Sector 7 (Blu-ray / DVD)
Directed by Kim Ji-Hoon
If Sector 7 were a Syfy original movie, I’d be praising the film for its above average special effects (by Syfy standards, not big screen standards by which it still falls short) and bemoaning that they were wasted on such an unimaginative monster movie. But Sector 7 isn’t a Syfy movie. It’s a big budget South Korean blockbuster touted as that country’s first ever homegrown 3D and IMAX production. That it was produced by the same outfit behind The Host makes it all the more disappointing. Take all the rich family dynamics, the sympathetic heroine, the quirky comedy, the unique monster, the thrilling creature attack scenes, and pretty much everything else that made The Host special and replace it with the most generic Alien riff imaginable about a deep-sea monster loose on an oil rig that can only be stopped by a tough chick on a motorcycle, and this is what you get.
It would not be an exaggeration to describe the script for Sector 7 as being so barebones The Host monster could have vomited it up. The plot has the crew of a South Korean oil rig in a section of the ocean called “Sector 7” preparing to shut down due to their inability to find oil. Their goal of South Korean energy independence has only led to the discovery of a new form of life that could possibly help them in their quest. Except it grows into what looks like a walking whale carcass with huge fangs, flailing tentacle appendages, and a projectile tongue. The only thing that can stop this unstoppable monster is a young woman doing motorcycle stunts on an oil rig.
The makers of Sector 7 were clearly more interested in making something distinctly Hollywood in nature. They only succeeded at making the sort of outdated sci-fi monster movie the likes of which should have come out around the time of Leviathan and DeepStar Six, both of which I would argue are more enjoyable.
From what I've read online, Sector 7 was a huge flop in its home country. I can see why. Shout Factory has released the movie in the US to DVD and Blu-ray in both 2D and 3D. I assure you it doesn’t matter which format you watch it in as everything about it is strictly 1D.
The only character with any real personality is the heroine, and her personality does little to make her likable for much of the film. Surly at times, whining about how she's going to find oil the rest… Oh, dear lord, she is going to find oil. She has a nose for oil and she knows there's oil in this area. Her repeated declarations as to how she is going to find oil - BY GOD, SHE WILL FIND OIL! - border on parody. It reminded me of Tony Jaa in Tom Yung Goong screaming about wanting his elephant back in that regard.
I’ve read that actress Ha Ji-Won has been referred to as Korea’s answer to Angelina Jolie because she does her own stunts. I never got an Angelina Jolie vibe from her, but looking at her and how she carries herself in the film, if you told me she was her country’s answer to Milla Jovovich, I’d definitely believe you. If for whatever reason there were to ever be an American remake of Sector 7, I’d be stunned if Jovovich wasn’t cast as the lead.
The first half is all talk. The second half is all action. Before the monster ever rears its ugly head, viewers have to sit through forty solid minutes of uninteresting characters droning on about matters that do very little to make you like them or even hold your attention. Once the monster goes on its rampage through the hallways, laboratories, and up on the deck of the rig, things do pick up a bit, not as much as I had hoped and certainly not enough to salvage the movie.
In true Hollywood form, more thought went into the action than went into why the action is taking place. Some it kills immediately, others it flails about forever, and a few it takes off with to do what with we never find out. The nature of the monster holds some intrigue; yet, the generic-to-a-fault script has no interest in exploring it. An oil rig, a tough chick on a motorcycle, and a monster - that’s it.
Sector 7 exists to be nothing more than a South Korean attempt to recreate big budget Hollywood special effects-driven spectacle, and even on that basic level it underwhelms (as does the making-of featurette, the only extra on the disc other than a trailer). This is coming from the guy that gave Dragon Wars a glowing review.
2 out of 5
2 out of 5