Korean Epidemic Outbreak Blockbuster…
Flu, is a film that you can’t help drawing comparisons to 2011’s Steven Soderbergh’s, Contagion, as both films are pretty much similar in lots of ways. Where Flu differs, is in the fact that it doesn’t contain the heavyweight cast or large-scale budget, however, that hasn’t prevented Sung-su Kim’s effort from being any less engaging or a epic-looking. The three main protagonists are well performed by, Hyuk Jang, as rescue worker Ji-koo Kang, and the lovely, Soo Ae, as Doctor In-hae Kim. Additionally, we have the precocious and talented, Min Ha Park, who plays the cute daughter of Doc Kim, little Miss Mi-reu.
Flu, begins when a container full of illegal Hong Kong immigrants are discovered nearly all dead by the smugglers, with one man managing to escape. The sole survivor is infected with a deadly strain of bird flu, and is now infecting a quiet area of Seoul. It doesn’t take long for the highly contagious disease to spread and suddenly hospitals are overrun with the sick and dying. The government calls in the army to assist in trying to quarantine the area but the people begin to revolt against these tough measures.
Patient Zero has been found and while the doctors are trying to find a cure for this particular flu strain using his blood, our Doctor Kim’s daughter is now victim to the virus, and mom needs to try something desperate to cure her daughter. There is in-fighting within the government, which strangely include a couple of western actors who wouldn’t look out-of-place in an 80’s porn flick, and while all this mayhem is going on, our hero-rescue worker has been crushing rather heavily over the sexy doctor.
I don’t know the budget for this movie, but needless to say, by our standards it’s undoubtedly low but this is a film that has very high production values; a good cast (apart from said, John Holmes’ types); excellent cinematography from, I saw The Devil, lenser, Mo-gae Lee and great, creative editing by, Na-young Nam, (The Last Stand). Korea is known for some of the most inventive films out there and now the quality of their films is even higher than before. Flu, can confidently compete with almost anything Hollywood can create, even against certain tentpoles that I’ve seen produced over the years. If anything could have been bettered it would’ve been certain aspects of the script but my Western palate is perhaps clouding my judgement on this matter.
The ending of Flu, must be given top marks for full-on cheesiness as the image of the little girl begging the nasty old soldiers and big bad government men AND using her tiny body as a shield, “don’t kill my mommy!” would have brought tears to a glass eye! I’m talking “fondue” here people, with enough cheese to satisfy the Swiss for three decades! Flu, is ultimately a fun, action packed film with loads of drama and a cute kid who can act and the film plays it for all its worth. An easy film to recommend.
Review by Ed Blackadder, Lead Entertainment Writer