Also reminiscent of everything from James Cameron’s The Abyss to Stephen Sommers’ Deep Rising, but with multiple mentions of feng shui, the Korean sci-fi film takes place on a real-life ocean drilling rig, where work is on hold due to a stuck drill bit. Nevertheless, tough girl Ha Ji-won (Tidal Wave) is determined to find oil.
Instead, the crew finds a big ol’ creature invading its space, after encountering goo they mistake for human semen. Rather than hide the monster for a while, director Kim Ji-hun just shows it all, in every inch of its CGI non-glory: kinda like a worm with legs and a H.R. Giger-esque head from which spiked tentacles emerge that loop around characters and toss them about like rag dolls. So much for suspense!
As if equally unconcerned with originality, the script also has the crew members compare their scars, à la Jaws. Spoiling an otherwise straightforward treatment of the story is the Achilles heel of many an Asian genre film: that one guy who acts like a cartoon. Here, it’s a lovesick nerd who looks like the Korean Bill Hader; at least I think so, whereas his peers say, “He looks like a dried anchovy.”
Sector 7 has one thing going for it until the Fake Dog-Worm Thing appears: a decent use of 3-D. (Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray offers both 3-D and 2-D versions.) Even when viewed flat, Ji-hun’s utilization of depth of field is apparent. With the rig a maze of stairwells, girders and pipes — and the inside a shadowy knot of hallways — the setting is the kind that begs for such use.
It’s a shame 10 billion won (that’s $8.7 million to you and me) couldn’t buy the filmmakers a sharp script to do it justice. Not that America can do a creature-on-rig movie any better.
For a Shout! Factory slice of genre goodness from the Far East, go with the also-new, but highly recommended Accident. —Rod Lott