Director: Kim Sang-jin
Cast: Sol Kyung-gu, Cha Seung-won, Song Yun-ah
After seeing the exceptionally funny and comical Attack the Gas Station, I have soon become a devoted fan of director Kim Sang-jin. It was so excited to hear the release of his latest film Jail Breakers. As everyone could have expected, this movie made it to the top ten highest grossed domestic movie in Korea in 2002.
Identical to director Kim's previous comedies, the story of this film is full of absurdity. Mo-suk is convicted and jailed because he has stolen some bread. His sentence is only very short in the beginning, but due to his repeated escape attempt, it is extended to an eight year imprisonment. When he and his inmate Jae-pil (Sol Kyung-gu) have finally managed to break out, they soon discover that they are on the special pardoned release list... The whole plot is farcical and silly yet highly entertaining and humorous. This story of jail breaking is fully exploited by Kim Sang-jin, not only does he place Mo-suk and Jae-pil in a ridiculous situation in which they have to try their best to get back to jail by all means, the jail guards are also forced to pretend to be prisoners.
Social satire seems to be a popular theme for Korean filmmakers in these few years. In 2002, films like A.F.R.I.K.A., Emergency Measure 19, Break Out and Jail Breakers all belong to this group. If you try to analyze this movie in a more critical way, you'll notice that this big farce is not merely made to stir up the audience to laugh, it is rather a mirrored world, we should be able to realize that the stupidity of the characters and their lives are actually a perfect parallel to the absurdity of reality. In addition, the solemn images of politicians and government officials are also seriously subverted and mocked, they appear more like goons than what they are supposed to be. On the contrary, the heroes are the two protagonists who are always treated as the scum of the society. This misplacement of the image of characters is very sarcastic.
Personally speaking, despite the bigger budget and production scale, I still think this movie is in no way comparable to Attack the Gas Station. Nevertheless, the outstanding cast is certainly worth our recognition. As the most active actor of the year who has starred in four successful movies since the beginning of 2002, Sol Kyung-gu uses his witty performance to demonstrate his talent in comedy convincingly. Co-star Cha Seung-won is also an expert on comedy, in fact he has already proved his potentials well in films like Ghost in Love, Kick the Moon and Break Out. His comical acting style is a perfect fit for the role of the goal-less Mo-suk.
Jail Breakers may not be Kim Sang-jin's best, but his trademark is still unique as he is always faithful to his movie, and it is absolutely impossible to find any replacement. As a side note, disc 3 of the Korean DVD version is not the soundtrack of the movie, but a collection of songs done by a group called Jail Breakers project band, which is composed of the cast of Jail Breakers!
Reviewed by: Kantorates