REVIEW / ACTION
Hit-And-Run Squad (PG 13)
134 minutes/Opens on Feb 28/3 stars
The story: Police detective Si-yeon (Gong Hyo-jin) gets demoted to the lowly hit-and-run squad when she mounts an unsuccessful attempt to expose a corrupt police commissioner. There, she meets Min-jae (Ryu Jun-yeol), a rookie police officer with a natural talent for racing. The pair team up to try and arrest rich and powerful businessman and race-car driver Jae-chul (Cho Jung-seok), who is ruthless in his pursuit of fame, speed and power.
If Hit-And-Run Squad was a 90-minute movie, it would have been great. Unfortunately, the South Korean action flick runs about 40 minutes longer.
The film - about two cops trying to nab a corrupt police commissioner in cahoots with a ruthless Formula One race car driver (Cho) - manages to be both gripping and entertaining for much of the first half.
While it is a hodgepodge of genres - a little action here, some undercover cop espionage scenes there, and sprinkled with light romance and comedy - the plot progresses, thanks to the swift pace.
There is an exciting car chase, fight scene and showdown between two lead characters that leaves one breathless.
Too bad the movie did not wrap up there. It dragged on, shoving an already bloated plot with a sentimental father-son sub-plot, a dull twist and a bizarre ordinary-folks-save-the-day storyline which culminates in yet another extended car chase, fight scene and showdown between the same two characters.
The similar tropes meant the ending loses much of its impact.
And no matter how exciting, car chase scenes, when dragged for too long, turn tepid.
Thankfully, the star-studded cast give decent performances.
Gong pulls off a layered performance as a frustrated but tough-as-nails cop, who is at once cool and imposing but also tired, jaded and vulnerable.
Ryu's earnest, goofy performance creates a believable front for his character's troubled past.
As the maniacal villain though, Cho, Gong's co-star in television series Jealousy Incarnate (2016), came off like an evil children's cartoon character - more Mojo Jojo in The Powerpuff Girls than Batman's Joker.
The rest of the cast, which features Key of K-pop boyband Shinee, are fun background characters, who have little to do but bring some colour to the story.
Ultimately, the second half of the film weighs down an otherwise enjoyable work.