Monday, January 20, 2014

Review: The Flu (2013)

The Flu (Review)
Kim Sung-su/Soo Ae/2013
Where To Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime 

"...kept me at the edge of my seat..."

A group of illegal immigrants are smuggled into Bundang, South Korea. When the shipping container holding this group is opened by the human traffickers, a deadly strain of H5N1, better known as the bird flu, is unleashed upon an unsuspecting population...

The Flu follows single mother and doctor Kim In-hae (Soo Ae) as she aids in the search for a cure to a seemingly incurable and fatal disease. It also follows a paramedic, Kang Ji-goo (Jang Hyuk), who gets caught up in rescuing and protecting In-hae's daughter, Mir (Park Min-ha). The story is by-the-books, but it was interesting to see the conception of the virus and the quarantine process, and it continuously builds up great tension and suspense. This momentum continues until the exhilarating finale that kept me at the edge of my seat -- yeah, it was a tad bit predictable, but it was immensely enjoyable, nonetheless.

The Flu is a fantastic disaster-thriller. Like I said, the story is by-the-books, but it does present some original ideas, and those that are not so original are executed with mastery. As far as the story goes, you do have to suspend some belief to enjoy the movie, especially during the second half. However, this didn’t really hinder the experience. This is a film that only wants to entertain, and it does that tenfold. It is a thriller, and a damn good one at that. The characters are likable and charismatic, the story is interesting and engaging, and there is plenty of suspense and tension, as well as some great emotion. There are a couple of plot contrivances, but they didn’t really bother me that much in the long run.

Soo Ae is great, and she's versatile -- starting off stuck-up and stubborn, and showing genuine emotion and heart by the end -- I'd say a bit better than her performance in Midnight F.M. Jang Hyuk is also great for the same reasons, however, he starts off more charming and charismatic than his counterpart. Park Min-ha really steals the show, though. Min-ha gives her all in a very enthusiastic and adorable, and hits a wide range of emotions, as well. The cinematography really shines -- the scale of the film is impressive, and the cinematography captures these scenes with such beauty, despite the horrendous subject. The music is also memorable -- one of the tracks really stuck to me because of its similarities to the 28 Days Later theme -- definitely a great and well suited nod. Kim Sung-su writes and directs, and, although the writing is a bit cliché, Sung-su does incredibly well capturing the scale of the film and creating suspense and thrills.

Overall, The Flu knows exactly what it is: a blockbuster disaster thriller -- and that's exactly what you get. You have Blockbuster qualities -- such as the massive scale, the superb cinematography, and the fantastic music -- that many "blockbusters" fail to deliver. On top of that, you have a heat-pounding thriller with pure suspense and tension throughout, and a cast of charismatic characters. A few plot contrivances and odd plot points hold the film back from perfection, but most Blockbusters don't get better than this.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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