Saturday, October 23, 2021

Escape From Mogadishu Review: An Exciting Unbelievable True Story

Release date: October 19, 2021
Running time: 117 minutes
Writer/Director: Ryoo Seung-wan
Cast: Kim Yoon-seok, Zo In-sung, Huh Joon-ho, Koo Kyo-hwan, Kim So-jin, Joung Man-sik, Kim Jae-hwa, Park Gyeong-hye

Dramatically constructed based on a true story: as civil war rages in Mogadishu, rival North and South Korean diplomats are left trapped. With no aid from either government, their only shot at survival may require uniting with bitter adversaries to escape.

Escape From Mogadishu takes a while to get going as it establishes the situation and the main characters very well.  You get a good sense of who these people are and how much distrust they have for each other.  But you also get a sense of how similar they are.  They speak the same language, eat similar food, and have similar mannerisms.  The film also does a good job of putting them in similar situations to highlight this.  And the film is part drama, part action, and when the action ramps up it can become hectic and exciting.  You get a sense of danger as the country falls apart around them.

And what was also very impressive about the film is that it was able to really highlight the distrust these countries had for each other.  Their dislike is palatable on the screen and you can completely see just how much deep seated emotion and distrust is there.  I really liked some of the extreme measures both countries took as a result of this distrust and it really does help to lay the groundwork for how crazy of a situation this was.

However, as entertaining as Escape From Mogadishu is, there are a few issues.  First and foremost, the film is based on a true story but afterwards there is not additional information about these characters or the situation.  I am not sure if that is just because it was not needed or if so many liberties were taken that there isn't much connection to the real event.  I would like to have known what actually happened to these people and if it was really this dramatic of an encounter.  Additionally, the film has a few CG moments (mostly involving dogs) that definitely look out of place.  And the most exciting scene involving a massive car chase also seems very unrealistic given everything that happened.  It seems like an instance of movie magic over reality that hurts the overall experience.  But that being said, it was a very impressive scene.  

But that being said, Escape From Mogadishu tells a dramatic story with a great cast, plenty of intrigue, an unbelievable true story that is excitingly brought to life.

Watch it.

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Escape From Mogadishu is available in digitally and on demand on October 19, 2021.  

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