Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Emergency Declaration / 비상선언 - Movie Review

The Movie: Emergency Declaration / 비상선언

The Director: Han Jae-rim

The Cast: Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, Jeon Do-yeon, Kim Nam-gil, Kim So-jin, Park Hae-joon

The Story: After a terror incident occurs mid-flight, a passenger jet declares an emergency.

The Review:
If either Song Kang-ho or Lee Byung-hun are in a movie I'm most likely going to watch it. They are both incredible actors with impressive resumes and they never fail to entertain. When I saw that they were both in this movie, it became no brainer that yes, I will watch it and yes, I will enjoy it and sure enough, both of those things very much apply. I mention this every time because it's true every time, Korean cinema, no matter the genre, is always filled with high drama and emotional moments that get the waterworks running. Yes, even a big action movie like this can make me cry, I'm not afraid to say it.

One thing I noticed as the movie progressed, and to be honest it had me a bit worried at first, but the basic idea of the story is almost identical to Airplane, the classic campy (and nowdays quite cringy)  comedy from 1980. This might sound odd, but it was tracking very close for quite a ways into the movie with people on a flight becoming sick including the pilots which puts everyone's lives in the hands of a former pilot with a troubled past. Actually, that's about where the similarities end but you have to agree, that's pretty significant.

Anyway, the story is so good and it touches on several different angles with Lee Byung-hun as the troubled pilot whose daughter is with him on the flight and Song Kang-ho as a detective whose wife also just happens to be on the plane. These angles are where most of the tension and drama come from although there are many others woven in as well and all of it compounds to a hugely emotional and exciting finish that had me excessively emotional as usual.

Having the antagonist use a virus as an act of terrorism on an overseas flight is I guess timely in a way that ramps up the tension and is very effective at creating a seemingly inescapable sense of doom for the passengers on board. The director Han Jae-rim does a fantastic job of keeping a tight narrative while bouncing back andforth between the different storylines and I never felt like it lagged at all which was a little surprising given a run time that comes close to two and a half hours, credits included.

The Verdict:
Emergency Declaration is a dramatic action story filled with tension, emotion, and fantastic performances all the way around. As always, Song Kang-ho and Lee Byung-hun are in top form so if you are a fan of either or both of them, you will not be disappointed.

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