It’s 1990. Diplomats from North and South Korea are engaged in a bad-faith battle to jeopardise each other’s chances of political allegiances with the government of Somalia. But the staff of the two rival embassies are forced to cooperate when a civil war erupts. Loosely based on true events, this propulsively entertaining political thriller bears more than a passing resemblance to Ben Affleck’s Argo.
The picture, a big-budget spectacle guided by the sure hand of action director Seung-wan Ryu (Crying Fist), is at its most effective when the hurtling camera is strafed by bullets. It’s less successful when the headlong pace falters to allow the screenplay to hammer home its message of collaboration and tolerance. “You think,” says one ambassador, weighing his words emphatically, “we can accomplish more together?” For the most part, though, this is bracingly enjoyable stuff – slickly edited, dryly humorous and shot with a bold yellow palette that somehow enhances the sense of panic.
Escape from Mogadishu is in cinemas and on VOD