The Theater: Daehan Cinema, Chungmuro. One of my favorite multiplexes in Seoul, for a variety of reasons. First, it is connected directly to Chungmuro Station, which is a transfer station for Lines 3 and 4, so it is a breeze to get to (important in the current Arctic conditions, unless you are a penguin). Second, when you enter from the subway, the ticket counters are right there. You literally can get off the subway and have tickets in your hands within three minutes during non-busy periods. Third, the theaters are clean, comfortable and plentiful. What more do you want?
The only downside is that the surrounding area is kind of boring, so it’s not the ideal place to do the combination of movie and dinner, unless you are keen on Popeyes, which is very close by. There are some restaurants, of course (this is Seoul, after all), but hardly an amazing selection.
The Film: I was in the mood for a no-nonsense action blast, so I went to this on the basis of the unexpectedly strong reviews out of the States, especially given the fact that Carnahan’s previous films, The A-Team (2010) and Smokin’ Aces (2006) were so reviled [Aside: who didn’t love The A-Team TV series? That was like crack for the 9-year old me when it was on. I basically fantasized about being in that team every single minute of the day following a screening. I haven’t seen the movie and probably never will, because why sully such a cute childhood nostalgic memory].
It’s certainly straight-ahead and no-nonsense, but the gruff testosterone-fuelled exterior mingled with a quasi-profound spiritual crisis the characters undergo is merely window-dressing on a rigidly formulaic, conventional engine. In fact, it almost plays as a miserablist entry in the Final Destination series, such is the clockwork-pattern of how the dangers that spring out of the Alaskan wilderness. It plays well enough, I guess, but in the end it’s pretty hollow and doesn’t have the impact it might have had if it had gone off on a few more narrative tangents.