Typhoon Kwak Kyung-taek

Lest people think that only Hollywood can make big soulless action entertainment, here comes Typhoon to suggest that South Korea can do even worse. Clearly and mindlessly patterned after the worst of American blockbusters, it manages to be shallow and offensive while bypassing the most cursory adherence to logic and character development.

The heavy, Choi Myung Sin (Jang Don Gun), is a one-time North Korean applicant for South Korean asylum; having been turned down (and subsequently hounded in the north), he has a bone to pick with Korea and is plotting some massive disaster to destroy the two nations.

He, of course, is pursued by Kang Se-jong (Lee Jung-jae), the white bread navy lieutenant enlisted to stop Sin’s nefarious plans. The only problem is that Sin is a more charismatic figure with a better back-story and a less mealy-mouthed role — though it doesn’t matter, as the writers will let things happen no matter how impossible and juice up the North Korean hate-on.

There’s a sense that the film is a seamless piece of CGI picture making just like its Yankee counterparts but even the most doltish Hollywood epic would at least be consistent in its idiocy — here things happen purely to generate crises, meaning the authorities do stupid things to encourage Sin’s rage while people are rescued under conditions so dangerous that nobody could survive them.

The law of diminishing returns is proven correct: as American culture passes its torch of stupidity, it dims in the hands of those who ineptly pick it up. Even the most diehard Asia Extreme fan will be annoyed by its flagrant contempt for audience intelligence. (Paramount Classics)