Our friend Lady G is a guest blogger today. She had the chance to watch The Flu in NY and here is her review. All I can say is, It got me excited! Thank you Lady G! 🙂
After failing to go on opening weekend, I finally saw “The Flu.” The less said about my commute (particularly coming home) the better. Let’s just say that Queens, NYC and I have a “stormy” relationship. I’m just glad I didn’t really catch the ‘Flu.’
On to the review 🙂
Total FLU Chaos! I felt like I’d watched an American film. But something vital was missing – the time frame in which all this took place. The army rolled in, they separated the infected and set up tent camps. In like 5 minutes. Seriously? No-three days later, no ‘Day 1’, etc.? The editing made you feel like it happened all in one day.
**Apparently there were time-stamps, but they weren’t translated and ran by quickly.**
The movie was shorter than most American films (Even the film on which it’s based: “Contagion.”) Expect a rapid-fire pace and gross-out imagery with heroic and cowardly action from the characters. There’s scenes of random violence that might make you cringe. I didn’t notice stereotypical Korean melodrama and ham over-acting like in other disaster movies. (I’m talking to you, “Haeundae”!) Look out for dramatic slow-motion, stirring music, and lots of tears. It’s totally understandable.
The usual non-actors were cast when it came to the Americans/Aussies/Brits, but it wasn’t too distracting. They were prickly Government officials arguing with Korean officials about this unprecedented state of affairs. Yet they all stay tucked safely away while the poor souls in Bundang suffer and panic – on top of looting, puking blood, dropping dead, and getting cut off from the rest of South Korea with barricades.
2,000 people were infected per hour, and died within 36 hours. Yikes! You’ll never look at Avian flu the same way again. You’ll grip the edge of your seats toward the end. I know I held my breath and got major goosebumps.
I appreciated the wisps of a love story between the leads, but the film never gave it a rest for them to develop a true romance. (Not by our starry-eyed K-drama standards anyway.) Don’t watch looking for a rom-com or the same old cliches. In fact there’s a light-hearted scene in the beginning that pokes fun at one.
Dr. Kim In-Hae comes off as arrogant from the get go. Actress Soo Ae played her very well. And here’s where I hang my head, in my mad rush I missed the first 10 minutes. When I ran in the theater, Soo Ae and Jang Hyuk bantered about her torn skirt as her car was about to tumble down a deep shaft. A lot of levity in that scene…maybe too much. But considering what happens afterward you had to find someplace to stick it in.
Jang Hyuk played Kang Ji-goo as a cocky fellow, but with a kind and compassionate heart. He has no sad backstory or “Lee Daegil” emotional baggage. It’s a breath of fresh air for a Jang Hyuk role. He’s just a good-guy bachelor making a living as a Rescue worker because he truly cares about helping people. Oh, and he wore some hot denim clothes. 🙂
I particularly liked when Ji-goo put In-Hye in her place and reminded her that she was still a doctor and had a responsibility to all the people, not just herself and daughter. You quickly realize that she will not win any mother-of-the-year awards…until near the end of course. I think the real love story was between Ji-goo and In-hae’s sweet daughter Mir-Reu. He protected her better than some fathers would their own children. Way to win the yoja’s heart, Ji-goo. Be nice to the kid. 😉 Little Park Min-ha really stole the show from everyone. Keep your eye on her in the future.
“The Flu’ contained scenes throughout that smacked of “I am Legend,” the original book written by Richard Matheson and the fifties movie with Vincent Price. (There is also a so-so recent version with Will Smith.) I’m talking about certain ‘disposal’ methods used by the army and the ‘cure’ eventually discovered to stop the spread. “I am Legend” is one of the greatest books about a deadly virus ever written, and is a must-read if you like that genre.
All in all, the movie’s exiting. It’s not Oscar caliber, but it’s not meant to be. It’s a Summer blockbuster. A popcorn movie. But more importantly, Jang Hyuk was his usual captivating self. Please Hollywood, give him a break! At least offer him more leading roles in Korean films. He’s proven himself time and again that he can carry entire dramas worth 25 Oscar winning movies. He’s one of the greatest actors of his generation in Korea, and I think in the world.
I can imagine “The Flu” as a full-length Television drama starring Jang Hyuk, with a lot of survival stories intertwining. It could have a star-studded cast and be something epic like Stephen King’s “The Stand,” only without the supernatural horror or hunky Rob Lowe. (He’ll be replaced by a Korean hunk!)
Because it was suggested to me, I stayed past the credits and…Win! Everyone else left the theater. (I was at a matinee, there were unfortunately only about 10-12 other people.) The instant the credits rolled, the lights went on. Let’s just say I grinned ear to ear.
I know this review’s vague, but I want to respect those who haven’t seen it. If the movie wasn’t released overseas I would’ve missed it too.
Definitely put “The Flu” high on your “Korean movies to watch” list!