Action/Drama/Thriller | Well Go USA Entertainment | Runtime: 131m | Rating: UR
Written & Directed By: Jae-rin Han
Starring: Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, Jeon Do-yeon, Man-gil Kim, Si-wan Yim, Park Hae-joon
Synopsis: After a terrorist attack involving a deadly virus takes place onboard a plane destined for Hawaii, those on board, with their fuel levels low, will declare an emergency declaration when no country will allow them to land.
Jae-rim Han’s Emergency Declaration is perfect for the summer movie season. It’s a big-budget, multi-layered adventure of emotion and suspense much in the vein of 90’s blockbusters like Air Force One or Executive Decision, but with a modern-day revision. It explores tension filled situations with raw human emotion cut with dashes of humor and it’s a busy, but highly engaging blend of cinematic elements to sweep you up and have you feeling the constant intensity. This crowded plane has suddenly been exposed to a virus and you can easily find yourself feeling the unnerving chaos, the fear of the passengers, and emotional swings as fear shows. Impactful decisions need to be made with little time and it’s effectively gripping.
It starts out quickly, the uneasiness is locked in right away as this mysterious man sets off all kinds of red flags at the airport who after an awkward encounter makes his way to a plane headed for Hawaii. He and a few other characters, as well as teases to history between some of them are planted, and the action hits the plane. Now, there is a seriousness to the tone of this movie. While it does resemble the spectacle and melodrama of its 90’s American counterparts, Emergency Declaration does keep a focus on the emotional layering for feeding the pulse of the overall tone. It isn’t quite as blatantly melodramatic. Han keeps an emphasis on framing the main characters to build their motivations and it provides plenty of appealing substance.
The performances are all impressive. This film essentially plays out through two perspectives. One on the ground with a detective who has a wife on the plane. The other of course takes place in the skies and there is a capable weaving of the two to keep the flow continually moving for the most part. Now admittedly, there are some conveniences. The government’s lack of control does feel a tad contrived. There is a moderate suspension of disbelief needed but that’s something required for any movie. There isn’t however anything that drastically gets in the way of this large-scale thriller from commanding attention.
It’s a polished film, with great performances, and well-rounded direction. The visual effects are fantastic with more than a few stunning sequences that are visually inventive. It showcases an emotionally thrilling rollercoaster of intrigue and cinematic melodrama. The runtime is a bit hefty, and it does feel so in spots. On the other hand, it’s hard to fault someone’s ambition for wanting to tell a wide sweeping saga fueled by the fear of mortality, human ethics, and the power of love. Emergency Declaration is the complete package and a great example of blockbuster cinema running on all cylinders.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.