FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: The Tower (2012)


I’m a Wayne Stellini and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is The Tower (타워) 

CJ Entertainment

On Christmas Eve, a helicopter crashes into a luxury skyscraper, trapping an assortment of partygoers and residents inside. It’s a race against time as firefighters climb to the upper levels and the tower’s structure begins to succumb to the intense heat…

Disaster movies flourished in the 1970s, beginning with Airport (1970), and ruled by ‘Master of Disaster’ producer Irwin Allen, who was responsible for the genre’s masterpieces The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and The Towering Inferno (1974). A number of recent films have contributed to the catalogue of disaster epics, but none have come close to matching the X factor of the aforementioned classics.

Unsurprisingly, Kim Ji-hoon‘s The Tower owes much to The Towering Inferno. The screenplay’s structure mirrors its Hollywood muse, introducing an array of characters, many of whom are not given more than what their archetypical constraints permits, and isolates them in a burning building. Not all characters are accessible, but those that are add to the tension of the film as everyone’s life is on the line here.

Central to the story is busy single father Kim Sang-kyung, as Tower Sky’s manager Lee Dae-ho. He is in love with Seo Yoon-hee, the skyscraper’s restaurant manager, played by the stunning Son Ye-jin. It is their love for one another and protection of Dae-ho’s daughter Ha-na (Jo Min-ah) that contributes to a number of touching moments and intense action sequences. There are other characters that are worth investing in as well, such as rookie firefighter Lee Seon-woo (Do Ji-han) and Captain Kang Young-ki (Sol Kyung-gu). But not all are worth getting to know; it is perhaps no accident that the wealthiest and most socially powerful characters are the least interesting.

The Tower is also funnier than you would expect, mainly because of Jeon Bae-soo as cook Young-chul; his light touches are a welcome relief. The sentiment is a little overplayed at times (especially in the final act), hindering the momentum of some incredible action sequences: the helicopter smashing into the Tower Sky, panicked people rushing into and being trapped in a lift, crossing the sky bridge… the list goes on!

And this is where The Tower proves itself worthy of the admission ticket or DVD purchase. As an action piece, it is incredibly photographed, framed, and edited; there is no denying that the film is always good to look at. Overall, it’s an entertaining flick that found favour at its domestic box office.

The Master of Disaster himself would approve. 4 / 5


Starring: Sol Kyung-gu (설경구), Kim Sang-kyung (김상경), Son Ye-jin (손예진), Kim In-kwon (김인권), Ahn Sung-ki (안성기), Song Jae-ho (송재호), Lee Han-wi (이한위).

Director: Kim Ji-hoon (김지훈) | Producers: Lee Han-seung, Lee Su-man | Writers: Kim Sang-don, Heo Jun-seok (adapted by Kim Ji-hoon,Yoo Young-ah, Lee Min-jae) | Music: Kim Tae-seong | Cinematographer: Kim Young-ho | Editor: Kim Sang-bum, Kim Jae-bum

Available: DVD.

Let us know what you thought of this film in the comments!


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