s going to bring the visual spectacle to the project, I’m just hoping he delivers more thrills than in “Sector 7.”
HKFanatic’s Rating: 6/10