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ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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The Host(2006)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Bong Joon-Ho

Starring:
Song Kang-ho/Gang-du
Ko Ah-sung/Hyun-seo
8 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
On one fine day, a giant cross between a frog and a lizard hops out of Han River in Seaoul to gobble up a shitload of people. But the varmint did one mistake, it jawnapped the youngest of the Park family and they'll stop at nothing to get her back.
THE LOWDOWN

It is Lurking Behind You

The Korean made THE HOST was all the rage and a bag of chips at this year's Cannes Film Festival. That's all people were talking about! I didn't get to see it then but I finally got to lasso this bronco now (WTF does that mean?) Did it live up to the hype? YES!

THE HOST worked the dance pole on many levels. First it rocked hard as horror movie with the initial monster attack scenes in particular whopping my skull like nobody's back-hand in its awesome execution and its incredible looking CGI creature. A note on the latter, this had to be the best looking film CG entity since those damn Dinosaurs crashed Jurassic Park. I believed in the baddie and really believed in it when it was running rampant in the streets eating mucho people as it zipped along IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. Quite the sight to behold. I had that "sense of 'wonder" going on there. Felt good! The flick nailed it as a comedy as well. Actually, it went beyond that, it broke new ground in the sense that circumstantial yuk-yuks were often injected within situations that any other film would have aimed to move us with. I was often mislead and then sucker punched with jokes that I didn't see coming.

Which brings me to the wonderful lot of characters populating this madhouse. THE HOST gave us people to root for and care about even though they were flawed as Mustard on a cracker. The chemistry between the Park family members was enchanting and the father (wonderfully played by Song Kang-ho) in particular had me tooting and rooting for him like a porn director coaxing a starlet to gulp more liquids. Finally, if you're a fan of horror acting as a metaphor for current and past political messes, you'll be well served here as the film played up an "Americans come to save the day subplot" to a hilt, resulting in mucho side splitting yet mean spirited scenarios. Arrow sings: America, F*CK YEAH! Coming again, to save the mother fucking day yeah!

Any peeves? A few. The film did go on for too long. An easy 10 minutes could've been shaved off this hog's back within the middle section as it got a pinch redundant. I mean how many times can you witness some dude escape from a hospital to then get captured again? Once was enough! The same can be said about the ending that went on and on and on as it left no stone unturned. I liked the first ending the best, the 3 or 4 that followed I could've done without. All in all though, I have to high five and hit where its due and its certainly due here. THE HOST was a monster movie with heart, soul, laughs, scares and characters that you I just couldn't help but fall in love with. Now if only the girls I date would sport the same attributes...if only. SWALLOW THIS MONSTER!

GORE
The film wasn't too gory, although the sight of peeps being swallowed whole by the monster was somewhat disturbing. We also get some light blood and skeletal remains. Big props to FX company The Orphanage for their fantastic looking creature.
ACTING
Song Kang-ho (Gang-du) was awesome as the shlep dad who you can't help but root for anyways. Ko Ah-sung (Hyun-seo) was cute as button and played fear well. Its hould be said that the whole Park clan were played by solid actors and so were the "ugly Americans"...those dudes had me in stitches!
T & A
The monster was naked and he had a big tail. Do with that what you will.
DIRECTING
Bong Joon-Ho directed with flair and a penchant for whoop-ass. Arresting imagery galore, awesome milking of momentum and an equal talent at playing up creepy and funny, I was signed, sealed and gobbled up.
SOUNDTRACK
We're treated to a powerful and impeccable score that backed up the images like the lizard backs up my pants when its turned into a belt.
BOTTOM LINE

Its not everyday that you see a movie pull off such a juggling act; horror, comedy, drama but THE HOST made it work and by result was quite the memorable arm wrestling match. Although derivative of countless other genre films, it pulled in its elements in such a fresh way that it all felt incredibly original. Sure the flick was at least 10 minutes too long and the ending dragged a tad but that was a small price to pay for all the goodies that were bursting out of this bad-reptile. See it when and if you can! NOTE:  I have a feeling those snags will be corrected once a US distributor gets its paws on it...just a gut feeling.

BULL'S EYE
The film's Korean title is Gwoemul.

There's already talks of an American remake. Of course there is!
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