Heavily promoted as South Korea's first 3D IMAX blockbuster, the highly-anticipated SECTOR 7 has also been touted as the next "ultimate monster movie" since Bong Joon-Ho's groundbreaking hit, THE HOST (2006). In fact, from the look of the promotional trailer, SECTOR 7 looks promising enough as a fun-filled summer popcorn blockbuster. Actually I got a high hope for this one, but unfortunately SECTOR 7 is a jaw-dropping disappointment from many levels. Yeah, it is that bad, especially given all the high-profile talents involved in this big-budget production.
Set entirely on an oil rig platform at Sector 7, located south of Jeju Island, the movie revolves around a small but dedicated crew consisting of the no-nonsense equipment manager Hae-Joon (Ha Ji-Won) and her fellow oil riggers -- Kim Dong-Soo (Oh Ji-Ho), Do Sang-Gu (Park Cheol-Min), Ko Jong-Yoon (Song Sae-Byeok) and Hwang In-Hyuk (Park Jung-Hak) -- as well as two oil researchers, Moon-Hyung (Lee Han-Wi) and Hyun-Jung (Cha Ye-Ryeon). All of these crew are responsible to search for undiscovered oil deep down the ocean floor. But their constant hard work are nothing more than countless failures from time to time.
Until that is, hope is high when Hae Jun's uncle Ahn Jung-Man (Ahn Sung-Ki) returns to find the oil. However, he has a different motive altogether. Apparently he's been planning to breed a newly discovered lifeform whose bodily fluids able to burn longer than 30 hours, which in turn, favors as a new form of fuel instead of traditional oil.
Unfortunately all hell breaks loose when the lifeform turns out to be a gigantic beast set to hunt them down one by one. Trapped at the restricted confinement of the oil rig, the desperate crew have no choice but must work together to kill the beast at all cost before it's too late.
Borrowed heavily from ALIENS (1986) and of course mostly from B-movies including LEVIATHAN (1989), DEEPSTAR SIX (1989) and DEEP RISING (1998), this shamelessly unoriginal monster movie is such a slave to those Hollywood's like-minded genres that everything shown here are more like a cheap imitator.
Most of the SECTOR 7's weaknesses suffers from badly-written screenplay (with some ill-timed comic relief) and Kim Ji-Hun's pedestrian direction who doesn't seems how to make use the full potential of its promising setup. The first 30 minutes or so is a tired slog of poor characters-driven drama that it's such a butt-numbing experience to sit through. Even by the time the beast starts to appear by 40 minutes mark, the supposedly exciting moments are ruined by laughably bad CGI and lackluster action set-pieces. Apparently Kim Ji-Hun made a big mistake of showing the beast too much, and he's particularly clueless on how he presented the beast effectively on the screen. Basically what we have here instead is a series of predictable chase between the beast and the oil crew where suspense is almost non-existent. Worst still, it's hardly scary or particularly pulse-pounding at all. If anything, the final 20 minutes which involves a motorcycle chase between Hae-Jun and the beast outside the oil rig platform does boost some excitement here.
Despite the involvement of talented cast including Ha Ji-Won and Ahn Sung-Ki, their characters are mostly reduced to strict caricatures. Still, you have to admire Ha Ji-Won's tough portrayal as the no-nonsense Hae-Jun who made quite an impression that reminds me of Sigourney Weaver's iconic performance as Ripley in the ALIEN series.