A pilot passes by someone he recognizes. A man gets irate with an airline clerk before resuming a grisly task in the mens’ room. A detective on the ground makes a gruesome discovery… These are just a few of the precursors that happen going into the next 140 minutes of nearly non-stop suspense in Han Jae-rim’s new aviation thriller, Emergency Declaration, from director Han Jae-rim, and starring Song Kang-ho and Lee Byun-hun among the roster.
With a plane full of as many as 150 passengers headed from Incheon to Honolulu as its taking off, a mysterious man (Im Si-wan) plots something nefarious in the bathroom, and as the hours pass, it becomes clear that people are suddenly getting sick and dying from whatever is circulating on the plane. The illness is soon discovered as a bioweapon attack carried out by a disgrunted former employee of a company who had uploaded a viral video announcing he was going to attack a plane, and it’s up to a dauntless few on board to help keep the flight steady until they can safely land, or will they…
That’s basically the sum of Han’s newest film as it primarily features Song, Lee and Im along with Kim Nam-gil to name a few of the film’s topliners, all starring from Han who also penned the script. The story is well-paced with an even flow of events as they unfold between the ground and the plane, with Im taking full control as the film’s discernible, menacing villain, armed with nothing more than an inhaler loaded with a virus, and an inherent and self-destructive will. Back stories unfold as we meet Lee in the role of a man taking his daughter to Hawaii who gets swept up into the plane, with Song starring as a cop whose own discoveries lead to sweeping developments that will soon force him to test his own mettle when bureaucracy and public pandemonium get in the way of bringing the plane down safely to save as many of its passengers as possible.
Within the second half, the film’s twists build even more into an intense climax that places our protagonists front and center in a high-speed sequence that will grip you right until the end. Emergency Declaration is as much a high-altitude thrillride as it is a story that will sometimes have you questioning humanity when its at its lowest, compelling you to look inward for some of those answers. Indeed, Han understood the assignment on this one, and it’s worth seeing when it releases this weekend.
Emergency Declaration releases in select theaters on August 12 from Well Go USA.