Saturday, January 18, 2020

Ashfall (2019)

Mythic North Korean volcano erupts in spectacular fashion sending shock waves across the peninsula and into China. Despite causing massive destruction there are worse things brewing- three more  eruptions are predicted with the last one likely to level whatever remains of the two Koreas. In desperation the South Korean government devises a plan to stop the eruptions involving sending a military team into the devastated North Korea, freeing a spy and using his knowledge to get six hidden nuclear warheads and use them to blow up the volcano....

... and it gets even crazier with evil Americans, evil Chinese, collapsed dams, collapsing bridges, fire fights, buddy movie conventions, disaster movie cliches and the never ending need to make it as difficult as humanly possible for our heroes to save the day and still get home.

If you want a bat shit crazy film this is for you.

If you saw and loved the completely over the top and nonstop WANDERING EARTH about the effort to prevent the earth from crashing into Jupiter either in theaters or on Netflix  last year then I have a movie for you you. The Korean ASHFALL may not be as perfect a can of insanity  but it is just as relentless in plotting and pedal to the metal action, but this time there are intentional laughs. This is as if the filmmakers threw every idea they ever had and put it into one script and then stole every disaster and movie cliche and threw that into. Actually it's eve ncrazier than that....

At this point I need to simply say you are either going to love this film and it's over the moon insanity or you are not. My good or bad thoughts on the film  truly mean nothing since this film is operating where our visceral need for bread and circuses takes over.  This isn't Shakespeare or Ingmar Bergman but something much less serious. It is the South Korean film industry beating Hollywood at its own mega-blockbuster game. This is pure escapist fare that requires popcorn, beverage of choice and a bunch of friends to cheer with.

Simply put I freaking love this film. It's imperfect,with some odd pacing  and occasional wonky CGI, but good god is it fun. It manages to both send up the conventions of this sort of film while at the same time playing them deadly serious and absolutely perfectly on target to the point we sit on the edge of our seats wondering who will live and who will die. It's the most fun I've had in the movies since... well WANDERING EARTH last year. It is so entertaining and fun it's probably going to be on my list of favorite films of 2020 simply because it took me away from the real world insanity for 130 minutes.

Highly recommended  to anyone who loves totally insane over the top films or just great action films.

ASHFALL is now playing in the following US theaters  while continuing it's record breaking run in Asia

CGV Cinemas Buena Park, CA
CGV Cinemas Los Angeles, CA
AMC Ridgefield Park, NJ
AMC Plymouth Mtg, PA
AMC Bay Terrace Bayside, NY
AMC Alderwood Cinema Lynnwood, WA
AMC Mercado Santa Clara, CA
AMC IMAX Metreon San Francisco, CA
CENT Century 20 Daly City, CA
CNMK Century Sea Tac Mall Federal Way, WA
AMC Alderwood Seattle, WA
AMC Veteran's Expressway Tampa, FL
AMC Streets of Woodfield Chicago, IL
AMC 20 Niles Chicago, IL
AMC Empire 25 New York, NY
AMC Forum 30 Detroit, MI
AMC Fullerton 20 Los Angeles, CA
AMC Studio 30 Houston, TX
AMC Grapevine Mills Dallas/Ft Worth, TX

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