BluRay/DVD Reviews

FLU (SONY Home Entertainment)

By • Apr 2nd, 2014 •

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Ah, there’s nothing quite like a good pandemic movie to get you very paranoid about the world around you. You suddenly begin opening doors with your hands in your sleeves, feeling a sense of terror when someone coughs or sneezes near you, and starting a huge debate with your friends about whether it’s safe to drink out of that water bottle. All these things and more are side effects of FLU by Kim Sung-Soo. I’m not sure what I expected out of this film – the cover of the DVD doesn’t give many hints. I didn’t even know it was Korean until the movie began. But the last thing I expected was to receive an emotional roller coaster ride mixed with some of the most disturbing imagery I have ever seen.

Plot time! A ship container full of illegal immigrants makes it’s way into a city in South Korea, only to have all the immigrants die due to a new, lethal flu virus that slowly begins to take over the city. We mainly follow an Emergency Response team member, Kang Ji-Koo (Jang Hyuk) and the female doctor that he rescued in a freak car accident, Kim In-hye (Soo Ae). In-hye has what may very well be the most adorable child ever to be put to film, Kim Mi-reu. You care a lot for these characters, Mi-reu in particular, and I was ready to toss my computer out the window if anything happened to the poor girl. These characters also break their stereotypes very well: Ji-goo is a bit cocky but he’s super determined, In-hye is very independent, contributing a ton to the curing of this flu, and Mi-reu is intelligent to the point where, on her first meeting with Ji-Koo, she’s asking for his business card.

All the while the grand scale of this flu is beyond epic. While it isn’t a round-the-world pandemic like some other movies in the lethal outbreak horror sub-genre, I happen to like that rather than wasting shots showing off “Here’s what’s going on in France! Here’s a shot in Russia!” We instead stay grounded with the set of characters we got. The disease is intense, and as it gets worse and worse, the government’s ideas of how to contain it get worse and worse as well, and I was starting to wonder how far they would go before somebody in the office asked “Ok, if we do this, that doesn’t make us Nazis, does it?”. And there are times where the way they’re treating the sick and dying made me cringe to the point of nausea. Let’s take note that in the event of a disaster of this scale, be wary of who’s allowed to be in charge.

Then of course there’s the dubbing. At first, I wasn’t sold. But then again, initially the movie is putting on a few light, comedic scenes. Once things got really serious I was totally invested in these characters. I’m usually a fan of subtitles, because yeah, even during the tense scenes sometimes the dubbing did get a bit noticeable, but I found it to be generally acceptable. Whether you enjoy subs or dubs with your foreign films, thankfully you have both otions with this release. And in the supplementals there’s yet another instance of why on EARTH were those deleted scenes taken out of the film? They were BRILLIANT. Whatever the reason, they’re here now, so we can still enjoy them.

I was on a wild ride for this entire film. And when I was separated from it briefly whilst in the middle of it, I couldn’t do anything but think about what was going to happen next. It manages to have enjoyable light scenes, as well as intense dark ones, and that ending… well hopefully you’ll see for yourself. This movie should go down in history as the greatest reminder to all of us to wash our hands.

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