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Hit-and-Run Squad - Movie Poster
Original Title:

South Korea 2019

Action, Crime

Han Jun-hee

Gong Hyo-jin
Ryu Jun-yeol
Jo Jung-suk
Yum Jung-ah
Jeon Hye-jin
Lee Sung-min
Yoo Yeon-soo
Park Ye-young
Lee Sung-wook

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Hit-and-Run Squad

Hit-and-Run Squad - Film Screenshot 1

Story: Detective Eun Si-yeon (Gong Hyo-jin) gets transferred to the hit-and-run department for disciplinary reasons after her methods of investigation were deemed problematic. She kept a close eye on the race driver Jeong Jae-cheol (Jo Jung-suk), who now earns millions as the head of JC motors, and finds out that he is involved in corruption on a high level. Si-yeon suspects Jeong to have contacts within the police, and her attempt to secure a video of a money handover to the police chief results in her transfer. In her new team she works closely with Seo Min-jae (Ryu Jun-yeol), who is a little bit peculiar, but a brilliant investigator. Due to his past as a criminal, he has a special perception of crime scenes. To Si-yeon's surprise, the team also investigates Jeong, who is said to have been involved in a hit-and-run accident not long ago. Even though the police didn't find a victim or even a car, there is a witness who then, however, suddenly retracts his statement. It is clear for Si-yeon that this is her chance to close in on the businessman and his network of corrupt politicians. She gets her teeth into the case and has to work with Min-jae, who used to be known for being a fast driver and therefore could be a big help in this case.

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Review: Expectations for a movie like "Hit-and-Run Squad" are relatively low, as you consider it to be an action movie which is laced with humor and supposed to get all social ranks and ages into cinemas. It's not a small surprise, though, when - apart from its fast pacing - the movie goes into a completely different direction as you would expect. There are fast cars, yes, but only on the sidelines and it is more about a criminal case which needs to be solved and which is connected to an even bigger one. At the same time, the characters grow together. And then it becomes clear that you get cheated out of your new expectations once more. "Hit-and-Run Squad" is indeed a big disappointment. Especially, because at the beginning, the movie seems to promise more than it actually ends up providing with its confusing script. The movie is full of unused opportunities and half-baked ideas. And I'm not only talking about the female cast here.

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Because with Gong Hyo-jin ("A Single Rider") in the lead and various woman in leading positions at the police you get the impression that the filmmaker wanted to put together a movie about powerful woman. So much so that it seems rather artificial. The most ridiculous thing slowly builds up with every passing minute of the movie, though: In the end, everything boils down to a showdown between two men in fast cars. Breaking up clichés is not what is happening here. Up until the second half of the movie, we are dealing with an investigation flick, whose protagonist Min-jae, played by Ryu Jun-yeol ("Little Forest"), has a pretty interesting personality. When he focuses at a crime scene, he is in a completely different world, but at the same time he generally creates the impression of being a former mobbing victim as well as a typical bully who harassed other students at school himself. This schizophrenic side of the character is pretty fascinating.

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Unfortunately, you get the feeling that his character gets flatter during the second half of the movie! This is very frustrating because the exact same thing happens to the bad guy, portrayed by Jo Jung-suk ("My Annoying Brother"), too. He stutters, is a spoiled celebrity, but also has something threatening about himself. Later he is just a cliché-driven antagonist, who suddenly stops stuttering too. Here, Si-yeon has it easier as she is pretty one-dimensional and boring right from the get-go. Surely, "Hit-and-Run Squad" had problems before the second half of the movie, but from this point on, they literally jump right at you. The extreme coincidences that make it possible for various scenes to work together, is the most unforgivable aspect of the movie. Numerous times, certain people are exactly at the place they have to be, or if need be, they are just not. Those coincidences are so extreme that you are just left with a bunch of questions about whether the director is serious with all this or maybe there is supposed to be a comedy hidden in there somewhere.

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However, we don't get a comedy here either, there is only something to laugh about in a few scenes with Min-jae's father. Otherwise, the movie's tone is dead-serious. And with the aforementioned coincidences, which start to pile up in an extreme manner during the middle part of the movie, the flick's biggest weakness reveals itself: the script. Director and script-writer Han Jun-hee was already responsible for "Coin Locker Girl", but what he put on paper this time, is a complete joke. Characters get more and more uninteresting, loads of supporting characters artificially stretch the movie's running time (completely over-the-top with 133 minutes!), but at best serve as small gear wheels pushing the plot forward, and a series of completely unrelated attempts to catch the bad guy. When the latter is clearly responsible for the death of another driver, all the witnesses present apparently aren't enough to get him behind bars. There have to be some sort of idiosyncrasies within the Korean legal system that I don't know about...

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The way director Han eventually sets up his finale is simply a weak attempt to include a long racing sequence. The idea of pushing somebody onto a race track for the sole purpose of getting the hero to run against him is simply a ridiculous motivation. Fortunately enough, the race sequences are rather impressive and there is also some nice car body damage. The only weird thing here is that the action scenes were filled with badly done CGI effects. Completely unnecessary. At least, Han knows a thing or two about directing, but the script is so weak that it doesn't even have B-movie charm and it doesn't fit the polished images and the nice cast. The good cast on the other hand is not allowed to show its talent and those moments when the actors actually shine happen before the second half of the movie, after which everything starts falling apart. Everyone who has at least a little bit of taste will just get a headache from the script and will therefore not be able to notice and appreciate the few positive aspects of the flick. "Hit-and-Run Squad" is a movie to steer clear of.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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