Lee Je Hoon, Koo Kyo Hwan film ‘Escape’ opens in U.S. July 5th – here’s everything you need to know

Here’s what you need to know about Lee Je Hoon’s new film Escape – including where to watch it

After what seems to be quite a long wait, Lee Je Hoon and Koo Kyo Hwan’s latest film ‘Escape‘ has finally released in South Korea today.

The film, directed by Lee Jong Pil (One Day Off) stars Lee Je Hoon, Koo Kyo Hwan alongside Hong Xa Bin, with both Song Kang and Esom making special appearances.

Korean distributor Megabox Plus M describes its plot like this:

At North Korea’s front-line military unit near the cease-fire line, Sergeant Lim Gyu Nam (Lee Je Hoon), who is about to be discharged after 10 years of service, prepares to escape from North Korea, where he cannot choose his future, to beyond the barbed wire fence where he can do what he wants.

However, low-ranking soldier Dong Hyuk (Hong Xa Bin), who discovered Gyu Nam’s plan, attempted to escape first, while Gyu Nam, who tried to stop him, is suddenly arrested as a deserter.

Major Hyeon Sang (Koo Kyo Hwan) of the National Security Department, who came to the unit to investigate a deserter, transforms Gyu Nam, whom he had known since childhood, into a hero for his efforts to apprehend a deserter, and gives him a position as a direct assistant to the division commander.

However, when Gyu Nam eventually makes a full-scale escape, Hyeon Sang begins a pursuit with no way to back down.

The film was written by Kwon Sung Hui (Narco-Saints).

Previously released ‘Escape‘ poster

Director Lee Jong Pil explained why he made Escape in this long, but very interesting statement:

I stumbled upon an international news article by chance. It described a young man from Africa who had stowed away by tying himself to the wheel of an airplane to enter another country. I wondered why he would go to such extremes.

Two days after reading that article, I came across the script for ESCAPE. It was about a young North Korean soldier who meticulously plans his defection as he approaches the end of his ten-year service at the front line.

A few days later, I met a friend. He told me he wanted to quit his job and leave for a distant place. He wept as he confessed that despite struggling desperately to live, he was not happy. That’s how it all started.

ESCAPE is not merely a tale of a defector. The protagonist could be that young man from Africa, or it could be any of us living in South Korea today. Through this film, I wanted to explore the universal and fundamental desire of humans to ‘escape’.

In philosophy, ‘escape’ is not a passive act of avoiding or fleeing reality. It is the concept of breaking away from fixed systems and orders, overthrowing the existing world, and seeking a new one. Escaping does not guarantee happiness. However, rather than living a meaningless life here, humans would rather dream of hope, even if it means risking death.

There is a thrill in running away. The senses become heightened. Despite being chased by anxiety and fear, there is still the hope of a better future. I wanted to vividly depict that alluring nightmare.

Ultimately, this is a story about humans who, driven by fate, break away from a predetermined world to forge their own path. I wanted to see the bloodstained smile at the end of that journey.

Escape opens in American movie theaters tomorrow, July 5th — you can find a list of those in your area via licensor Well Go USA’s website.

If it’s not in your area, you should be able to watch the film via the Well Go USA website soon as well.

Until then, watch the Escape trailer and look out for it popping up somewhere in your neck of the woods, as this one looks superb.


About Michelle Topham

Brit-American journalist based in Austria, former radio DJ at 97X WOXY, and Founder/CEO of Leo Sigh. I've covered K-drama, K-pop, J-pop and music news for over a decade.