‘Escape From Mogadishu’ Blu-Ray Review – Intense South Korean Action-Thriller Shines A Light On Real-Life Events

Dramatically constructed based on actual events: when civil war explodes in 1991 between rebel factions and Somali government forces under dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, rival North and South Korean diplomats are trapped in the capital city, surrounded on all sides by what would emerge as some of the deadliest fighting of the conflict. With no aid from either Korean government—and no means of communicating with the outside world—the diplomats’ only shot at survival may require uniting with bitter adversaries to escape.

For in-depth thoughts on Escape From Mogadishu, please see my colleague Payton Coelho’s review from its original theatrical release here

Video Quality

Escape From Mogadishu comes to Blu-Ray with a gorgeous AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.35:1. This film has some nice pops of color with everything appearing very natural from the dusty landscapes to the vivid hues in certain elements of the clothing and production design. Where the transfer really shines is the impressive level of detail in even the subtlest aspects. Everything from the smallest facial details to the texture of the interior of the embassy is quite impressive. The picture is mostly clear with only brief instances of murkiness during a few darker scenes. Black levels are admirable in their depth. Skin tones are natural throughout with some impeccable details present in certain shots. The film sports some luscious cinematography, and that is showcased pretty well here. Overall, this is quite a powerful transfer. 

Audio Quality

The Blu-Ray disc comes with a lively DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio presentation in the original Korean that handles the action incredibly well. The track offers expert level immersion into the environment so that even the subtlest elements are represented. Directionality of sound is never an issue with this track, and dialogue is reproduced with supreme clarity. All of the sounds are balanced well during the action sequences from the crashing of cars to copious amounts of gunfire. The many chase scenes and other such kinetic moments provide a fantastic amount of activity in the low end. Speakers are subjected to a full-on sonic throttling throughout the duration of the presentation while providing a fully realized world to sink into. The audio presentation is just as impressive as the visual one. Optional English subtitles are provided. There is also an English dub provided, but do yourself a favor and do not consider that a viable option. 

Special Features

  • Production Documentary: A three-part collection of brief featurettes which offers insights into the motivation behind bringing this story to the screen and the desire to do so authentically, the experience of shooting on location and the performers that are a part of the project. There is nothing too in-depth here, but its still worth watching. 
    • Motive (1:53)
    • Mogadishu (1:43)
    • Actors (2:04)
  • Making Of: Two quick pieces which offer some behind-the-scenes footage of the filming of the ending chase and a conversation with an expert in military issues who worked on the film. The latter piece is the most valuable supplemental feature on the disc. 
    • Car Chase (0:51)
    • Interview – Military Consultant (2:59)
  • Trailers: This disc offers the Teaser (0:34), Trailer #1 (1:36) and Trailer #2 (1:58). 

 

Final Thoughts

Escape From Mogadishu is a very impactful action film which transcends such a label by offering some depth to the characters. As pulse-pounding as certain chaotic sequences can be, there is just as much at stake on an interpersonal level as these people from North and South Korea wrestle with their responsibility to their countries and their need to survive in the moment. In terms of American cinema, the clearest comparison to draw is to Argo with its strong cast and themes of political unrest. Well Go USA has released a Blu-Ray with an excellent A/V presentation and a couple of brief special features. It makes sense that South Korea chose this as their submission for Best International Feature as it delicately balances accessible action with narrative depth. Recommended 

Escape From Mogadishu will be available to purchase on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 18. 2022. The film is currently available on Digital. 

Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.

Disclaimer: Well Go USA Entertainment has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.