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Reviews & Ratings for
The Tower More at IMDbPro »Ta-weo (original title)

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19 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Exactly what you expect in a big-budget disaster movie – taut suspense, thrilling sequences, and overwrought emotions – to leave you on an adrenaline high

7/10
Author: moviexclusive from Singapore
14 January 2013

As far as disaster movies go, 'The Tower' hardly reinvents the wheel, but even though it sticks to formula, audiences looking for B-movie thrills will love the adrenaline rush it gives you from start to finish. Clearly inspired by the 1974 Hollywood classic 'The Towering Inferno', it uses the same premise of a luxurious skyscraper that catches fire one fateful day to devise a continuous series of high-octane action sequences that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

True to its genre, the first half-hour is spent introducing the bevy of characters whose fates will intertwine. Chief among them is the building's security and maintenance operations manager Dae-ho (Kim Sang- gyeong), a single father to a precocious young girl, Hana, whom he promises to that it will snow on Christmas Eve. That is also the reason why Hana eventually finds herself at the ill-fated Tower Sky residential complex, made up of two adjacent towers connected by a sky bridge at the 70th floor.

Dae-ho is infatuated with kitchen manager Yoon-hee (Son Ye-jin), who offers to look after Hana while he goes about ensuring that the preparations for the management's lavish Christmas Eve party go according to plan. The occasion turns out to be the reason of the calamity, as the management's egotistical President Cho (Cha In-pyo) arranges a fleet of helicopters to rain snow down from near the top of the building – despite being earlier advised of possible strong vertical drafts - just so he can impress the residents.

After seeing his wish of a 'White Christmas' come true, an even more wowing spectacle awaits when a sudden gust causes one of the helicopters to lose control and crash into one of the twin towers. Immediately, the upper floors become engulfed in flames, leading to the activation of the men stationed at the Yeoudio Fire Station – including the veteran captain Young-kee (Sul Kyung-gu) who forsakes his promise to his wife to spend the night with her in order to join his comrades in the firefight.

Young-kee turns out to be a key player in the rescue of those trapped, as Kim Sang-don's workmanlike screenplay sets him up as the proverbial selfless hero whose bravery is ultimately milked for high-pitched theatrics. The rest of the characters are similarly delineated in terms of tropes – whether Dae-ho as the nerve-wracked father constantly worrying about the safety of his daughter, or President Cho as the devious businessman cum de facto villain of the film. The most inspired bit of Sang-don's writing is in the addition of a group of devout Christians gathered to celebrate Christmas for comic relief, whose prayers for help are inadvertently always answered.

It is to director Kim Ji-hoon's credit that the film never has a dull moment despite the formulaic script. Right from the start, he confidently demonstrates his ability to navigate seamlessly between the various points-of-view of the various characters, and that adroitness proves useful in maintaining a tense and taut atmosphere throughout the movie. He also keeps the movie well-paced and easy to follow, with the first half focused on extinguishing the fire from within its source and the second on evacuating as many people as possible before the weakened tower collapses under its own weight.

Within that two-act narrative, Ji-hoon engineers some truly gripping sequences. The helicopter crash is the first of the money-shots, and by deftly combining actual images with CGI, it amply demonstrates that the Koreans have caught up with Hollywood in terms of visual effects. Besides the spectacle, two particular scenes stand out – the first where a ragtag group of survivors make a perilous crossing from one tower to another using the sky bridge, whose steel and glass structure is at risk of collapsing; and the second where who's left of the same group pack themselves into an elevator and attempt to free-fall it down around 60 floors to escape the crumbling tower.

Next to the top-drawer special effects, the cast and their acting unfortunately play second fiddle. Nonetheless, they play their roles with conviction, in particular Sang-gyeong and Kyung-gu – though the most memorable actor here is not one of the leading cast, but rather Kim In-hwon, who plays a jocular firefighter hailed as a saviour by the group of Christians after turning up at a particularly opportune moment.

Still, the main attraction is the visuals, which under Ji-hoon's confident hand (who was also behind 'Sector 7'), prove to be very impressive for an Asian film. Any criticism that the pleasures to be had here are no more than B-movie thrills is moot – after all, that's exactly what 'The Tower' intends to deliver. Indeed, if you're looking for a gripping two-hour adrenaline high, then this big-budget action disaster film is just that shot in the arm for sheer exhilaration.

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19 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Tower Inferno Korean Style

7/10
Author: Alex Vojacek from San Luis, Argentina
26 May 2013

Is this a copy of Tower Inferno, most definitely.

Is worse?. Actually no, it is better.

The Tower Inferno was one of my favorites disaster movies and not because of the movie itself but for the topic at hand. I always had an eerie feeling of big tower buildings as much as planes. Human made things in such an impressive scale can fail and knowing technology all to well, this is a disaster scenery i'm usually more scared of.

The Tower inferno was fun but tedious, The Tower is fun and exciting.

IT is actually quite a shock, because the movie was incredible well directed, the first act was all too happy and did a good job in presenting the characters, the incident take its time to happen and this is a very good thing because it built suspense.

But...

By the time it happens, this movie is a thrill ride, it will not stop and it will keep you guessing what else is gonna fail, the scenery was breathtaking, the effects are incredible good, this is a big production and Koreans now show they can manage to do big movies like Hollywood, and as much fun as them.

What I most like about this one is the emphasis on the fireman, I always found that profession to be the most honorable of all and this is very well displayed through the movie, they are respected, honored and put into a incredible good light through the movie.

In contrast to American movies, the hero is not saving the day to be a hero, he does not wave flags like Americans, they just do their jobs, it is amazing how good this was captured on screen.

The main leads all do their job very well and although there are some sentimental parts like in the majority of Korean movies, they are handled all too well and they just work.

This movie is amazing, it has all the ingredients of the disaster movies, the director really did a superb job and I am sure you will have lots of fun with it.

It is a copy of The Tower Inferno?, well, yes ! for the most part... SO WHAT?

Americans do tons of re-re-remakes over and over again and nobody complains, it's not fair to do this to the Koreans, they managed to do a better Tower Inferno, by a long margin.

Keep up the good work! Now I am incredible excited about the next production coming out of Korean Soil !

Love it!

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16 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

This rip-off of "The Towering Inferno" (1974) is a big improvement over this director's last film.

8/10
Author: ebossert from United States
11 May 2013

This director's previous film was the poorly made yet watchable trash monster movie entitled "Sector 7" (2011). "The Tower" (2012) is a big improvement in terms of overall quality.

If this isn't an official remake of "The Towering Inferno" (1974), it probably should have been. There are quite a few differences, but the similarities are too numerous to be a coincidence. A Christmas Eve party at a luxury residential building takes a horrific turn when a fire breaks out. The opening half hour has some hit-or-miss humor, but the characters are given color. The incident that causes the fire is unexpected and cool. The terror and panic that quickly follows is also well staged. Thereafter, events move at breakneck speed and there are a number of dangerous, thrilling moments (some of which involve side effects of the fire instead of the fire itself). Direction is impressive and exciting.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that "The Tower" is a better and more entertaining film than "The Towering Inferno." The 1974 film was good but overlong and oddly tedious. This 2012 film has better pacing and more excitement. However, I would recommend watching them back-to-back for a fun, firey evening!

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Korean version of The Towering Inferno, and nearly as fun

7/10
Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
16 May 2013

THE TOWER is nothing more than a modern-day remake of the Irwin Allen disaster classic THE TOWERING INFERNO, updating the storyline with modern technology and modern effects but dealing with exactly the same type of logistical intrigue and scared survivors drama. It's slightly melodramatic, as is the case with a lot of Asian cinema, but it's also highly efficient with it. It may not be up there with the best of the genre, but it's better than the comparable likes of AFTERSHOCK and THE SINKING OF JAPAN.

The narrative takes on a familiar construction with the first half hour building the characters before letting rip with a major accident, then working its way through a series of alternative disaster scenarios. Survivors are fried, dropped, blown up and put into various perilous situations, and it's all handled with more than a modicum of efficiency by director Kim Ji-hoon. It's also well paced and technically efficient, with decent CGI adding to the peril and some well-placed comic relief offsetting the more dramatic moments.

Is THE TOWER original? Not a jot. Is it as good as the original? Not by a long shot. Is it entertaining? Oh yes. It may be no classic, but as modern disaster cinema goes this is one of the better ones you'll find out there.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A Towering Improvement

8/10
Author: jabrbi
3 August 2014

This film is basically a remake of The Towering Inferno post 9-11. There's a twin tower building full of people that catches fire by accident. There's no water available on the critical floors so the fire spreads. There are lots of people trapped inside the building and rescuers doing their best to save them.

Really, you know what you're going to get, there's no surprises, and it all comes down to how well executed the action sequences are and whether we care about the people involved in the tragedy. For me, this film works. Granted it's Korean and subtitles take some of the tension away as your eyes are flicking to the bottom of the screen to see what's bring said. But, this film really works as a 21st Century disaster film.

There's lots of big action sequences, big fires, explosions, burning bodies, falling bodies, tons of special effects. It's all exciting stuff in a very PG sort of way.

Taking advantage of knowledge gained in the 9-11 disaster, we see steel frameworks buckling, people tacking pleas to find their loved ones on nearby walls, burning debris falling from the top of the building; everything that happens to modern buildings when they burn.

My biggest criticism of the film is that there are too many characters. The film takes 30 minutes before the fire starts and in that time we meet the maintenance manager and his child, the restaurant manager, the head chef, the incompetent chef, the incompetent chef's girlfriend, the maintenance manager's friend, the rookie fireman, the fireman sergeant, the work obsessed fireman, the lottery winner, the Christian, the mother of a college student, the college student, the building manager, the building owner, the snooty woman and her dog, and so on and so on. Really, there are just too many. Cutting the number down and shortening the introduction would have improved this film a lot, allowing us to care more for fewer characters.

Whilst most of the film is deadly serious, there is some light relief provided to make the film more watchable - two hours of relentless disaster is just too depressing. In particular, the character of the fireman sergeant is likable, comical, but still very serious in his actions. My favourite moment comes when he prays for, and gets, a tsunami, dozens of floors up the building.

I can't imagine this film being made in America, post 9-11, and many Americans may find it too distressing to watch but, as a reboot of the disaster film genre, it's great success.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Fun But Could Have Been Better

6/10
Author: TheFilmGuy1 from Canada
4 May 2014

I went in to this expecting a fun and cheesy disaster flick, and I got that. I just wish it had been done a little better. The first 30 minutes is all character development, which I didn't mind that much. My only issue would be the cheesy comedic relief characters, which continue to attempt to be funny in a film containing lots of drama and disaster, which I felt is not good for a film like this. I appreciate black comedy, but this just felt like it was trying to make us laugh for the sake of laughing, and it didn't mix well with the rest of the serious events in the film. There was some melodrama for sure, as there is with a lot of Korean movies, but it felt like it had it's place in this movie. I must mention the CGI, because generally with Asian films I think the CGI is lacking, but this one actually did quite a good job. I think the film could have been shortened, because I found myself losing interest at some points even though there was action occurring, and that is due to the length. I think if these little flaws were fixed, it could have been a really fun and enjoyable flick, but I just felt that the flaws weighed it down and made me enjoy it less than I would like to have.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

A Nutshell Review: The Tower

6/10
Author: DICK STEEL from Singapore
24 January 2013

You can't help but to think of and compare this to the 1974 movie The Towering Inferno, given the many similarities between the two films. One of my favourite big budgeted spectacle of a disaster type movie from the 70s, this Korean version written by Kim Sang-Don settles for similar set action pieces, from the parties, to the incidents, to some of the solutions, while adding some of the inherent melodrama from Korea, coupled with a very stark, and rather there for laughs, portrayal of those with religious faith. It is a decent attempt, but one that wasn't out there first.

Director Kim Ji-Hoon had crafted a decent film that's paced right for a disaster epic of this scale, balancing the ensemble characters with scenes for each to shine in, while priming caricatures for certain death, as you would expect for the body count to rise. Set action pieces were commendably designed, from massive fire fighting, to rescue missions, and moments where characters find themselves in dead end situations, given the set up from early on within the first ten minutes outlining areas where challenges would be dished out, from non- working sprinklers to weather advice that goes defiantly unheeded. Naturally, there's the usual karma and retribution elements being weaved in, with room to showcase heroism and sacrifice. And given the subject matter there's also the educational element when criticizing mass panic that leads people to do the most irrational things, rather than what's right in the various scenario presented.

And this film is no less star-studded than its Hollywood counterpart too, spearheaded by Song Ye-Jin as Yun-Hee the restaurant manager making her rounds in preparation for a Christmas Eve party, as does the single dad and tower operations manager Dae-Ho (Kim Sang-Kyung), who also forms the complimentary beau for Yun Yee, with daughter Ha-Na (Jo Min-Ah) in tow that lends that father-daughter angle especially when the two loves of his life get stuck in the building, leading to a sort of rescue objective of sorts. Then there's the play up of the fire department, from courageous captain Kang Young-Ki (Sol Kyung-Gu), to Do Ji- Han playing a rookie fire fighter and Kim In-Kwon as another unlikely fire fighter here to provide some light comic relief.

But while this film has a number of characters rotating through the scenes for their individual spotlight moments, the characterization's much left to be desired, and ultimately you don't really feel nor connect with their plight that much. Unlike the Hollywood version where you really feel for the various characters, and get your adrenaline pumping with each death- defying situation they have to face and overcome in order to survive, Kim Ji-Hoon didn't manage to elicit the same genuine feelings. You hardly root for the characters nor feel a tinge of sadness to those who had to fall, and for those who deserve some just desserts, they get largely forgotten in the thick of things. Lee Han-Wi who plays a church elder celebrating Christmas with his mini congregation was also a character played for laughs, where every moment of prayer becomes answered not by divine intervention, but intervention through coincidence nonetheless.

In order to differentiate itself and pose a larger challenge, the tower here refers to the fictional Tower Sky buildings, with two massive skyscrapers reaching for the sky, reflecting on the obsession of architects who pander to the competition of having the tallest building in whichever modern city, and linked together through a glass bridge that you know is nothing more than a set up for something later on in the movie. Even though it's fictional, with reliance on CG to provide the illusion of scale and mass, the tower does become a character in itself, though in less successful terms if compared against the Hollywood original. CG was also obviously used in many of the disaster scenes, such as having choppers crash onto the facade and through into the building to become the catalyst. But CG cannot be used to replace solid story-telling, which is that little trip up that The Tower had suffered at various points where scenes felt disparate and transitions didn't gel too well.

But The Tower has its moments and would thrill the new film goer who hasn't seen The Towering Inferno, but to those who have, this Korean version hardly throws up something new nor surprising, coming off as a shallower knock off that could have done a lot better with the material and resources at its disposal. Still, it did good business at the Korean box office, and

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This is going to end badly

7/10
Author: tenshi_ippikiookami
24 October 2016

High, but-really-too-high, building, check. A Christmas party, check. Too many people, check. Bad weather, but we don't care because the party is more important, check. Security measures not taken care of because, really, what is going to happen?, check. Father with little child that is in love with a co-worker, check. An experienced fireman that should not be working but-actually-really-has-to, check. Some people that just seem to be there to sacrifice themselves for the tearful moment, check.

For anything else, lots of explosions.

"The Tower" is what the title says: A tower. On fire. With lots of people inside. The plot is kept to a minimum: people running around, things exploding, glass breaking, jumps, and an angel. From the very beginning you can probably tell to yourself what is going to happen, and probably even in which order. The characters are cartoon-ish, the effects just OK, and you probably have seen anything that happens a million times.

Then, what makes "The Tower" so much fun? For starters it keeps things happening non-stop, so the two hours feel like a breeze (yes, even if everything is on fire). The acting is good, and you have lots of famous actors doing a really good job with the simple material they are handed: stern leader, comic relief, protective worker, desperate father, selfish major... And the direction is good and has a clear focus. All of this works to make a movie that is really fun and that will keep the viewer on the edge of their seat.

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stop whining about tower inferno

10/10
Author: Hani Yassine
23 September 2016

this film is really good all actors are good and the story is very good , i personally like disaster movies and this one got me people here are complaining and giving bad ratings because its a copy of tower inferno i mean tower inferno was released in 1974 the filming quality back then was so bad so why not make another movie same story with good quality and better destruction effect ... today most gamer video games you like to play first person shooter games for example and you play the same game but different release every year and you don't complain about it even though it's the same concept which is shooting in different scenarios and if you are not gamer then you can take Xfactor show as example each year same thins which is singing ... so in my opinion watching a same story film after 38 years is totally fine by me i mean in this duration a new generation is born and it's there right to enjoy the movie in 2012 like you enjoyed it back in 1974...

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A raging inferno 108 floors tall...

7/10
Author: Paul Magne Haakonsen from Denmark
24 December 2015

If you enjoy disaster movies and found enjoyment in "Backdraft" then you should most definitely sit down and watch the South Korean movie "The Tower" (aka "Ta-weo"), because it far outshines "Backdraft".

The story is about a disaster striking at a celebration in twin skyscrapers in South Korea. A group of people are trapped in the burning skyscraper and time is running out as the fire spreads like an ever-consuming hunger and the structure of the building is starting to give way. Firefighters struggle against impossible odds to save those trapped in the towering inferno.

I will say that there are many similarities to the tragic events of 9-11, and as such, I don't doubt that not everyone will find enjoyment in "The Tower", or might actually find it distasteful. I, however, saw it as entertainment, nothing more, nothing less. It is only a movie after all.

The CGI effects in "The Tower" were phenomenal and came off as quite realistic and believable. And that would be a deal breaker had the CGI been bad. A movie such as "The Tower" is heavily reliant on CGI effects for obvious reasons.

There was a good flow to the storyline and director Kim Ji-Hoon managed to put together a captivating story and movie.

The acting was good from everyone on the cast list, which really did help add to the overall enjoyment of the movie.

"The Tower" is well-worth watching, even if you don't particularly like Asian cinema.

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