Sector 7 Blu-ray Review
Directed by Ji-hun Kim
Written by Je-gyun Yun
2011, Region A (NTSC) 112 minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray released on June 19th, 2012
Ha Ji-won as Sea June (aka Hard Ass)
Sung-Kee Anh as Jeong-Man
Ji-ho Oh as Dong Soo
Hwang In-Hyuk as Captain
Deep in the waters of Sector 7, off the coast of Korea, lies the promise of national fuel independence and the workers aboard a giant oil rig are determined to find it. After months of futile attempts, the program is being shut down, but a woman with the nickname “Hard-Ass” refuses to let it go, despite the fact that her uncle, who works for the company has been brought in to see everyone home. She convinces him to let them stay just a little longer and the project is immediately rewarded with the discovery they have long sought.
The depths of the ocean are home to all sorts of life unseen on the surface, including luminescent pixies that upon closer inspection are creatures with two distinct traits. Their blood is highly flammable and may be the source for the energy the world needs, but they also have the ability to grow at an alarming rate into monstrous killing machines hell-bent on destruction. It is no secret that bad things will come from this new addition to the rig and its delicious crew.
The monster does what monsters do best and soon our skeleton crew is made up of…well, you can guess. What is initially thought to be a fellow crew member suffering from cabin fever with an urge to kill is quickly revealed to be the creature that all but the staff knew was hiding aboard the rig. Everyone tries their best to stay alive long enough to figure out what to do with the situation, but nine out of ten fail and it all comes down to Hard-Ass. Luckily she is up for the challenge and comes equipped with a motorcycle for an extended third act chase across the rig.
Sector 7 is an old fashioned monster movie with all the toys of the 21st century digital filmmaker competing for our affection. Director Kim Ji-hun (May 18) takes the kitchen-sink approach and throws everything he’s got at the screen with an enthusiasm that is welcome and necessary in the overly-familiar “old dark house” setting. The producers owe an extended thanks to Bong Joon-ho’s The Host for both reinvigorating Korean cinema and providing a blueprint for a bad-ass monster. Extensive use of green screen sets mixed with a hearty dose of CGI monster mayhem is more successful than not and the nimble script by Je-gyun Yun (Tidal Wave) keeps things jumping clear of close scrutiny for the majority of the running time.
The film is deeply reminiscent in tone to Neil Marshall’s Doomsday.The script lifts elements from such films as Aliens, Deep-Star Six, Armageddon, Leviathan and The Abyss, borrowing the best bits of each, but losing something in translation so audiences will simply be inspired to revisit these past titles. Much like Doomsday, this movie feels like the director is having a blast making the genre film of his teenaged dreams. Kim Ji-hun has created what is touted as the most expensive film in the history of Korean cinema and while it isn’t a thoughtful character piece, he has delivered something fans of the 3D Hollywood summer blockbuster will recognize as a movie they will race to see and then run home and destroy in clever ways on the internet.
Video and Audio:
Shout! Factory redeems themselves from the atrocious Accident transfer with this solid display audiences familiar with the label are accustomed to. The film’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio is respectfully reproduced and image detail is quite sharp. Colors are consistently muted but flesh tones accurate and the look appears to be a deliberate choice of style. There is a clarity on display that is both impressive and yet at times distracting. The abundance of green screen and CGI are more apparent with the HD transfer.
The disc offers the film in both a 3D and 2D presentation, and I am without a 3D system so all comments are limited to the 2D version. The 3D aspect appears to focus more on depth of field rather than an obvious in-your-face display of juggling items at the lens.
Audio is presented with an impressive Korean DTS-HD 5.1 master audio track that never lets up. The action scenes punish all speakers and give a steady workout to the low-end bass. Surrounds are well utilized as the creature slinks around the rig and the music never steps on the dialogue. There is an English dub that should be avoided at all costs unless you just really like dubbed movies and are the reason these tracks are provided on contemporary releases.
The limited extras are highlighted by a twelve minute behind-the-scenes featurette that includes interviews with members of the cast and crew. The material is divided into a series of featurettes made primarily from the same sound bites presented in a slightly different order.
The original theatrical trailer is also offered for your viewing pleasure.
*Note: The screenshots on this page are not a reflection of the Blu-ray image. They were captured using the standard DVD.*