Announced as Korea’s first real disaster movie and next big scale blockbuster HAEUNDAE tries to match Emmerich’s works of destruction and fails miserably. Not a single minute do we buy any of the characters or their (non existing) development, not a moment can HAEUNDAE dramatize the story with the precise timing as, say, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, nor does it have a tight logic of escalation that culminates in a phenomenal showdown. Actually, we’re waiting and waiting for the inevitable to happen, and when it happens it feels like nothing much of anything.
HAEUNDAE without a doubt features one of the lamest disaster sequences in cinema history (yes, there is only 1 sequence actually), suffers from horrible script and dialogue writing and discredits a wonderful actor like Joong-Hoon Park who looks as bad here as anyone else (though all other actors deserve to look that bad). The whole enterprise is following the basic formula of every disaster film by the book and adds nothing else to it. Then, out of the blue it seems, it’s over and we’re saved by the bell. Thank god.
HAEUNDAE is challenging the equally ridiculous DRAGON WARS for worst Korean movie of the decade. How could it ever do relatively well financially and even score a few awards? All we expect from a disaster film is grand and creative disaster, characters we actually care about and some surprises within the story line, plus the ever-growing levels of destruction. Is that really so hard? Obviously it is. Wether you are into blockbuster fare, the disaster movie genre, Asian movies per se or whatever else, HAEUNDAE must be avoided at all costs. HAEUNDAE is not just a true disaster, it is the Hyundai of movies.
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