Ashfall starts with a volcano erupting, causing sever earthquakes in sides of Korea, damaging the streets and leaving volcanic ash floating in the air. “The worst is yet to come,” according to geologist Robert Kang (Ma Dong-soo). Robert predicts that there will be two more eruptions that will eradicate the entire peninsula of Korea. He proposes that to save the country, a nuclear missile would need to be launched into the side of the volcano. This where the fun begins with a country under threat from a natural disaster. Who will save the day?
The first of our two heroes, is bomb disposal expert Captain Jo In-chang ( Ha Jung-woo ). He is assigned to lead a special forces team into a prison in North Korea to extract ex-North Korean Agent Ri Joon- pyeong (Lee Byung-hun). Joon-pyeong knows where the nuclear device is hidden. What follows is a roller-coaster of car chases, shootouts and pursuits as we we find that Joon-pyeong has an agenda of his own that includes finding his estranged daughter. To work together they must find a way to put aside their differences in order to save the day.
The two leads give great performances as an unlikely duo that do not trust each other, a throwback to similar films from the genres that this film fuses together, such as the disaster epic Armageddon and the buddy-action film The Rock. What I found enjoyable was Lee playing the cliched reluctant hero who first appears as a scruffy prisoner then gets to shine once he smartens up, ozzing with coolness. His charismatic presence. The film itself is enjoyable and with a plot like this there are plenty of intense moments. The action scenes range from car chases to shootouts along with features several explosions. Those who enjoy a loud, Michael Bay-esque action-disaster film will be very entertained.
Ashfall was screened at the Genesis cinema screened on 6th December 2020.