R-Point

"OK"

R-Point Review


A Vietnam War ghost story? Why not? We're all haunted by that epic disaster, so why not channel our trauma through a grisly campfire tale? In this case, it's a tale told from the perspective of a Korean platoon that's sent off to a remote and spooky island code-named R-Point to search for another platoon that disappeared six months earlier. Scary!

A wise-cracking group of eight soldiers led by a not quite mentally fit lieutenant (Woo-seong Kam) board a small Apocalypse Now-style boat, chug to the island, disembark, snap a group photo, and head off into the woods.

Before long they come across a huge abandoned colonial-style mansion from which they've been told radio signals from their lost comrades have been emanating. But there's no one around, and the night brings scary sounds, a mysterious vision of a beautiful young Vietnamese woman, and an overall case of heebie-jeebies. Eventually a group of American soldiers passes through, and we're treated to the acting talents of a guy who must be the only African-American actor in Korea. (He stinks.) His message: Leave this haunted place at once, or else.

Sure enough, as soon as the soldiers start to explore nearby cemeteries, temples, and caves, they start to get murdered one by one. Soon any message about Vietnam or war is lost as the movie takes on all the typical Asian horror trappings but with very little logic or explanation. Are we dealing with angry ghosts? Living assassins? Viet Cong? No one's sure, and it becomes hard to keep track of who's who and what's what. Because the soldiers are dressed identically and almost always wear helmets, it's almost impossible to distinguish one from another, especially as your eyes dart from their faces to the subtitles and back. Is Private #1 a ghost? Hard to say. He looks just like Private #3. Wait... that's Private #2.

This confusion continues right to the end, a bloodbath of paranoia during which everyone suspects everyone else of being either a ghost or a murderer. It's a room full of crazy and well-armed Martin Sheens, and much blood is spilled, splattered, and sprayed.

R-Point does deserve at least a small nod for style. The film looks great, with truly spooky landscapes that are as disturbing during the daylight as they are at night. One scene in which a private stumbles upon a pond full of submerged corpses is especially spine-tingling. But the style doesn't compensate for a lack of substance. These guys could be hunters or hikers. The war story falls apart, and we're left only with scared people running around in the dark being chased by the boogeyman... maybe.

And the R-point is?



R-Point

Facts and Figures

Run time: 107 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th August 2004

Distributed by: Tartan Films

Production compaines: CN Film

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
Fresh: 6 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Su-Chang Kong

Producer: Kang-hyeok Choi

Starring: Kam Wu-seong as Lieutenant Choi Tae-in, Park Won-sang as Sergeant Cook, Jin-ho Song as Sergeant Oh, Byeong-cheol Kim as Corporal Joh Byung-hoon, Yeong-dong Mun as Corporal Byun, Ju-bong Gi as Captain Park, David Joseph Anselmo as James, Oh Tae-kyung as Sergeant Jang Young-soo, Lee Sun-Kyun as Sergeant Park, GyeongHo Jeong as Corporal Lee Jae-pil, Son byeong-ho as Sergeant Jin Chang-rok

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