Jail Breakers (2002)

jailbreakers

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The unlikeliest of escaped prisoners make for a buddy team in this hilarious comedy from director Kim Sang-Jin.

Since his incarceration for stealing, Choi Mu-Seok has unsuccessfully attempted to escape. He explains his story to a group of prisoners in a rehabilitation group. He was once a bike messenger who since having an accident felt shunned by society. He no longer knew right from wrong and stole bread from a local vendor while still in his cast. While he made three failed attempts, he’s been taking his time with a fourth escape, in which he has been digging a tunnel with a spoon.

Yu Jae-Pil is a fellow prisoner who meets Mu-Seok by chance. When Jae-Pil’s girlfriend Kyung-Soon informs him that she is planning to get married and can no longer wait for him, this sends the prisoner in a spiral of insanity. Determined to get his girl back, Jae-Pil convinces Mu-Seok to let him escape along with him. The two successfully escape and begin to enjoy their newfound freedom. Until they learn in the newspapers that on the annual Amnesty Day, where a select amount of prisoners are let go because of good behavior, they are selected to be a part of that list. As if finding a way back to prison isn’t going to be enough trouble, gang leader Yong Min-Sun has caused chaos in the prison and has taken over the prison.

For years, fans have seen films about people escaping from prison, whether they were drama, action, or comedy. However, what happens when you escape but learn you are up to be paroled, and you have to go back to prison but it’s not that easy? That is what this film from Kim Sang-Jin attempts to answer in quite comedic manner.

Sol Gyung-Ku and Cha Seung-Won are pretty funny as the buddy team of escaped prisoners Jae-Pil and Mu-Seok. Jae-Pil only has one thing on his mind in terms of his escape. His love for Kyung-Soon, played by Song Yun-Ah, makes Jae-Pil a lunatic. When he learns in prison that she is planning to get married, he loses his mind only a jilted boyfriend can. It is when Jae-Pil learns who his girlfriend’s new fiancée is, he really goes ballistic. As for Mu-Seok, he only intends to escape because he felt the whole time he was unjustly jailed because he felt shunned by society. While his flashback takes place during the opening credits, Jae-Pil is given two flashbacks sporadically in the film.

While the main plot involves the boys attempting to return to prison when the warden agrees to forgo them if they make it back without notice, the warden himself gets in a major pickle with a gang leader who takes over the prison. This is the major subplot that eventually does connect with the plot of the boys attempting to return to prison with some very funny consequences, especially the so-called “love triangle” between Jae-Pil, Kyung-Soon, and her new fiancée.

Jail Breakers is a very funny Korean comedy about what to do if you escape prison and have to return when you are selected for parole but have to deal with so much in the process. Sol Kyung-Gu and Cha Seung-Won’s funny performances really make this a standout Korean film.

WFG RATING: B+

Cinema Service presents a Director’s Home Pictures production. Director: Kim Sang-Jin. Producer: Kang Woo-Suk. Writer: Park Jung-Woo. Cinematography: Jeong Kwang-Seok. Editing: Ko Im-Pyo.

Cast: Sol Kyung-Gu, Cha Seung-Won, Song Yun-Ah, Kang Sung-Jin, Kang Shin-Il, Yoo Hae-Jin.

 

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