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May 14, 2007 | by  | in Film |
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The Host

An America military base in South Korea dumps chemicals into the Han River, which creates a mutant lizard amphibian that goes on a killing spree. A young girl, Hyun-seo, is taken by the monster (for later devouring); her dysfunctional family must come together to save her. Her elderly father is a widower named Hee-bong who owns a sandwich /convenience stand. The dim slacker, but devoted father Gang-du, does a poor job of helping run the stand. Nam-joo her aunt, a champion archer is always being disqualified for taking to long too shoot. Nam-il, her uncle a former student radical is angry he gave so much to fighting the dictatorship only to be thrown on the scrap heap by the liberal capitalism that replaced it. Their main obstacle in rescuing Hyun-seo is not the mutant but the Korean-American authorities that want to blame the origin of the creature on an exotic virus. The Government takes pointless and harmful measures to combat the situation. This all climaxes with a mass protest of the Korean population at the handling of the crisis.

The Host is very much like the original Godzilla, partially as a political statement. Where Godzilla dealt with Japanese misgivings about the nuclear technology, The Host has much to say about the role America imperialism has had on the Korea peninsular. It is also packed with great actors who can move from the pathos of family tragedy to dark slapstick comedy seamlessly.

This is one of the best family drama, comedy, political, monster films ever made. When so few films can pull off even one of those genres, it is pure joy to watch The Host bring them all together so well.

JOON-HO BONG

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