ESCAPE FROM NORTH KOREA Review – A Blast From The VHS Past

Starring Keith Eng, Haleigh Ciel, Craig Weinstein, Ray Shih, Jordan Loew

Directed by Keith Eng

If you’re looking for an action-packed slice of 1980s nostalgia, you need to check out the insane action short Escape from North Korea, which can now be viewed on YouTube. Because it may just be one of the craziest and most over-the-top things you’re likely to watch all year. Where else are you going to see North Korea’s Ryugyong Hotel blasting off into space?

Writer and director Keith Eng stars as Kang, America’s last ninja, who is tasked with traveling to North Korea to rescue the kidnapped daughter of the President of the United States, who also happens to be a ten-time Oscar-winning actress. Seeing as North Korea heavily guards its borders, Kang enters the country by jumping out of a plane and parachuting to the ground, dodging about a million floating lasers in the process. This is the kind of unashamedly outrageous set piece which led many of us to fall in love with action cinema in the first place, so Eng clearly knows how to hit the spot when it comes to satisfying viewers with a craving for high-octane action.

The plot of Escape from North Korea then unfolds like a video game, with Kang making his way to the Ryugyong Hotel and fighting his way through a floor of enemies and a boss character before proceeding to the next stage. He even faces off against a foe who was clearly based on Raiden from the Mortal Kombat franchise, with the hat and the lightning abilities included. So if you’re a Mortal Kombat fan, you’ll be smiling all the way through this scene.

Filmed almost entirely against a green screen, the effects of Escape from North Korea gloriously invoke the early days of CGI, but with a modern feel added to help this seem like a more recent Hollywood production. And the filmmakers went full out with the effects, because we were shown everything from exploding cars to the Statue of Liberty coming to life to prevent a spaceship from crashing into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Escape from North Korea was also presented with a deliberate VHS-style aesthetic, which will satisfy fans of ‘80s action cinema who miss the good old days before streaming became the norm. There was no greater joy than inserting a VHS cassette into a player and then watching your favourite movie on TV, and anyone who looks back longingly on this era will find Escape from North Korea to be a wonderfully nostalgic blast from the VHS past. And even if you just happen to be an action junkie craving your next fix, you’ll still probably have a great time with this highly entertaining action short.

You can check out Escape from North Korea on YouTube, HERE.



With its high-octane action set pieces, old-school CGI, and VHS-style visual presentation, Escape from North Korea will satisfy fans of 1980s action cinema looking for something unashamedly retro and over the top.

User Rating 5 (2 votes)


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