The newest action film from Korean director Han Jae-rim taps into some current events to fuel its fire and plenty of thrills.
First premiered at the 74th annual Cannes Film Fest in 2021, and staring Song Kang-Ho (Parasite) and Lee Byung-Hun (I Saw the Devil), about an aircraft that is forced to declare an emergency when an unprecedented terror occurs in flight.
There are two storylines developing, those who are on the ground, and the ones that are in the plane dealing with the emergency. The pacing in the first 2/3 is superb, really bringing the tension and blending the stories well with intertwining characters and motivations.
The ground story is fronted by Song Kang-Ho as he deals with a murder that appears to be poisoning, while the air story with Lee Byung-Hun is dealing with a possible terrorist threat on board. As the film progresses it becomes obvious that the poison from the murder has made its way onto the plane, the passengers and crew begin to fall ill and suffer the same dreadful death. It is a race against time as the plane is not allowed to land anywhere for fear of the virus spreading, and fuel is running out. The quest for a possible antidote and the person or persons behind the attack is a compelling story, but at 147 minutes, there is enough downtime that the built-in tension begins to drag. The film puts itself into a pretty familiar corner with an obvious conclusion.
The exploration of humanity and sacrifice, as well as some fantastic acting from Song Kang-Ho and Lee Byung-Hun really bring this standard thriller to another level. Director Han Jae-Rim shows he is quite adept at shooting action with some of the most inventive and heart-stopping plane sequences in recent memory. If you are a fan of Bong Joon-Ho and action/thrillers, this is one to watch.
3.5 out of 5