Starring: Kam Woo-Sung, Sohn Byung-Ho and Oh Tae-Kyung
Tartan Asia Extreme
RRP: 19.99
TVD 3586
Certificate: 18
Available 30 January 2006

Vietnam - 1972. A radio signal to Butterfly from Donkey 30 is received several times over the period of a month. The message comes from a soldier who died in action six months before. A platoon leader with a reputation for bad luck, which normally culminates in people getting killed, leads a group of young and untested soldiers to Romeo Point - the origin of the signal - on the the promise of extended leave when they return. They are told it is not a combat zone so they will be completely safe. After being fired upon by a lone woman, the unit finds a carving on a rock which says, "Those who have blood on their hands will not return." After a war years before, in which many people died, the area is said to be haunted. The soldiers discover this the hard way. One of their men goes missing overnight and is found dead from mutilation and hanging the next morning. When the incident is reported by radio they are called crazy by their superior. The dead man is one of those they'd been sent looking for, and only nine men - not ten - were sent on the mission...

You'd be excused for assuming this was an American film, but it isn't. Riding in on the wave of successful Japanese and other Asian horror comes this wartime ghost story offering from Korea. As the central actor says on the documentary, R-Point places more of an emphasis on the inner struggle carried by the soldiers than explicit horror itself. I would say he's hit the nail right on the head, because although this is undoubtedly a horror flick it's more about how unexpected events seem to conspire to endanger a bunch of frightened men with guns.

Very loosely speaking, this reminds me of a cross between Dog Soldiers and Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians scenario, without ever reaching the heights of either of those. I'm not a fan of war films (I'm admittedly short-sighted in being of the opinion that if you've seen one you've seen them all), but even a hint of the supernatural keeps the plot interesting. It's not very scary, and perhaps a little too long for its limited content, but R-Point does its best within the confines.

As with many films I've reviewed, the extras are much more interesting than the main feature itself. Tartan Asia Extreme, who have released some excellent titles, seem to be confused in this instant about exactly what special features are included on the disc. The packaging lists only sound options, a trailer and a director's commentary. Not mentioned but included on the disc is Mission R-Point (an interesting behind-the-scenes featurette, showing cast and crew filming in temperatures of 40 degrees and above), Broken Radio (describing the sound effects and their impact on the movie), and 1972 Vietnam (investigating the authenticity of clothing and equipment).

Ty Power

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