A scene from TIDAL WAVE, directed by Yun Je-gyun for CJ Entertainment.

Tidal Wave (2009, Yun Je-gyun)

Given Korean film sort of resurrected the melodrama as a viable genre (I can’t believe I’m arguing for melodrama, but I guess if you like cinema, you sort of have to accept it–and I mean melodrama in a neutral sense… not as a guaranteed pejorative), I was curious to see how they’d do a disaster movie. I guess Tidal Wave is the first disaster movie from South Korea (I have a hard time being it’s the first, but I guess it’s the first really big one).

They do a good job–I had to pause from giving my initial, very positive response because I let the movie carry me a little… needed to get myself under control. But Tidal Wave isn’t a disaster movie, not in the Irwin Allen sense. There’s way too much character development. There’s so much character development in Tidal Wave, it doesn’t need the tsunami. A couple characters might need it to resolve their situations, but not all of them.

It’s a rather solid effort–strange, weaker opening–but it works out really well. Yun’s direction’s excellent. The regular scenes segue beautifully into the disaster sequences.

Lots of fine acting–the romance between Sol Kyung-gu and Ha Ji-won make it worth seeing alone. Lee Min-gi and Eom Jeong-hwa do well in difficult roles–Park Joong-hoon does fine as the scientist no one listens to. Kim In-kwon is great as the jerk who stumbles into heroics.

Definitely worth a look.

2.5/4★★½

CREDITS

Written and directed by Yun Je-gyun; director of photography, Kim Young-ho; edited by Shin Min-kyeong; music by Lee Byung-woo; production designer, Hwang In-jun; produced by David S. Dranitzke and Lee Ji-seung; released by CJ Entertainment.

Starring Ha Ji-won (Gang Yeon-heui), Park Joong-Hoon (Kim Hwi), Eom Jeong-hwa (Lee Yu-jin), Sol Kyung-gu (Choi Man-shik), Song Jae-ho (Choi’s uncle), Lee Min-gi (Hyeong-shik), Kim In-kwon (Dong-chun), Kang Ye-won (Hee-mee) and Yeo Ho-min (Jun-ha).

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