Several disaster films on airplanes have recently been able to provide good quality thriller spectacles, such as The Captain, Shadow in the Cloud, and the unique Blood Red Sky. The same-themed film produced by South Korea is also showing its fangs. Emergency Declaration is a disaster film directed, written, and produced by Han Jae-rim. This film stars a series of top local stars: Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, Kim Nam-gil, Jeon Do-yeon, and Kim So-jin. With the excellent trend of South Korean films, can this film compete with major disaster films in Uncle Sam’s country?

One viral video, which contained threats to an airplane, was initially dismissed as a joke by the authorities. However, when a flight from Seoul to Hawaii experienced a passenger death incident, there was a commotion. A terrorist spreads a deadly virus on a plane. Panic struck as the victims began to fall ill. Not only the crew and passengers on the plane, all the police officers down there, including the minister of transportation, tried their best to prevent a greater danger if the plane landed.

The plot summary makes it clear that the premise is so tense. For the theme and genre, this is the first time a film has been able to provide maximum tension without stopping from beginning to end. We did not feel the duration of the film for 2.5 hours because the tension was so gripping. Surprise after surprise came one after another until the climax. For me, this is the first time that a spectacle of this length has been able to keep us glued to the screen for so long. For its genre, Emergency Declaration is one of the best in packaging the suspense side.

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One thing we rarely encounter in the genre is the film’s scale so vast. The story alternately goes back and forth on the plane and below with various locations, slowly but surely, expanding to the international territory. Big Hollywood movies usually only focus on one big room with a giant screen attended by dozens of decision-making officials. The Emergency Declaration does more than this. With effective insertions, such as live television coverage, the victim’s family, the airport situation, to hundreds of demonstrators, this precarious situation feels bigger (colossal) than it should be.

Intense and gripping non-stop plot, Emergency Declaration is one of the best airplane disaster films in its genre. One key to his success was its dozens of main casts, which performed well and were convincing. Like most South Korean films, the casting is almost perfect, although the three main characters, the police sergeant (Kang-ho), the ex-pilot (Byung-hun), and the minister’s mother (Do-yeon), are the ones who steal the most attention. Emergency Declaration is an example of how disaster films work at their best by being able to entertain the audience to the maximum. Enjoy watching.

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His hobby has been watching films since childhood, and he studied film theory and history autodidactically after graduating from architectural studies. He started writing articles and reviewing films in 2006. Due to his experience, the author was drawn to become a teaching staff at the private Television and Film Academy in Yogyakarta, where he taught Film History, Introduction to Film Art, and Film Theory from 2003 to 2019. His debut film book, "Understanding Film," was published in 2008, which divides film art into narrative and cinematic elements. The second edition of the book, "Understanding Film," was published in 2018. This book has become a favorite reference for film and communication academics throughout Indonesia. He was also involved in writing the Montase Film Bulletin Compilation Book Vol. 1-3 and "30 Best Selling Indonesian Films 2012-2018." Additionally, he authored the "Horror Film Book: From Caligari to Hereditary" (2023) and "Indonesian Horror Film: Rising from the Grave" (2023). Until now, he continues to write reviews of the latest films at and is actively involved in all film productions at the Montase Film Community. His short films have received high appreciation at many festivals, both local and international. Recently, his writing was included in the shortlist (top 15) of Best Film Criticism at the 2022 Indonesian Film Festival. From 2022 until now, he has also been a practitioner-lecturer for the Film Criticism and Film Theory courses at the Yogyakarta Indonesian Institute of the Arts in the Independent Practitioner Program.


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