Save yourself, unless you want to be convertedIt seems like the English language moviegoer here may have faced a perfect storm of bad conditions for the months of August and September.
First, it can be hard to find new Korean releases that are subtitled in English. On top of that, the English language films seem to be coming from the bottom of the barrel.
In the U.S., August and September have the misfortune of being months that fall in between the summer blockbuster period and the beginning of the Oscar race in the fall. Thus, the studios mostly release the worst of the worst, the films that they are trying to cut their losses on, knowing that the masses will pay something to see them, since movies are a good time waster, and are air conditioned.
In Korea, not only are recent American films dropped on cinemas here, so are some of the real “winners” from years past.
A case in point is the fact that I’m reviewing the film “Fireproof,” which lands in Korean theaters this week. It came out just over a year ago in the U.S., and to little acclaim. It stars Kirk Cameron, fairly well known in the U.S. for his role on the coming-of-age TV series “Growing Pains,” though he’s more recently known for his participation in the film adaptations of the Christian book series “Left Behind,” which has given him a reputation as something of a conservative, religious, right-wing wing nut.
Fireproof will in no way serve to help fix that image. In addition to being a poorly scripted and poorly shot film, it views with condescension all the characters who do not give themselves up to God, and it is in no way subtle about this.
It tells the story of a married couple - firefighter Caleb (Cameron) and hospital executive Catherine (Erin Bethea) - who don’t get along so well. When Catherine says she “wants out” of their marriage, Caleb agrees to the divorce. By this early point in the movie, I wanted out, too.
Caleb’s father reveals that he and Caleb’s mother once went through a similar ordeal but obviously made things work. He gives Caleb a book outlining a 40-day course that will teach him how to win his wife back. If you guessed that it involves Caleb finding God, congratulations, Sherlock.
No, Fireproof does not try to hide the fact that it’s nothing but proselytizing propaganda. To make things worse, in a film that you might reasonably expect to have some cool firefighting scenes, there’s only one. And it sucks.
Basically, there is only one possible audience for this film: Christians, and potential Christians. Which I guess explains why it’s coming out in South Korea.
Until seeing Fireproof, I never imagined myself saying this, but if you need to see a new movie this week, maybe you should check out “The Ugly Truth.”
Christian / English
Kirk Cameron fights fires - and his wife - in the ultra-preachy “Fireproof.” [MovieWeb]
By Andrew Siddons [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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