Thursday, December 25, 2014

Sector 7 [Chilgwanggu] (2011)

Come ON, people. The movie wasn't that bad.

The Review (kind of. less a review and more of a... stream of consciousness, ranty kind of a thing.)

So I read, or at least skimmed, *fourteen* reviews for this thing. Thirteen of those reviews panned the film and one said "eh, it was okay."

I don't understand. Sure, it had plot holes. And the CGI wasn't top notch. It wasn't a perfect movie by anyone's standards. But c'mon, the damn thing was fun to watch. You know, that often-overlooked-by-critics aspect of the filmatic experience, the part where you just sit back and enjoy watching it?

This movie was: Fun. To. Watch. So everybody should just get off their dang hidey-horses-what-the-hell-is-a-hidey-horse and let this movie do what it was meant to do--entertain for an hour and forty five minutes.

Heck, I watched it twice. No, wait. I actually watched it three times. Huh. It really wasn't that good of a movie.

Why did I watch this thing three times?

Let's see. First time was on Netflix, when the movie came out. It was in Korean with English subs, but I had an old Roku that didn't support Netflix subtitles. Man, never underestimate the power of a good set of subtitles.

At any rate, I enjoyed it enough to want to watch it again, with a better idea of what was going on. I mean, I didn't need subtitles to get that a bunch of stranded oil rig workers were being picked off by a mutant brine shrimp looking thing. But I wanted to be a little more in the know than that.

So I set out to find it on one of the other online services. And I did find it. On Amazon, I think. But, the version I found was English dubbed.

The Beast.
Now, I hate watching foreign films when they've been dubbed into English. I could count on one hand the dubbed films I've seen that were done artfully enough to work at anything near the level of their original language with subtitles.

Though, now that I think, none are coming to mind. But I'm sure they exist. I've compared many a film, over the years, because whenever I'm unlucky enough to catch a dubbed film, I make a point of finding it again in a subtitled version. If possible.

And I definitely remember being surprised a few times, when a dubbed version of some film or other happened to stand up fairly well against the subtitled version. So, if I remembered them I'd count them. And I'm sure I'd only need one hand.

I digress.

Anyway, the English dubbed version gave me a better idea of what was going on, but the dubbing (predictably) sucked. I could tell I was missing out on all sorts of nuances the original actor's deliveries would've brought to the table.

That's the thing with dubs--even the most poorly acted scenes are going to come across with more heart and verve than almost any dubbed scene. How could they not? The actors are all actually on set, feeling the energy, getting direction, and they're invested in the project--they've signed up for the whole deal, make or break. Right? As opposed to a bunch of voice actors (if we're lucky, they're voice actors) schlepping in for a one day job? I mean, I'm sure many do their best to get in character, as much as possible, but the two settings just can't compare.

Ugh. Still digressing.

So I had decided that whatever I'd gleaned from the two versions I'd already seen was all I was gonna get. I certainly wasn't inclined to go out and buy a DVD to see a movie I'd already watched twice, subs or no subs. So that was the end of it.

Until last week. I don't even remember what made me think of it, but I did. Oh, I know what made me think of it. I finally replaced that old first generation Roku XDS with a shiny new third generation Roku LT. And let me tell you, this new bottom of the line third gen SO outperforms what was a top of the line first gen.

Ack. MORE digression. (Make it stop!)

Anyway, for whatever reason, setting up the new Roku pulled that three year old memory up to the surface and I decided to see if Sector 7 was still on Netflix. AND IT WAS.

The beast, after being shot, stabbed and burned to a crisp.
But still menacing our heroine.
So I watched it again, for the third time, and I am here to tell you it was the most enjoyable viewing yet--original Korean dialogue with English subs.

And now I'm wondering why I didn't just watch the Netflix version on a laptop, way back when. I'm pretty sure Netflix subs have always worked in a browser. Could be wrong, though.

I'm not sure why this film has been so maligned by the entire planet. I know it had a lot of expectations built up around it, by filmmakers and fans alike.

I remember reading about it prior to release: bigger budget, 3-D, respected director. I was excited to see it--I'd seen The Host, like everyone else--and was looking forward to another like offering.


Maybe that was it. This film was fun to watch, but it didn't stack up to The Host. The Host was a great film. But then I don't expect every genre film I see to match the best of the lot. Maybe the world at large was expecting it to match up.

Dunno. Anyway, you should watch it if you get a chance. It's not so bad. Pretty good, even.

That's all I really wanted to say.


Ah. It's been so long since I pronounced a brain count. Feels good.

The Trailer

The Details

Directed by: Kim Ji-hoon

Produced by: Yoon Je-kyoon

Written by: Yoon Je-kyoon and Kim Hwi

Ha Ji-won as Cha Hae-joon
Oh Ji-ho as Kim Dong-soo
Ahn Sung-ki as Captain Lee Jeong-man
Park Chul-min as Do Sang-goo
Song Sae-byeok as Go Jong-yoon
Lee Han-wi as Jang Moon-hyeong
Cha Ye-ryun as Park Hyeon-jeong

Running time: 104 minutes
Country: South Korea