Midnight Runners directed by Kim Ju-hwan. It is an action-comedy-thriller film about the police cadet, featuring Park Seo-Joon as “Gi-Jun” and Kang Ha-Neul as “Hee-Yeol” and how being selfless can make a huge difference. The film talks about a couple of dark side about the Korean law enforcement and Chinese immigrant gangs who manipulate the black market. It’s a realistic film portraying the society works today.
The protagonists were forced to be on a prestigious Police University in Seoul. Park Gi-Jun being the dumb one was forced to enroll due to their financial status in life. He was raised by his mom alone, and he thought by being a police officer he can have a stable income to provide for his mother. And Hee-Yeol, the nerdy one, thinks having a conventional education is too ordinary. So, he wanted to try something unique. Then the two met and made an unexpected pair during their training.
Both of them aren’t good students at all, and they just made fun of their lectures. But two years later while they are still in training, the two will experience the importance of what they have learned in the university.
One night, they went out of the campus to go on a club in Gangnam. Towards the end of the night, they saw the young woman being kidnapped and stuffed in a black van, as they try to remember their instructor’s advice about the golden 7-hour period. They immediately went to the police station but unfortunately, they were declined as the police men were in a rush as well to save some business mogul’s grandson that went missing. In which, it was an especial order made by their chief.
This kind of abduction story is common for us now. Many incidents like this happened before and how the policemen were scared about not obeying the higher officials demands, that they should come first before the people of their nation. And this kind of story is real, and that what made this film more realistic.
Because according to Bazin, realism is an attempt to recreate the things that happened in the past through a certain medium. The film itself, shows the bad side of the government officials, and the hideous crimes that a man can do.
So as the story continues, after they did not get any help from the policemen, the two tried to investigate and save the young woman by themselves. And as they follow what they have learned, which is the three sources of investigation. They continue to search to find the abducted woman. And lead them into a night of escapade and shocking revelations as they learn to apply their combat training in the real world.
On the technical side of it, Midnight Runners does not have anything special in its set up. It just revolves around the booth camp tropes and the friendship between the characters from being a childish to being matured. I think Director Kim, just wanted to be clear about the story itself. And used it as the style of the film.
Then the main plot began, the action scenes and thriller took the viewers into the Chinese-Korean organ trafficking gang’s territory. It was full of ruckus and there are some slapsticks in between scenes. And the camera shots were on point as they filmed those action scenes, and the need for breaks in between actions. He also used good transition shots for the audience to give them time to absorbed what just happened in between those scenes.
As Gi-Jun and Hee-Yeol continue to fight against the gang to save those women who have been kidnapped, despite not being really equipped and fully trained they still tried their best but eventually failed. This section did a good pacing to extend the film’s timeline. Also, their fight scenes are the most effective part. It may not be compared to those high-end action films, but still they have an aggressive and strong choreography. Their sound effects were good as well to make it more believable to the audience. The costume and make-ups did a great job by creating it like it is real, especially when the girl just finished being operated. And it made the viewers cringe by that sight.
For a film that is much more to be like by most of young women, well that is because of their lead actors, but it is somehow mysterious and not the typical heroes’ story. They got jealous over their fellow cadet’s girlfriend, and they went out of the universities. To try to flirt in the club just to get hook-ups. But the two leading actors failed to have partners that night, then they saw this beautiful young lady walk past them. Then they decided to follow her and made a bet, who should be the one to approach her. Then that moment onwards, made them every girl’s knight in shining armor.
In between characters, there were only quite the popular ones. The two main lead actor Park Seo-Joon and Kang Ha-Neul. Both have great chemistry, especially to make the comedy works. And their police academy instructor, the veteran actor Sung Dong-il and Park Ha-Seon, whom their characters also contributes to the success of their film, even though they were only given limited screen time.
In conclusion, Midnight Runners is not the typical action-comedy-thriller film we used to watched. It’s not just about their great action scenes, their funny dialogues and interactions but it is about the films plot’s message to the audience. That everyone should be sincere and passionate in everything we do, we can be both lead actor at the same time supporting actor to save lives and to give justice. And by being selfless can make a huge difference in the society.
MIDNIGHT RUNNERS (FILM REVIEW) | MORGAN AWYONGUR
Midnight Runners. (n.d.).
Realism in film history – Realism – actor, children, movie, theatre, show, tv, director, music, son, cinema. (n.d.).