Rating: R for excessive gore
Run Time: 1 hour, 59 minutes. In Korean with English subtitles
Korean cinema, both North and South, has long been a personal favorite, blessed as it is with a caustic edge and tongue-in-cheek humor that belies its countries’ tetchy politics.
straight from the annals of
pandemonium begins as pandemonium does, on a lazy day of sunshine and goodwill.
Dim-witted single dad Gang-Du (Song Kang-Ho) is working his father’s makeshift
food stand when he spies crowds of rubber-neckers anxiously gathering on the
banks of the
his middle-school age daughter Hyun-Seo (Ko A-Sung) join the fleeing flock but
the slimy thing snatches Hyun-Seo with a flick of its tail and disappears back
into the murky depths of the Han. Gang-Du fears the worst but finally receives
a scratchy cell-phone call from Hyun-Seo who claims to be trapped by the creature
Thus begins an oddly compelling journey that pits Hyun-Seo’s shell-shocked family against the slimy monstrosity known as The Host, for its scientific connection to a deadly virus.
The Park family single-mindedly bands together to rescue Hyun-Seo, utilizing their individual strengths -- Olympic archer, computer whiz -- in a low-tech battle against evil.
Director Bong Joon-Ho’s world isn’t all monster madness. His colorful dissection of the fiendish creature genre manages to touch on a number of contemporary themes; the very real fear of a viral plague (think SARS), rampant paranoia inherent in national disaster, a bit of social satire and the deep bonds of a family caught up in crisis.
is pure high camp, a madcap mix of fear and humor that hits a few slap-sticky
skids along the way. The effects are uber-cool, in particular breathtaking
shots of the slithery creature hanging off the
A good time at the movies no matter how you cut it.