The team of director Kim Sang-jin and screenwriter Park Jeong-woo make up one of the most successful collaborations in Korean cinema. Beginning with the hit comedy Attack the Gas Station! (1999) and continuing on through Kick the Moon (2001), the two have become an undeniable force at the box-office. Their latest hit Jail Breakers continues on in the same vein as the previous films, with a clever story and a strong cast of Sol Kyung-gu (Oasis), Cha Seung-won (Kick the Moon) and Song Yoon-ah (A Masterpiece in My Life).
The movie’s story, which was later purchased for remake rights by Hollywood studio Warner Bros., follows two prisoners who at the beginning of the film succeed in breaking out of prison (viewers will notice the obvious references to The Shawshank Redemption). Elated, they steal a car and drive to Seoul, only to open up the newspaper and discover something that makes them wish they had never broken out in the first place…
Like the two movies which preceded it, Jail Breakers starts out with a simple premise and a large group of outlandish characters. As the story progresses, the director gradually pushes up the volume and overall level of chaos until by its climax, everyone is raging out of control. Only through a last, impassioned effort for negotiation is the situation able to find a resolution.
Whether or not you like this film likely depends upon your attitude towards this style of humor (people who liked Kick the Moon are sure to enjoy this as well). The opening in particular is well-executed and clever, quickly laying the groundwork for the story to follow. The movie does feel somewhat long, however - by the time the climax comes around, viewers may feel a bit weary of all the shouting and brawling. Nonetheless this particular brand of Korean humor is something you’re unlikely to find anywhere else.