Storyline let down by chaos

Sunny Tse
Sunny Tse |

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by Sunny Tse

If you can't stand how slow and sentimental Japanese films can be, skip this review.

Pandemic, yet another 'deadly disease kills millions' story, is a big letdown, and a waste of a very relevant plot at a time when swine flu threatens. Not even the usually brilliant Satoshi Tsumabuki can salvage this disaster.

Tsumabuki plays an ER doctor, Matsuoka, who wrongly sends the first victim of an unknown disease home. When the patient returns to the hospital, it's too late to save him or stop the disease from spreading.

Anyone who remembers Sars knows the drill: everybody panics, the infected are quarantined, officers from WHO arrive, people die. It's down to Matsuoka to travel to a remote country, find the source of the disease and develop the vaccine.

The are some inspiring, touching scenes, like when the courageous, self-sacrificing medical staff volunteer to stay in the hospital, and how different families deal with the outbreak.

But these are not enough to make up for the chaos. Whether it's the scene of hysterical people begging for treatment or angry villagers blaming the suspected source, there are just too many unnecessary details. The zombie scenes are too exaggerated to be taken seriously and just a joke.

This film drags. Despite its intentions, it is in no way in the same league as I am Legend and 28 Days Later. Only bother if you're a patient Tsumabuki fan.