Sporting a shiny leather jacket and aviator shades, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un has starred in a Hollywood-style video for Pyongyang’s latest missile launch.
Under Kim, North Korea has sought to give its state media a makeover with digital effects, seeking more modern ways to tell its stories.
On Thursday, North Korea tested a huge intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in a test Kim said was designed to demonstrate the might of its nuclear force and deter any US military moves.
State television broadcast a heavily produced video of the launch featuring flashy effects and edits. International online commentators compared the video to the movie Top Gun or the South Korean K-pop hit Gangnam Style.
Kim, wearing a leather jacket and sunglasses and flanked by uniformed military officers, is shown in slow motion walking and pointing as hangar doors slowly open to reveal the massive missile.
The intense soundtrack quickens as the shot switches quickly between Kim and the officers looking at their watches before the North Korean leader takes off his sunglasses and nods sombrely to start the missile moving to its launching position.
A countdown begins. Then one of Kim’s aides screams “Fire!” in slow motion, before a quick succession of shots shows another soldier waving a flag, and others gathered in the command trailer screaming as one pushes the launch button.
Red flames pour out and the missile flies into the sky. After the missile disappears, Kim celebrates with his two top aides shouting “hurray” and raising their hands.
In the next scene, a smiling Kim walks on the tarmac shoulder to shoulder with soldiers clad in desert-style combat uniforms and body armor.
The TV footage of the launch sparked memes and remixes online calling Kim “Top Kim Jong-un” or referring to the video as “Pyongyang Style”.
Kim previously found viral fame when he rode a white horse up the snowy slopes of North Korea’s most sacred mountain.
Kim’s father and predecessor, Kim Jong-il, was an avid film fan. In 1978 he ordered the kidnapping of a South Korean film director and an actor to help develop North Korea’s cinema industry.
The impoverished country still pours significant resources into movies, although many of its productions are propaganda works extolling the ruling Kim family.
Known as the Hwasong-17, the giant ICBM was first unveiled in October 2020 and described as a “monster missile” by analysts. It had never previously been successfully test-fired, and the launch prompted outrage from Pyongyang’s neighbors and the US.
North Korea is already under biting international sanctions for its weapons programs, and the UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting over the launch on Friday.