The Tower (2012) is a South Korean fire-fighting disaster movie directed by Kim Ji-hoon, who also directed another big-budget action movie, Sector 7 (2011).
Synopsis: President Cho (Cha In-pyo) is the owner of Tower Sky, a super-luxurious residential skyscraper complex in Central Seoul. On Christmas eve, he plans to organize a "White Christmas" party for his tenants and VIPs. One of his employees is Dae-ho (Kim Sang-kyung), a security and maintenance operations manager who has a secret crush on Yoon-hee (Son Ye-jin), a restaurant manager of the same building.
President Cho's perfect "White Christmas" includes two helicopters spraying snow all over Tower Sky. Disaster strikes when one of the helicopters crashes into one of the towers and the building begins to catch fire rapidly. Everyone runs for their life including Dae-ho who's trying to rescue his daughter Ha-na, Yoon-hee, and other colleagues.
At the same time, legendary firefighter Young-ki (Sul Kyung-gu) and his team members make their way into the inferno to bring the blaze under control. Dae-ho and Young-ki have to work with all their strength and courage to save the lives of thousands. One will survive, and one will make the ultimate sacrifice.
This is a very impressive South Korean movie. The following excerpt from a review by moviexclusive.com summarizes it all. Note: Contains spoilers.
"It is to director Kim Ji-hoon's credit that the film never has a dull moment despite the formulaic script. Right from the start, he confidently demonstrates his ability to navigate seamlessly between the various points-of-view of the various characters, and that adroitness proves useful in maintaining a tense and taut atmosphere throughout the movie. He also keeps the movie well-paced and easy to follow, with the first half focused on extinguishing the fire from within its source and the second on evacuating as many people as possible before the weakened tower collapses under its own weight.
Within that two-act narrative, Ji-hoon engineers some truly gripping sequences. The helicopter crash is the first of the money-shots, and by deftly combining actual images with CGI, it amply demonstrates that the Koreans have caught up with Hollywood in terms of visual effects. Besides the spectacle, two particular scenes stand out – the first where a ragtag group of survivors make a perilous crossing from one tower to another using the sky bridge, whose steel and glass structure is at risk of collapsing; and the second where who's left of the same group pack themselves into an elevator and attempt to free-fall it down around 60 floors to escape the crumbling tower."
In short, this is exactly what you expect from a big-budget disaster movie - taut suspense, thrilling sequences, and overwrought emotions. If you like to leave the cinema high in adrenaline, you have to watch this movie.