Original Title: 7광구
Genres: Action, Science Fiction
Director: Kim Ji-hoon
The film poster of Sector 7 showcases a rough and dirty Ha Ji-won, promising to feature the popular actress as a bad ass heroine. However, just remember that old saying about a book and its cover.
The story follows Hae-joon (Ha Ji-won), who works on an offshore oil rig in an area called Sector 7, located somewhere south of Jeju Island. She’s rebellious towards authority, though she shows more dedication to her work than most. After the oil drilling excavations end in failure, the team is ordered to withdraw, with Jeong-man (Ahn Sung-ki) sent in to oversee everything. Hae-joon refuses to leave, convinced that they will be able to find oil. Jeong-man is moved by her conviction, and requests an extension of a few months from headquarters.
A few months pass, and strange things start happening on the oil rig, and people start dying one after another. At first, one of the drillers is suspected, but then eventually the crew realize something: there is something aboard the oil rig that isn’t human, and it won’t stop until every last human is dead.
You might have loved Ha Ji-won in films such as As One and Sex is Zero, and she is probably the only reason this film might spark any interest to anyone. Or, you might have enjoyed director Kim Ji-hoon’s previous success, May 18, which had many favorable reviews. But, those are far from reasons that Sector 7 is anything enjoyable.
The premise is exciting at first. We have an eerie environment isolated from human contact (the oil rig), a terrifying creature, humans getting killed off one by one from the shadows, and a bad ass heroine. However, many long-time movie watchers have seen these tropes before, so there is nothing groundbreaking here.
Sector 7 has trouble identifying what it wants to be. At times, it wants to be an action film that aspires to be like Rambo, with Ha Ji-won doing motorcycle races on the surface of the rig, complete with slow motion and windy hair. However, at other times the film wants to be like Alien – a sci-fi thriller in which the audience waits in anticipation for when or where the mysterious creature will strike.
Even totally ripping off Alien, the film did not handle its creature with care at all. Part of the fun of scary monster films are the creative types of techniques and camerawork used to show the creature’s presence before actually revealing what it looks like. Then, we have an epic moment that reveals its appearance. The way Sector 7‘s creature was revealed was very anti-climactic. It was like knowing what your Christmas present was because it was handed to you with no wrapping.
There are a variety of other things that are a bit sketchy about the set up and world the film is placed in. One such detail is that these offshore drillers have a large selection of firearms available, as if they are prepared for an emergency zombie outbreak. These aren’t just any guns, either; they have shotguns, assault rifles, and flamethrowers at the ready.
When these team of drillers have these guns in hand and start moving to hunt the creature, they almost look like a team of military veterans (which they aren’t). Ha Ji-won’s character, who is a driller through and through, can somehow hit targets shooting a pistol with one hand, while riding a motorcycle.
Questionable also is why there are motorcycles on board an oil rig. Perhaps they like to cut down the amount of time it gets from one end of the platform to the other. But that is unlikely, as none of the higher ups even say anything when the motorcycles are taken for joyrides, endangering the workers’ safety.
As an action film, Sector 7 is as enjoyable as a Michael Bay film. There are bullets and explosions, and a CG monster that could have been handled way better. However, there are so many inconsistencies with the world the film tries to build. It’s to the point that it’s not too crazy to wait for a plot twist consisting of Ha Ji-won revealing that she is some cyborg sent from the future.
The film was meant for Ha Ji-won to look like a bad ass heroine. It definitely succeeded at that, but at the big cost of sacrificing everything else that could have made it anything good..
Watch this film…
…if you want to watch Ha Ji-won in a lot of cool action poses with wind blowing through her hair.