This based on a true story film is a nail biter. It’s the tale of North and South Korean diplomats and their families caught in the middle of a civil war in Somalia in 1991 and their harrowing escape together. Then as now, the divided Koreans were natural enemies, but as the violence expanded and all their lives were at stake, they were able to put aside politics and work together to make their way across the war torn city to the safety of the Italian consulate and a plane home. With a stellar cast and breathtaking action, Escape from Mogadishu is a potent political thriller for foreign film aficionados.
The film begins with a South Korean Counselor Kang Dae-jin (Zo In-sung), a member of South Korean intelligence, arriving at the Mogadishu airport with a bag full of gifts for the Somali president. The two Koreas are vying for Somalia’s backing as neither has been granted UN membership. But before the gifts get to the embassy, the car is waylaid by bandits and the suitcase taken. Those bandits are being paid by the North Koreans. And there’s a bit of a back and forth between the ambassadors, each trying to get the upper hand with the president. But that all takes a back seat as the city descends into chaos. Protests turn into an all out civil war with the government’s army fighting well trained rebels in the street.
And as the fighting intensifies, the Koreans all try to get out of the city only to find that communications with their countries has been cut off and they can’t just head to the airport and hop a plane. The South Koreans hire local forces to defend them from the utter lawlessness in the streets. But the North Koreans are not as prescient. And their only hope is to ask the South Koreans for help. And that’s a big ask. There’s real danger that working with them will sign their death sentence when they get home. But without them, they’re dead anyway. And so they strike a bargain. “Let’s state our goal clearly. We’re just banding together to survive and escape this war, okay?” says the South Korean ambassador to his counterpart. And he accepts.
What follows is a riveting escape through streets with no good guys and nothing but their wits to save them. You know the outcome, but you’re on the edge of your seat with them the whole way. It’s a smart film with some of Korea’s best known actors giving it their best. And it gives any action flick out there a run for its money. Check it out!
In limited release starting August 6th. Keep an eye out!