Escape from Mogadishu (2021)

Escape from Mogadishu (2021)

A thrilling if somewhat politically dodgy action film, based on a true story

6.9

Movie

South Korea
English, Korean, Somali
Action, Drama, Thriller, War
2021
RYOO SEUNG-WAN
Ahn Se-ho, Han Chul-woo, Heo Joon-ho
121 min

What it's about

Diplomats from the North and South Korean embassies in Somalia attempt a daring joint escape from Mogadishu when the outbreak of civil war leaves them stranded.

The take

Escape from Mogadishu follows diplomats from the North and South Korean embassies as they put aside their differences and work together to escape from an outbreak of civil war in Mogadishu, Somalia. Director Ryoo Seung-wan provides thrilling, high-budget action, especially intense car chases and suspenseful escape scenes that pump you with adrenaline and leave you on the edge of your seat. However, the Somali side of the story leaves much to be desired. Only existing to kill or be killed, the depiction of the Somalians is distasteful, and the country it’s set in seen as nothing more than a senseless warzone.

It’s in crafting a political thriller where Ryoo strikes a chord, following the tradition of South Korean films and dramas that question the current South/North relations. It’s also the aspect that pushed this film to win awards, given that it’s based on a true story from the 1991 civil war in Somalia, albeit with blockbuster flair. Sure, it’s a highly fictionalized story, but the political tensions and heightened atmosphere make good entertainment. And, as with all Korean thrillers, you’ll have to get on a certain wavelength of melodrama to be fully on board with the bonkers yet emotional escape.

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