R-Point (2004) Movie Review
Written By: VB
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Kong Su-chang
Producers: Choi Kang-hyeok, Chang Yoon-hyun
Writer: Kong Su-chang
Date Released: August 13, 2004
Kam Woo-sung as Lt. Choi Tae-in
Son Byong-ho as Sgt. Jin Chang-rok
Park Sang-won as Sgt. Cook
Lee Sun-kyun as Sgt. Park
Oh Tae-kyung as Sgt. Jang Young-soo
Son Jin-ho as Sgt. Oh
Mun Yeong-dong as Corporal Byun Moon-sub
Jeong Kyeong-ho as Corporal Lee Jae-pil
Kim Byeong-cheok as Corporal Joh Byung-hoon
Gi Ju-bong as Capt. Park
Ahn Nae-sang as Capt. Kang
Rating = 2.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
In 1972, during the Vietnam War, veteran soldier Lieutenant Choi Tae-in was still recovering from the loss of his crew to the war when he was called by his commanding officer for a special task. With a stellar army background, the commanding officer tasked him to lead the search and retrieval operations of the soldiers who were deployed six months ago and went missing in a military base known as Romeo Point or R-Point. As the group of nine carries out the mission, they soon find that more sinister things are at play in the middle of the jungle.
For a movie set during the tail end of the Vietnam war, R-Point is absent of the blood and the carnage that anyone is right to expect in this type of film. Yet, this is also exactly why the movie’s two only gory scenes emerge effective. First, the film has created a slow and steady atmosphere of horror that is well-played and controlled. It doesn’t go over the top with the fear factor but maintains a certain level of creep enough to keep viewers on their toes and anticipate what’s going to happen next. From the beginning, nobody has an inkling of what to expect except that for each turn of the sequence there seems to be a foreboding terror stalking them and waiting for them by the bend. Then, the film surprises viewers with a completely unsuspected bloodbath scene where one of the soldiers gets splattered with human blood all over to his utter trauma. Think Carrie (1976) but with more blood and less prom. The other gory scene isn’t as splendid and theatrical as this one, but the manner of its doing is certainly gore.
The Grave Review
R-Point (2004) spins the classic narrative of wars and soldier brawls to a story that departs from ruthless killings and piling dead bodies. The film plays with the idea of a supernatural existence within the bounds of a machismo setting– the army. The story isn’t out of the ordinary if you consider it, but how it pans out is a bit refreshing. A group of soldiers who each have their own personality and ego to match, out on a mission to find their missing comrades, and then things start to look amiss. What makes the story colorful is how each character is different from the other and how they couldn’t seem to get along, each trying to outdo the other.. We see this characterization from the earlier parts of the film up to the very end. To an effect, it offers a glimpse into the lives of soldiers at war. It can also be noted that their unmistakable male bravado and playful banter helped shape the next events of the film.
To an extent, the mannerisms that each character portrays helps to make the ultimate conflict in this story more enticing. In R-Point (2004), nobody wants to believe what the other is saying, some even keeping secrets, accusations of such, and the good old personal agenda that isn’t surprising at all– just some of the things that are critical of being a part of an organization like the army. There is mistrust when there should be none. To put it bluntly, there is a good deal that hasn’t been said, doesn’t want to be said, and gone astray in the miscommunication of the team. It’s a strong formula for a horror film, but also can be extended to the realistic settings of the army to a certain degree.
However, like the missing soldiers in the film, there is also a lot that gets lost in the storytelling of R-Point (2004). There are too many cracks and holes to be filled in. The way the horror holds up is interesting enough, alright, but there is a ruckus of plot lines that are all trying to be relevant in the general scheme of things. Since the setting of the story is in an old mansion in the middle of the jungle that serves as a military base, it’s almost a given that the walls of this place have witnessed too many terrors and tortures than the film could talk about. That being said, the haunting is implied in the first place, but as to who and why is never explicitly specified. The film is overflowing with plot devices, that in the end, it’s like a mess of tangled hairs; you never see how everything is connected, and it’s so knotted up you don’t even know what to make of it. The viewers are left to themselves to connect the dots.
Since the movie is Korean, it’s hard to debate whether the subtitles aren’t properly translated or that the dialogue isn’t superb in the first place. There’s no depth in the exchanges between characters, and that sort of makes the script elementary in this case. There is also a bit of pain in distinguishing the actors from each other, which is where their diverse personalities somehow helped. Lastly, the point-of-view of the stalker a la Predator (1987) doesn’t work and comes off as weak and unnecessary.
R-Point (2004) offers not so much of a shocker as a horror film. Others may enjoy its slumber state of horror depiction, and others may cringe at the messy plot delivery.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives R-Point (2004) two and one-half graves out of five graves.
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