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Professor Kim, a marine geologist, recognizes the impending danger of a mega tsunami headed straight for Haeundae, a popular vacation spot on the south coast of Korea. He desperately attempts to warn authorities and alert the unknowing vacationers of the 500 MPH destructive force of nature headed their direction. Written by
The CGI tsunami sequences had been shot at Kerner Optical's stages using water-dump tanks left over from special effects sequences of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) in San Rafael, California in November and December 2008, months before any principal photography began in South Korea See more »
I wasn't swept away by the first hour, but the last 40 minutes or so were smashing.
I experienced quite a range of emotions whilst watching Haeundae (AKA Tidal Wave): the first hour, which is spent introducing its various clichéd two dimensional characters, was tedious in the extreme and I found myself impatiently urging the cataclysmic forces of nature to get a move on and wreak some havoc, thus putting an end to my misery; however, when the mega-tsunami finally hit, I felt rather guilty for having been so keen to see some death and destruction, the horrific sight of the massive wave crashing down on the helpless people of Korea immediately bringing to mind the very real scenes of destruction from the tsunami disaster of Christmas 2004.
So I'm sitting there feeling morose, reflecting on the real-life horror of such a phenomenonhow terrifying it must be to be confronted by an unstoppable wall of waterwhen the film slips into cheesy post-tsunami mode, and I'm presented with umpteen tried-and-tested disaster movie clichés as the survivors face further danger amidst the floods. These include the obligatory 'electrical cable in the water' routine, a well executed scene with a little girl being swept out of the window of a high rise building, and an awful slapstick moment that sees the film's comedy relief dodging metal containers as they fall from an upended freight ship. I'm now feeling much better, having a blast with what I realise is cornball blockbuster material of the purest kind.
And then a second wave hits the city, killing even more people, including the little girl's parents, and it's lump-in-throat time again!
Although Haeundae doesn't qualify as an essential disaster flick in my book, the build up being overlong, the characters not all that memorable, and the formula predictable, the special effects are much better than I expected and the mayhem is spectacular enough to make this film worth a go if you get the chance.
5.5 out of 10, rounded up to 6 for IMDb.
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