A woman named Yeon-hee (Ha Ji-won) lives in Busan with her boyfriend Man-sik (Sol Kyung-gu) near Haeundae Beach. But, when they find out a tsunami will hit the city, They realize they only have 10 minutes to escape!
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
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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