Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

LOST IN TRANSLATION - SAY THAT AGAIN?





The Guard Post (GP506) (2008) South Korea

This is one of the better movies that I didn't understand much of at all. Let me clarify that. This movie had a lot of the makings of a good movie - interesting storyline, tense drama, virus outbreak type of horror with a zombie here and there, the gore was pretty good, and there's a good mystery of what was happening and why. The problem was that the version I saw was, of course, dubbed into English - and a MAJOR problem was that this Netflix offering was missing half of the dialogue. 

That means the first half of the sentences were shown and - you had to guess the rest. Unless you know some Korean, this was impossible and very, very frustrating. Others who saw it said the dubbing was oversimplified - I just wish it was present. So if I rely on the wiki description of the movie a bit please don't think I'm getting lazy - I just didn't get some of what was happening. And that gets bloody irritating after 111 minutes.

The movie starts by telling us a little about the outpost on the South/North Korean border. It is inside the DMZ, you stay for three months without being allowed leave, you are always fully armed and that these posts are a remnant from the Cold War. Simple enough. Now:

A group of MPs break into one of the guard posts and find a bloodbath and a bunch of dismembered corpses of soldiers. They then find a guy in his skivvies holding an ax, laughing like a madman. They put him under arrest and then try to solve what the hell happened at GP506. Sergeant Major Noh is assigned to find out, and make it quiet 'cause they don't want spread that a member of their military was a psycho. The guy with the ax is now in a coma and the only survivor, and Noh has until the morning to find out what happened before they come in and 'clean' everything to cover it up. Figures.

A message in blood on one wall reads 'Kill all of them'. He tells the crew he's been given to find the answer to the puzzle and hurry it up - and he will be in command from there. They find a birthday cake with a soldier's dog tags inside among the bodies. So he believes the man in a coma must be Corporal Kang. The group then has the task of searching the whole bunker for clues. 

They have to because there are 21 men stationed at the bunker, but all of the bodies (and extra parts) only add up to 19. Even with a recount (that must have been a lot of fun) they still count 19. Two of them try to quiet the bunker's guard dogs and it bites him. At this point I think okay, we've either got a zombie virus or one of those super-rabies things like in the movie Quarantine.

This is where I started to get confused (easy for me to do in the best of circumstances) because the story switches between the stories of the previous soldiers and the soldiers currently there. It's not 'cause I'm prejudiced or anything - it's just that they're all in uniform, all sport the same haircuts and black hair, and like I mentioned, half the dialogue is missing. Oh and I'm an idiot too, so that doesn't help. So I'll identify it as Troop 1 and Troop 2, 'kay?

Troop 1: Private Cho is looking for a guard dog that won't shut up. That's their job, isn't it? He doesn't heed the smart animal's warning though and it gets away from him. The barking becomes a yelp, then silence. He finds fellow soldier Ma busily chewing his way through the dog.

Troop 2: Noh finds that all weapons are in the armory, a no-no as the above 'rules' stated. And they find another soldier, alive and waving a knife, scared to death. After feeding him he says he's 1st Lt. Yoo, son of the army chief and demanding to be sent back to base (pulling rank because you're privileged seems to be universal. After contacting his superior Noh finds they want him to bring the Lt. back despite the investigation not being complete. He decides to ignore that (so much for his career) and hangs up. He then finds Yoo, who was supposed to be under guard, ripping pages out of his journal (so much for the MP's career too). But (to get the movie going along I guess) he decides to let Yoo and another soldier leave by jeep. DUH.

Noh watches footage from a camcorder found on site. It shows the soldiers of 506 celebrating someone’s birthday, and suddenly the recording is written over, to show Cpl. Kang. He's gonna kill everyone and then himself. Meanwhile the doc is bagging and tagging bodies to transport them - but due to heavy rain, there's a landslide and he has to go back.

Troop 1: We find the troops doing what bored soldiers do - stupid stuff. Kang is showing off a large machine gun and it goes off - causing the North Korean soldier in their own bunker to fire back. Peace is restored but the soldiers are all punished. In the journal it's noted that while Kang is a prankster, he's not evil. So Noh (Troop 2) has no idea why he'd go on a rampage. 

We then see several of Troop 1 who traveled out into the woods (they don't say why) and come back sick - without one of their number. They don't remember what happened - and that's when we see that some strange rash is developing on them - one even starts to drool something yellow (and disgusting) and his body creaks like it's made of wood. Ma decides to put them in the brig but before he can, the troops say they found the missing soldier - cut to pieces. While the men lock up their buddies, one overhears Yoo telling headquarters nothing's wrong - massive duh.

Troop 2: (Are you getting dizzy or is it just me?) Doc returns with the bodies and Kang goes into a coma and dies. The jeep with Yoo in it also returns but he refuses to get out of it. After dragging him out and questioning him it is found that the men started to go, well, nutzoid. One was asked to fix the pipes in the showers and was found determinedly turning his hand into paste with a wrench. And the scars developed in to a... bubbling thing that spread out over their whole bodies. 

One dead 'bubbly' guy walked around but when he didn't attack a soldier he came face to face with, they determine they must all be infected. Another bubbly dead dude is run over (repeatedly) by an ambulance (I don't know if that was Troop 1 or 2, sorry) until he's in two pieces - but the top piece still attacks another soldier until his head is blown off (apparently that's the only way these things 'die', like zombies). And they also discover that the, whatever it is, goes dormant, leaving the person to look normal for a time so - who's friend and who's foe?

This goes on for quite a while between the two troop stories and I'm getting lost again. The bottom line, I think, is that the privileged soldier is the one who caused the mess by hallucinating while ill and murdering someone - for which he was NOT going to let anyone take him down for so he arranges for the murder of all his comrades. Nice. But is the virus real? Apparently, and so is the increasing madness of both Troops. It begins to sound like a real nasty soap opera and if you don't follow carefully, you'll lose the storyline real easily. Which I did several times.

What it comes down to, finally, is that Troop 1 are all dead. Troop 2 are infected and starting to turn on each other. When Noh figures it all out he sets the guard post to explode and burn, killing whatever virus this is (which they never do give a source of or explain it). The troops cut him down, one survives but when he starts to open the door... Noh had booby trapped it and the whole thing explodes just as Troop 3 arrives to find out what the hell's been happening.

The final scene shows Kang's message on the camcorder. He explains there's a mysterious disease that causes rashes. 'It makes you violent and attack people, then becomes dormant. We should all be dead. If you find any survivors, kill them'. The tape then shows him with the birthday cake and a bag of weapons and we hear gunfire and screaming. And trust me, this is only a small part of what happens in this film. It. Was. Exhausting.