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This lacklustre disaster flick should have been so good: it features tremendously good special effects scenes of 100-metre high waves tearing through a city, laying waste to anything and everything in their path. These scenes alone are among some of the best bits I've ever watched in the whole disaster genre; destruction and mayhem on a massive scale, with carefully-crafted CGI bringing the chaos to full and authentic life.
It's a shame, then, that the surrounding movie is so poor. Tidal Wave takes an hour to get to the disaster stuff, and until that time we're treated to Korean comedy. Now, I don't mind a bit of comedy, the quirkier the better; THE HOST had a lot of fun moments. But this comedy is something else, the comedy of ridiculous characters behaving ridiculously, almost on a sub-slapstick standard. The over-the-top acting is absolutely appalling; I avoid American comedies on principle but this is even worse than those.
Of course, disaster movies always have to build up to the disaster, and I fully understand the need to develop the characters before dropping them in the clag. But, in my mind, the film should always be about the disaster, even before it occurs: have characters making warnings that are unheeded, or build suspense and foreboding with minor events preceding it. DANTE'S PEAK is a case in point of how to achieve this. TIDAL WAVE sits in a completely different, and entirely superfluous, genre until the actual disaster occurs.
Once the chaos gets underway, things get a lot better, although there's a reliance on overwrought melodrama which will test the patience of even the most hardened viewer, I imagine. Endless scenes of characters facing death, drawn out in painful slow-motion and with maximum crying, screaming, sobbing and telling each other they love them. Such scenes are a personal pet hate of mine, and they threaten to overwhelm the film even when the going gets good. It's a real shame, as with access to those special effects TIDAL WAVE could have, and should have, been a true great.
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