After more than two months, cinemas have finally reopened. There were four premiere titles, plus F9, whose playback had been interrupted. Which one should you watch first? The majority will mention The Suicide Squad, but for me, the answer is Escape from Mogadishu. Ryoo Seung-wan’s latest work (The Berlin File, Veteran, The Battleship Island) the South Korean blockbuster master, reminds how theatrical experience can be so emotional and thrilling, that it cannot be replaced by any medium.
1991, Mogadishu, Somalia. South Korea, represented by the ambassador, Han Sin-seong (Kim Yoon-seok), and member of NIS intelligence (formerly ANSP), Kang Dae-jin (Jo In-sung), are lobbying for UN membership status. So does North Korea, which is led by its ambassador, Rim Yong-su (Heo Joon-ho). They competed, bringing down each other, ranging from sending local thugs to launch attacks, to playing news through the media. Best Movie Site
The first 25 minutes were spent describing the machinations of the two countries, who both forgot they were in a conflict-prone country. Sure enough, the civil war heated up as the rebels grew increasingly frustrated with the dictatorship of President Siad Barre and his military. Gunfire broke out, food supplies were running low, communication access was cut off, electricity was cut off, and blockades occurred in many places.
As the title suggests, the focus of Escape from Mogadishu, whose script was written by Ryoo Seung-wan and Lee Gi-chel (The Thieves, Assassination), is about the character’s attempts to escape from Mogadishu. But this is no ordinary survival story, because South Korea and North Korea inevitably have to work hand in hand, putting aside political intrigue in order to survive.
Escape from Mogadishu takes quite a lot (even a little too much) time in the second act, to illustrate the difficulty of both parties to trust. Even eating together must be accompanied by worry, if there is poison in the food. After transgender in Jane (2017), survivor of madness in Peninsula (2020), ruthless warrior in Kingdom: Ashin of the North (2021), and hilarious soldier in D.P. (2021), Koo Kyo-hwan, one of South Korea’s most potential rising stars, again proves that he has a wide acting range as Tae Joon-ki, a member of the North Korean MSS who is always suspicious of South Korea’s every move.
There was an event that for me was very meaningful, happened after two representatives of countries agreed to work together. Because they have different political partners, they have to walk separately in search of help. South Korea visited the Italian embassy, while North Korea visited the Egyptian embassy. That moment was like saying, even though reunification has not occurred, it does not mean that the people cannot unite. Although physically separated, their souls are united by one principle called “humanity”. Movie Review
The new action really peaked in the third act. Starting with creative tactics related to “how to make a car able to pass bullets”, Ryoo Seung-wan is once again like an example to Hollywood blockbuster directors, that spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fund CGI polish is not an obligation. The cost of this film is “only” 24 billion won, or about 21 million dollars, which is not enough to produce The Conjuring 3.
Together with Choi Young-hwan as his regular cinematographer, Ryoo Seung-wan is good at building the intensity of the action through camera play, which combines agile movements (including tricks when the camera penetrates speeding cars), with a shaky cam that never makes it difficult for the audience to digest. events on the screen, let alone feeling dizzy and nauseous. Several large-scale set pieces are here, involving neatly organized chaos down to the realm of detail. As if the set piece is still a playground for the director.
The ending gives a perfect conclusion after the series of climax suspense. An emotional and hopeful ending, about the political climate that hinders the bond of humanity. But as long as that bond lives on in people’s hearts, along with beautiful stories of kindness to one another, no amount of political conflict can kill humanity. Top Movie