Sector 7 (Review)

Sector 7

aka 7 gwanggu aka 7광구

2011
Written by Yun Je-gyun
Directed by Kim Ji-hun

Sector 7
Okay, team, we’re going to get to the bottom of the question “Does this film have phallic and vaginal symbolisms, or is it just stupid?”

Sector 7 is so by-the-numbers that if you squint really hard, you’ll learn how to count in Korean! Sector 7 decided that it wanted to take all the goodwill that The Host generated for Korean monster movies and throw it all away into the pit of despair, instead giving us a grab bag of scenes ganked from some of the most famous alien monster films of all time. Each scene is a roulette wheel spin random landing on what film they’re stealing from this time. Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Predator, Leviathan, Lethal Weapon 3, probably other films I just didn’t care enough to remember. Oddly enough, I don’t recall any scene ripped directly from Alien 4. It’s almost as if Alien 4 is so bad no one should copy it…

Sector 7
Wait, am I a penis or a vagina? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON??

But enough of what this films steals from, let’s go over what this film is. Sector 7 is Korea’s first 3D film, and was obviously filmed on a soundstage with the outside backgrounds CGIed in, giving it a weird visual nature. That combined with me watching a 2D transfer of the 3D film probably caused it to look less visually stunning than it is supposed to. But since there wasn’t really any iconic cinematography in the first place, it’s no big deal.

Sector 7
Shoot to kill any and all phallic references!

We get a prologue that is set in the long distant year of 1985, where a man investigating troubles with an underwater drill at the uncharted Sector 7 finds tiny floating jelly things, then horrible disaster strikes. But that horrible disaster factors nothing at all to the rest of the film, so ignore all that and let’s jump to 2011, where there is still an oil rig in Sector 7 and it is still uncharted despite the 16 years and the freaking oil rig that probably cost millions of dollars to build in the middle of nowhere. That logic continues into the rest of the film, but before that, let’s get to the cast…

Sector 7
You don’t look like my vagina to me!

Cha Hae-joon (Ha Ji-won) – A very driven oil hunter lady who searches Sector 7 desperately for oil because her father was the guy in the prologue and he died looking for oil. Sector 7 is desperate to let you know that Cha is driven and tough, between the scenes of her running around an averting oil rig disasters and the scenes of her running off to keep looking for oil after they’re ordered out, we learn that she’s driven to look for oil. She’s the Ripley of the film. Ha Ji-won can also be seen in Sex is Zero and Love So Divine.
Kim Dong-soo (Oh Ji-ho) – Cha’s boyfriend who is the handsome guy on the oil platform. He’s better than her in motorcycling, but not in surviving monster attacks. SPOILERS!
Lee Jeong-man (Ahn Seong-gi) – Lee Jeong-man is the Division Captain and also Cha’s uncle. He’s totally not involved in a conspiracy….
Hwang In-hyeok (Park Jeong-hak) – The oil rig captain who is a jerk, and will do jerkish things. Because he’s a jerk. So jerkish.
Park Hyeon-jeong (Cha Ye-ryeon) – The oil rig’s genetic researcher, because we need genetic researches on oil rigs. For some reason. Definitely not conspiracy reasons! Why do you keep thinking there is a conspiracy going on?
Jang Chi-soon (Park Yeong-soo) – a creepy guy who gets infected by one of the tiny underwater floating creatures when he tries to eat it. Also he does creepy stuff like perv on Park Heyon-jeong.
Monster (CGI) – The nameless monster is like a generic generic version of the Host monster, but with less distinguishing characteristics and a bunch of goofy tentacle things for extra grossness. And that’s not to mention the prehensile tongue. Is set on fire more often than Beavis’s bedroom.
Sector 7
I bet there are phallic references here!

Sector 7
We’ve brought in the top scientists to find penis references…

The rest of the crew is rounded out by two comedy relief buddies, a rookie, and a doctor. We know all these people are toast, the only mystery is which order they’ll die in. Cha’s uncle arrives on the rig to oversea it shutting down, but he goes along with the rest of the crew as they declare they aren’t leaving and will still go look for oil. Good thing this came out a year after the Gulf Oil Spill, really capitalizing on the public’s love for people who mess up the environment. The lesson being don’t be five years in production on a film whose heroes could have a controversial job.

Sector 7
It was the best of times, it was the penis of times!?!?

I’ve seen enough Korean films to be used to the slow burn as the films go along at a leisurely pace. But Sector 7 pads the running time with more characterization of things we already know about the characters. We know creepy guy Jang Chi-soon is creepy, we don’t need him to act creepy many more times. We know Cha is tough, we don’t need to see her racing around on a motorcycle or showing off scars.

Sector 7
Driving this crotch rocket totally isn’t phallic!

But even though the crew finds some of the floaty tiny alien things underwater, they don’t find oil. Then people start dying, but not at first directly because of the monster. How the monster got on the rig is only barely hinted at, thanks to some unsatisfying flashbacks that explain some things, but not everything nor the giant leap of time between the flashbacks and monster creation vs the monster being loose and running around. Cha is centered around the first couple of deaths, causing her to become traumatized as her friends and coworkers die before her eyes.

Sector 7
Hooray for phalluses!

Once the goo monster is loose and actively killing people, it’s time to gank from other monster films. Guy gets impaled through the head and through the window behind him like Alien 3? Check. Guy on escape vessel when monster shows up and trashes it? Check. Monster bursts from someone’s chest and begins to sing vaudeville songs? No check, but it should have! The crew has one gun, a speargun, and a nail gun or two as their only weapons.

Sector 7
The vagina is purified of penii by fire and blade.

Cha’s uncle knows more than he says at first, because of course it is a conspiracy. A conspiracy to use the tiny floating gel creatures as fuel, as they burn at super-energetic temperatures and for a long long time. An oil based conspiracy, to make the oil company even more positive in the light. So they genetically made a huge version of the creature….because….uh…and they made it ultra-predatorish for some reason also not explained. And then it escaped, because of another reason not explained. And Cha’s dad may have been killed by the creature or murdered as part of the conspiracy. But they don’t explain any of this, it’s all a bunch of implications and almost explanations. Choose your own conspiracy.

Sector 7
Help! The vagina is fighting back…WITH A PENIS!!

Did you know that all oil rigs have self-destruct mechanisms? One would think packing an oil rig with lots of explosives would be exceedingly dangerous, but it looks like that isn’t the case. No wonder the cost of gas is so high, the oil companies are preparing to blow up anything they build in case monsters run loose on them. Maybe there was a monster in the Gulf Coast! It’s the only logical explanation. This rabbit hole goes all the way down to the very last turtle! Yep, we’re combining references that make no sense when they’re together, a TarsTarkas.NET trademark!

Sector 7
I’m confused, is this imagery penetration or just loss of virginity?

So Uncle sets off the self-destruct to go off eventually, the fights the monster using a flame thrower he just happened to have and never told anyone about. Or he built it from spare parts, yet didn’t bother to mention to anyone he knew how to build flamethrowers when they were originally went after the monster. And he dies because he sets himself on fire, but the monster is just burnt a little bit more, and kills Cha’s boyfriend in a hilarious manner.

I’m sure we can all agree this means something…

The finale is Cha vs the monster in a battle to the death. Luckily for them, the oil rig waits until the she kills the monster (SPOILER!!) to start exploding, and she escapes the exploding oil rig by jumping off the oil rig on her motorcycle. We’ve gone from weird to crazy town!

Sector 7
The spectre of womenhood looms large…

Sector 7 almost shows some originality by taking the phallic references from the original Alien and going full bore gross with them. The dead body of Park Hyeon-jeong has semen on it, and it is implied that it is monster jizz. Which makes all the monster slime we see later extra gross, and the fact the monster looks like a giant wang, has a prehensile stabbing tongue that looks like a giant wang, and has other random appendages that also look like giant wangs. It is like someone figured out the alien in Alien has a giant wang head and wanted to show off the knowledge. But then the film goes off the rails and we see how Park Hyeon-jeong really died, which was not by monster, so where did the jizz come from???? Did she just have jizz on her clothes randomly? Was it like There’s Something About Mary and she thought it was hair gel? Did she actually have sex with creepy guy? It the jizz-colored monster slime not really monster jizz? No questions will be answered, and the implied next level of monster perversion is thrown the the wayside.

Sector 7
Let’s ride the mechanical penis away from the exploding vagina penis thing!

Even better, with how the monster is killed (SPOILER AGAIN!!!) by the giant drill, the oil drills and squirting oil could easily be interpreted as more sexual imagery, and now we got a penis being killed by a bigger, badder penis. Long Dong Silver conquers all. But nothing else goes with this, and it’s just a big waste. At TarsTarkas.NET, we love it when movies try, even if they fail. Sector 7 doesn’t try. It just imitates. Badly.

The conspiracy even makes no sense. They found floaty gel things that burn like crazy, but Cha’s dad doesn’t want to kill animals for fuel, then suddenly he’s dead and it’s 17 years in the future, also there was a secret experiment to grow a big gel creature that was made into a killing machine for no reason ever explained, and the monster wants everyone dead as its highest priority because of no reason ever explained. We don’t even know if the conspiracy is from the corporation behind the oil rig, or just Cha’s uncle and a few other idiots. If the former, the oil rig team’s blind devotion to their company in the beginning takes on extra layers of irony, that are not explored in the slightest by the filmmakers. Which leads me to believe it was just a small group. Heck, Cha is seen still working for the oil company in the final scene, after it rescues her from the giant monster.

This movie meant nothing despite everything it tried to copy. And now everyone is dead. Even the penis vagina monster.

Overall, a sad disappointment that you’ve all seen before and done much better those times.

Sector 7
What if…I’m a phallic reference?!?!

Rated 2/10 (JK Rowling???, burn it with fire!)


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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!