Steel Rain is a 2017 South Korean action thriller film directed by Yang Woo-suk, based on his 2011 webtoon of the same name. The film stars Jung Woo-sung and Kwak Do-won.
The film opened in South Korea on 14 December 2017, and was later released worldwide on 14 March 2018, on Netflix.
A standalone sequel titled Steel Rain 02: Summit was released in 2020, with Jung Woo-sung and Kwak Do-won returning to play the leading but different roles.
In North Korea, Eom Chul-Woo (Jung Woo-Sung), a former agent of the North Korean Special Forces is assigned the mission of executing the Supreme Guard Commander, Gwang Dong-Park, and the minister of the State Security Department, Du-won Kim, by chief director of the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), Ri Tae-han (Kim Kap-Soo), after he receives the information that the two leaders are planning a coup d’état on Victory Day. Meanwhile, South Korean senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and national security Kwak Chul-woo (Kwak Do-Won), who is divorced from his wife, Su-hyeon, receives a phone call and congratulates Kim Kyung-young on winning the election for President of South Korea. When he finishes talking on the phone, he notices that his ex-wife has picked up his kids and left without his knowledge. At night in Pyongyang, Eom drives a KPA truck and runs an official state car off a bridge with the State Security Department minister inside the vehicle. Both fall into the cold water, but Eom manages to get out.
The next morning in the South, Kwak meets Mr. Li (Kim Myung-Gon), who is the ethnically Korean head of the Korean branch of the Chinese Ministry of State Security in a restaurant. He shows Kwak a photo of a deceased State Security chief in China and a State Security minister in the North. It officially claimed to be a car accident because there are no news and evidence that the Great Leader executed them both. However, like Ri, the RGB chief director, Li also received intel of the coup that will happen in the North.
Back at the Blue House, Kwak talks to incumbent South Korean president, Lee Ee-seong (Kim Eui-Sung), about the coup that may happen in the North due to power struggles. Kwak wanted to inform the president elect but Lee says he’ll find out eventually.
Back in the North, Eom enters a restaurant and is given a bag containing a uniform, mobile phone, money, and a blueprint of a building. Returning home late at night, Eom tells his wife that they are being sent to the North Korean embassy in Cuba. Eom says one last goodbye to his family before he starts his mission.
The next morning, in the industrial complex of Kaesong, Eom enters an air vent, where a bag with a sniper rifle is waiting for him. He takes it out and waits for the arrival of Gwang Dong-Park with the Great Leader for a North Korean-Chinese event. The next morning, Eom wakes up and notices three KPA trucks arrives at the place to check the area for harmful devices. Somewhere in a cemetery, at a funeral of the state security minister, Park launches the coup by phone. Somewhere in the Northern Gyeonggi Province of South Korea, a group of North Korean infiltrators disguised as South Korean soldiers, hijack a US Army MLRS vehicle. When the Great Leader arrives, Eom notices that Park did not come with him. Eom tries to send a message to his superior, Chief Ri, but it fails to send. While in the air, a US Army helicopter is notified that the MLRS vehicle has gone missing and to locate it. When they find the MLRS, it launches two missiles. With no response from the vehicle, the pilots are ordered to destroy the vehicle.
Eom notices the bodyguards push the Leader down, and the vent Eom is inside collapses. Eom gets up and sees scores of dead bodies of civilians at the event that were instantly killed by the MLRS strike. He then sees a missile in the sky aiming at them, which detonates, killing most of the survivors with a cluster bomb strike. Witnessing the killings with his own eyes, he then sees a KPA truck with soldiers led by Captain Choi Myung-Rok, claiming that the United States are responsible for the attack and killing the survivors. As the coup goes on, Eom along with two schoolgirls takes the Great Leader to South Korea in a toy company van, and are let in along with representatives of Chinese companies from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs who are seeking refuge.
In South Korea, incumbent president Lee and president-elect Kim are told by NIS director Park Byung-jin that the ROK-US Combined Forces Command wants them to go to DEFCON Three after the US Army’s MLRS was seized and fired Steel Rain bombs on Kaesong. They are also informed that the bodies in the vehicle were wearing South Korean uniforms but with fake nametags. Kwak meets with CIA Station Chief Joanne Martin, asking her why she leaked the situation to the media about the US military missile attack on Kaesong. Marting says that US military weapons were used on South Korean soil to launch an attack on North Korea and they needed to clear their names. She is convinced that a coup has broken out and that the Great Leader is dead. She says into Kwak’s ear that all wars begin with propaganda.
Eom arrives at a small clinic in Ilsan with one doctor present, and asks her to save the Leader. She objects that she is an obstetrician, but Eom still begs her to save the Leader and promises he will not hurt her. While she works, Eom calls his commander, Ri, informing him that he is with the Great Leader and that he is in critical condition. Ri says that he’ll send a few men to protect them, and that Eom must bring him back in one piece, otherwise Park’s coup will succeed. The obstetrician tells Eom that she has done all she can for the Leader, but doesn’t have the skills to treat one bullet lodged near his brain. Eom then notices a van arriving outside, knowing it is the men that his superior sent him to escort him and the leader out of the country. However, it turns out to be a group led by Choi, the soldier seen earlier in the incident in Kaesong, and they are actually there to kill him and the leader. Eom eliminates them and injures Choi by striking him in the throat with a scalpel and drives the Leader to a hospital in an ambulance. He then tells the obstetrician to find a place to treat the Leader in secret. They arrive at a plastic surgery clinic somewhere in Seoul coincidentally staffed by Kwak’s ex-wife, Su-Hyeong.
Kwak wakes up at his workplace and is told by a staff member that three dead bodies have been found at the Areum Obsterics Clinic and appear to be North Korean agents. He also receives a report that the North Korean Leader was there when it happened. He calls his ex-wife to see if there is anything happening at the clinic she works at, but there is no answer. He then calls his kids and learns that she is working late at her clinic. Kwak goes to investigate the clinic and tells his staff member to send the `Special Forces if he does not answer his phone within an hour. Kwak arrives at the clinic, finding Eom, who ties him up, Su-hyeong, and the obstetrician. Eom then turns on a TV and sees that his country declared war. He calls his superior, Ri, and learns that reason Park declared war was to prevent the frontline troops from forcing their way into the capital city. As Eom finishes talking to Ri, he is surrounded and arrested by a group of 707th Special Mission Group soldiers. He begs Kwak to save the Leader so he and the North Korean frontline troops can advance on Pyongyang and stop the coup. President Lee declares martial law in the country.
The next morning, Eom asks Kwak to tell his chief that they should talk to his RGB commander, Ri Tae-han. Director Park denies Eom’s request and continues on his way to a meeting with the North Korean military leaders. Kwak and Eom arrived there secretly, stopping at a distance and observing them through binoculars. They are unable to see if Chief Ri is in the meeting. When Eom tries to call his commander, a gunshot is heard. Eom finds North Korean snipers in the hills covered with bushes who attack the meeting but some manage to escape in a convoy. During the shooting, Kwak calls the military on high alert to come to his location by tracking him. Eom and Kwak then goes after the convoy and notice they are being chased by two North Korean agents in a dump truck. Eom shoots both agents inside the truck, but crashes. Eom gets out of the vehicle and rescues Chief Ri out of the crashed official state car but instead it turned out to be Gwang Dong-Park, the Supreme Guard Commander, in the vehicle. Eom shoots Park as he was told that he will be considered as a hero and his family will be giving good favor. However, the snipers from earlier shoot Director Park and Eom. As the snipers are about to escape, they are killed by a ROK military helicopter. The military arrives and surrounds the area to search for any remaining North Korean infiltrators.
In a military underground base in North Korea, Chief Ri turns out to be the using the coup to install himself in power, as he shoots his own troops. Learning the whereabouts of the Great Leader on TV, Ri then sends Choi and his team on a night raid to the hospital, first creating an incident at the Blue House to lure the ROK military there to leave fewer troops guarding the hospital. After an extended fight, Choi is the only survivor of the attacking team. He attempts to kill the Leader, but the body turns out to be that of the former NIS Director, Park, instead. ROK troops surround Choi and kill him.
Later that night, the US Air Force, working with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, launches nuclear missiles at North Korea. North Korea responds by launching a nuclear missile towards Japan. The missile is intercepted, but the electromagnetic pulse from the nuclear explosion takes down the US missiles. After hearing what happened at sea, Eom then tells Kwak to publish false information that the Great Leader is dead, saying that this will cause the North to pause its plans. South Korean president Lee wants the US to launch a second nuclear strike but the US Secretary of Defence declines his request.
With the Great Leader remaining in hospital in South Korea, Eom forms a plan with Kwak. Kwak takes Eom to the entrance to a secret tunnel connecting to North Korea, where Eom meets up with the North Korean army and is taken to Chief Ri’s underground bunker. Eom confronts him and before being shot, he presses a button on a watch that was given to him by Kwak, signalling the ROK Air Force to launch missiles onto his location. Eom’s last words are, “Take Care…Everyone”. The missiles successfully reach their target, killing Eom and the people remaining in the bunker. Kwak bursts into tears after seeing Eom sacrificing himself.
After the coup and the conflict has ended, Kim has become the new president of South Korea and announces peace talks and reunification with North Korea. The South Korean officials bring the Great Leader in an ambulance to a meeting with other North Korean officials for peace talks and a peaceful reunification. The ending then shows the Great Leader was later brought back to his country.
- Jung Woo-sung as Eom Chul-woo, former North Korean special forces agent.
- Kwak Do-won as Kwak Chul-woo, South Korean senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and national security.
- Kim Kap-soo as Ri Tae-han, head of the Reconnaissance General Bureau.
- Kim Eui-sung as Lee Ee-seong, incumbent president of South Korea.
- Lee Geung-young as Kim Kyung-young, president-elect of South Korea.
- Jo Woo-jin as Choi Myung-rok.
- Jung Won-joong as Park Byung-jin.
- Jang Hyun-sung as Jung Se-young.
- Won Jin-ah as Ryeo Min-kyeong.
- Lee Jae-yong as Park Kwang-dong.
- Kim Myung-gon as Mr. Li, the Chaoxianzu head of the Korean branch of Ministry of State Security of China.
- Park Eun-hye as Kwon Sook-jung.
- Park Sun-young as Kang Ji-hye.
- An Mi-na as Song Soo-mi.
- Kim Ji-ho as Choi Soo-hyun.
- Lee Yoon-gun as Park Yong-gun.
- Kim Hyung-jong as Lee Hyang-pil.
- Kristen Dalton as Joanne Martin, CIA station chief in Seoul.
- Ron Donachie as Michael Dobbs, US Secretary of State.
- Kim Ki-hyeon as Park Ki-hyun, Prime Minister of North Korea.
- Kim Joong-ki as Takashi, chief of the Korean office, Japanese Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office.
- Andreas Fronk as Tyler, USFK spokesperson.
- Lee Ji-won as North Korean Hacker.
- Park Min-hee as NSC Chairman.
- Daniel Joey Albright as Pilot.
- Lee Si-woo as Kwak Se-min.
Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Yang Woo-suk.
- Producer(s): Park Joon-ho, Kim Tae-won, and Sun Young.
- Writer(s): Yang Woo-suk.
- Music: Kim Tae-seong.
- Cinematography: Lee Hyung-duk.
- Editor(s): Lae Gang-hee.
- Production: Mofac & Alfred.
- Distributor(s): Next Entertainment World and Netflix.
- Release Date: 14 December 2017.
- Running time: 139 minutes.
- Rating: TV-MA.
- Country: South Korea.
- Language: English, Korean, and Japanese.