Monday, December 12, 2011

Movie Review: Sector 7


Sector 7 is an underwater continental plateau somewhere between Japan and South Korea. These two nations are arguing about who gets to drill the oil that's supposed to be in there. It's a situation not unlike our own Spratly Islands issue. Because of the controversial location, you might think that the South Korean movie Sector 7 has some sort of insight in this touchy issue. It doesn't. What Sector 7 has is bad acting. And bad dialogues. And a bad story. And an awful awful CGI monster.

It's an Alien ripoff, with Ha Ji-won playing an engineer on an offshore oil rig. She's supposed to be the Korean Ripley. Except that she whines a lot and has a pretty boyfriend and great hair and acts like she's on a theater stage. Actually, all the characters act like they're on a theater stage. When the monster finally appears, fuck suspense, you see it in full glory. The characters are offed Ten Little Indians-style, until it's just our adorably boyish lead facing the behemoth. They battle toe-to-toe. Movie ends. Gimme my 90 minutes back.

All this points to the fact that Sector 7 didn't understand what made Alien great. Ripley was originally written as a guy and when they turned him into a woman, played by Sigourney Weaver, it worked. Here was a strong female character, something previously rarely seen in horror movies. She's vulnerable not because she's a woman but because she's human and the monster is Satan's gigantic penis given legs. And we root for her not because she's a cute tomboy but because, goddammit, we empathize with her. Also, Alien made us really uncomfortable. Ridley Scott had a preternatural knowledge of what will make our skin crawl and he used it: claustrophobia, xenophobia, virginitiphobia (that is, the fear of rape), etc. He also knew that we shouldn't get to see the monster in full. Sector 7 learned none of these fine points in the art of scaring the bejeezus out of people.

So, yeah, maybe South Koreans should stick to making romantic comedies. And North Koreans should stick to keeping North Korea the Best Korea.

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