In lieu of the lumbering beasts familiar from Japanese monster movies, Bong and his effects team fashioned a slimy, fast-moving fish with legs, able to wreak havoc on a smaller, more thrilling scale. And yet it’s arguably the least of the hero’s problems, given the outrageous institutional negligence and incompetence on display throughout the movie. Come for the virtuosic mayhem, stay for the bitter political commentary.
The film has a visceral kick, and an exhilarating high, to match the memory of what it was to see Jaws (1975) on a big screen during its first release. Except that Bong is a much more interesting and intricate director than Spielberg will ever be; and his collaboration with Bae adds a dimension that no American blockbuster can even approach.