South Korea has been the hot button of world cinema for the past few years, with films such as Oldboy and Shiri stirring up the jaded palates of rabid fanboy and casual moviegoer alike. Given the rush of attention and hunger for continued product from the area, it's perhaps inevitable that a dog will occasionally slip by.

Unfortunately, Typhoon feels like just such a canine. A native blockbuster (and, at an estimated budget of $15 million, the largest film in the country's history), director Kwak Kyung-taek's movie certainly aims high, but its low-impact bombastics just suggest Bruckheimer, anesthetized.

Following the hijacking of a cargo ship, a clean-cut South Korean Navy man is assigned to follow a charismatic North Korean pirate suspected in the crime. As he begins to form a reluctant bond with his prey, he catches wind of a plot to seed an upcoming typhoon with nuclear goop, potentially laying waste to the entire country. The possibilities in a nuke-fueled natural disaster are tantalizing (Godzilla fans may be forgiven for recalling the origin of Hedorah, AKA the Smog Monster), but the larger stakes are quickly shoved aside in favor of tired espionage gimmicks and sub–John Woo male bonding. Toss in some major structural and narrative deficiencies (foreign movie viewers are a necessarily forgiving bunch when it comes to translation snafus, but having the bulk of significant plot points delivered in an incomprehensibly accented, nonsubtitled voiceover is just unpardonable, particularly in an import handled by a major studio), and the results hardly warrant more than a shrug. The U.S. already generates too much of this sort of thing.