Sector 7 (2011)


Sector 7 (7 Gwanggu)

South Korea. 2011.


Director – Ji-hoon Kim, Screenplay/Producer – Je-gyun Yun, Visual Effects/Creature Design – Mofac Studio, Visual Effects – Cho-I Production & Filmwiz, Additional Creature Design – 502 Art Studio, Makeup Effects – Geppetto. Production Company – CJ E&M Pictures


Ha Ji-won (Cha Hae-Joon), Oh Ji-Ho (Kim Dong-Soo), Ahn Sung-Ki (Ahn Jung-Man), Moon-Hyung (Dr Lee Han-Wi), Chae Ye-Ryun (Hyun-Jung), Park Cheol-Min (Do Sang-Su), Song Sae-Byeok (Ko Jong-Yoon), Park Jung-Hak (Hwang In-Hyuk)


The crew of a South Korean oil rig are having no luck drilling for oil in Sector 7. They are about to give up when Ahn Jung-Man arrives and persuades them to make one more try. At first, they dredge up strange glowing fish. Unnoticed, one of the crew becomes infected by these. A monster then emerges and starts slaughtering the crew. As they struggle for survival, Cha Hae-Joon realises that the monster is in some way related to experiments that Ahn conducted with her father back in 1985 on a lifeform they discovered on the seabed.

Sector 7 is a South Korean-made CGI monster movie. It has clearly been made with the intention of imitating Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986). There is the same basic plot to many of the copies of either film about a small crew of working stiffs discovering some type of alien monster that proceeds to infect them, grows and then starts massacring their numbers. As with Alien/Aliens, which made a kickass action heroine out of Sigourney Weaver, Sector 7 features a tough female heroine in the person of Ha Ji-won who ends up being left to singlehandedly fight off the menace on her own at the climax. Like many of these films, there is a back plot about people conspiring to capture/breed the creatures for commercial/military purposes. Perhaps more than Alien/Aliens, Sector 7 resembles one of the seabound Alien copies such as Deepstar Six (1989) and Leviathan (1989), which both featured the creature attacking people on an underwater rig. Maybe a Deepstar Six crossed with the monster from The Relic (1997) or perhaps the other South Korean monster movie The Host (2006).

Sector 7 is at best a routine Alien copy. It takes far too long to get going. The monster does not turn up until 47 minutes into the film, which is taken up by the not terribly interesting dramas between the one-dimensionally sketched characters. Even then the dramatics never go beyond the usual company skulduggery and the group skulking around the corridors trying to avoid/trap the monster. When it is not churning cliches, the screenplay is vague and does little to explain exactly what the monster is and how it relates to the shoals of glowing fish that we see in the prologue, or how we go from the single fish that is brought up from the depths and infects one of the crew to become a full-blown monster.

The film does however pick up with the introduction of the monster, which is brought to life with some imaginative CGI effects. Here Sector 7 mounts to a decent all-out climax with Ha Ji-won up against it in hand-to-hand combat. Director Ji-hoon Kim manages to get in some fine scenes with Ha Ji-won being pursued across the rig by the monster while on a motorcycle; it leaping off the edge of the platform to catch Oh Ji-Do in its jaws; of Ha Ji-won setting it on fire and battering it with a wrench; and she taking a giant leap off a crane as the creature follows, before she catches a pole to swing around so that it misses her by inches. Still it is not enough to make Sector 7 anything more than a routine film – at best, a modernised version of The Relic set on an oil rig.

Sector 7 was released to Korean theatres in the 3D process. This unfortunately becomes a millstone that drags it down. The opening scenes as we are introduced to the rig and crew has things falling, coming into camera and so forth, as well as an absurdly gratuitous motorcycle chase across the rig with bikes jumping in slow-motion, for no real reason other than to show off the 3D. Alas when seen flat, these only make for contrived dramatics.

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