I’ve said it before that action films aren’t my cup of tea, but I can always make exception for action comedy flicks especially if it stars handsome oppas. LOL. And one example of that exception is this hella entertaining buddy cop movie called Midnight Runners, which is gonna be our K-Movie Corner offering for its buzzer-beater edition for this month. Alright, let’s do this!
Midnight Runners is a 2017 action comedy movie starring Park Seo-joon and Kang Ha-neul as an unlikely student duo at the Korean National Police University. They entered the academy with no clear intention of becoming a cop, but they are ironically the ones with the right attitude to be so. A supposed to be fun night becomes a night full of troubles (and running!!!) after our two cops in training witnessed a kidnapping incident, and tried to rescue the female victim only to discover that she’s not the only one and that it’s not just a simple kidnapping case but a complicated crime involving illegal egg cell and internal organ trade.
Fun fact: Midnight Runners is the 4th highest-grossing local film in South Korea in 2017, reaching over 5.6 million admissions just five weeks after its theatrical release.
I’m currently obsessed with Park Seo-joon over his ongoing K-Drama Why Secretary Kim where he plays the role of a narcissistic and intelligent boss of a family-owned conglomerate. Meanwhile, his role here in Midnight Runners as the dumb jock Park Ki-joon is very different. He’s someone who acts first before he thinks. He’s also penniless, which is the primary reason why he entered the police academy because it’s free. But there’s one thing that serves as a common denominator between his roles in Why Secretary Kim and here in Midnight Runners, and that is they’re both funny to bits.
On the other hand, Kang Ha-neul will always hold a special spot in my heart for his role as 8th Prince Wang Wook in Scarlet Heart Ryeo. There is actually a similarity between his roles here in Midnight Runners as the germaphobe nerd Kang Hee-yeol and in that heartbreaking period drama in the sense that they’re both more of thinkers than doers. Wang Wook didn’t do anything for Hae Soo, remember? LOL. Hee-yeol’s main reason for entering the police academy is to have a different experience from his classmates at the science high school where he graduated.
Ki-joon and Hee-yeol are the complete opposites, which is probably why they initially disliked each other. But that dislike immediately turned into genuine friendship when Ki-joon helped Hee-yeol after the latter got injured during a school exercise in exchange for, guess what, steak!!! LOL.
The movie’s main strength is definitely Park Seo-joon and Kang Ha-neul’s oozing on-screen chemistry. They are so fun to watch especially whenever they do the fistbump or throw dirty fingers at each other or at their “favorite” classmate Jae-ho (Bae Yoo-ram). But they aren’t just good at doing the comedy scenes, they are also impressive at pulling off the action scenes! And oh, Park Seo-joon’s abs are so magnetic, it would make you stop-play-rewind-replay his workout scenes multiple times. There’s one guilty ahjumma right here. LOL.
Seriously, both actors displayed smooth and convincing acting performances. In fact, Park Seo-joon collected several Best New Actor trophies for his role in this movie from various award-giving bodies such as the 54th Grand Bell Awards and the 9th KOFRA, among others.
Fun fact: It was the first time for Park Seo-joon to play a lead film role in Midnight Runners.
Oh before I forget, let me mention Park Ha-sun and Sung Dong-il’s memorable portrayals of the terror police academy instructor Lee Joo-hee a.k.a. Medusa and Professor Yang Sung-il, a just police official who stood up for Ki-joon and Hee-yeol when they’re on the verge of getting expelled from the Korean National Police Academy.
I also want to commend PD Jason Kim for giving this action comedy a heart, and for managing to criticize bureaucracy in the police force while uplifting it at the same time by showing that there are still good cops in the making who are willing to put their lives on the line in the name of duty.
Final verdict: Midnight Runners stays true to its genre—action-packed but is also easy and fun to watch thanks to its effective brand of comedy. 4/5
~All credit for the stills/photos/video used in this review goes to Movie Rock/Lotte Entertainment.