Blu-ray Review: SECTOR 7

J Hurtado, Contributing Writer
From the director of the historical action drama May 18 and the writer of Tidal Wave (Haeundae) and Sex is Zero comes Korea's latest special effects extravaganza Sector 7! The only experience I have with Korean monster movies so far is Bong Joon-ho's The Host, but that's setting a pretty damned high bar, so I went into this one looking for an entertaining way to pass the time, and I got it. It is no great shakes, but I felt that it was a pretty decent way to spend about 100 minutes, and I don't regret it at all.

The film takes place entirely on an oil platform off the coast of Korea, in the titular Sector 7. This particular drilling operation seems to be a big bust, though, as they've not hit anything but rock after poking dozens of holes in the bottom on the sea. Enter Cha (Ha Ji-won), the leader of the crew, and one tough broad who is determined to find oil under this goddamned platform if it's the last thing she does. As the team follows her orders and continues their work, people begin to mysteriously end up dead on the platform, ratcheting up the internal tension even more as the crew assumes that their is now a murderer among them. Little do they know, at first, that the assassin is a gigantic jellyfish/slug monster that is pissed off and apparently impervious to damage. Only Cha, full of piss and vinegar, can save them, but will she manage before it's too late?

There's nothing new under the sun here. The location is novel, but that about it. I think that Sector 7 appeals to me simply because it gets in and gets out pretty quickly, which is a huge advantage for any Korean film, as they are notoriously long-winded. That being said, this film doesn't really stand up to critical scrutiny at all. Some of the CG is really obvious and hokey, and the monster looks like a slightly shinier version of the creature from The Host, and by all accounts the 3D was less than impressive. However, I saw this in 2D, and taken on its own merits, I had a lot of fun.

I am, however, admittedly in the minority. When I tweeted that I was sort of enjoying the film, my cohort, James Marsh, had this to say about the film:awful.jpg

The thing is, I can't really disagree with him, I think I just have a higher tolerance for schlock.

Sector 7 is no masterpiece, it's a big, dumb action horror film where a giant slug monster chases a bunch of nobodies around an oil drilling platform in the middle of the ocean. There's no discernible subtext, there's no real attempt to make the film realistic, it is what it is. The script isn't terribly clever, but I liked the action I saw, and even the ridiculous looking green shots of the characters zooming around on their motorcycles on this oil rig were fun in a goofy way.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that not everyone will love this, but some of you will certainly dig it. If you're only going to check out one Korean action flick on Blu-ray this summer, though, you might wait until August when Quick arrives, that's a more solid bet.

The Disc:

After witnessing the disaster that was Shout! Factory's Blu-ray of Accident, I was wary of what I'd get with this one, but thankfully Sector 7 is pretty sweet in all departments. My usual admonishment applies, though, I do not have a 3D capable home theater, so all of my comments refer solely to the 2D version of the film found on this disc. The image is pretty slick, the colors all pop, and there is plenty of fine detail to be found throughout the film. I was blown away by the impressive contrasty image that handled the numerous low light and night time sequences with ease. Good stuff here. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio is similarly awesome, and drops you right in the middle of the monster attacks with active surrounds and LFE. The disc also features an English dub, it sucks, as they always do.

There is only one decent extra on the disc, and that is a 30 minutes making of featurette. Unfortunately, after seeing the film, the director and cast and crew do end up sounding like blowhards with their expectations for the film, but oh well, I was entertained. One thing that was amusing was listening the DP talk about how stumped he was by the 3D technology. He probably could have kept that to himself.

I like big dumb monster movies, and I think this qualifies. It doesn't rank anywhere near the top, but it's short, bloody, and loud, and sometimes that's enough for me.


Special Features:
- 2D and 3D versions of the film on Blu-ray
- Making Of Featurette
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