Director: Shin Tae-ra
Starring: Kang Ji-hwan, Sung Yu-ri, Kim Young-kwang, Lee Soo-hyuk, Shin Min-chul
Detective Cha (Kang Ji-hwan)is a slovenly and poorly physiqued officer who cares more about getting his man than his appearance. When it is discovered that illicit drug activities are going down at some of the country’s largest fashion shows, the order comes down to go undercover. With former classmate and upcoming fashion designer Young-jae (Sung Yu-ri) assisting, he sets about with his physical transformation from overweight cop joke to a runway model convincing enough to infiltrate the elite ranks and get his perp.
Actor Kang re-teams with director Shin Terra, having previously worked together in 2009’s smash hit My Girlfriend’s an Agent. They do seem to work well together and Kang is genuinely funny. Sung plays her role well and the two have a good onscreen chemistry. The models in the film seem to be actual models and it definitely shows, delivery is wooden at the expense of looking cool. Not necessarily terrible, but definitely the acting low point. Kang’s comrades in the police department are good, with particular mention to Sin Jeong-geun and Choi Gwi-hwa as his chief and sometimes partner respectively. On the villain side they do not fare as well, Park Jeong-hak, who is typically quite good, seems like a waste of a villain and he is never menacing, not really.
Shin Terra directs a well shot film with solid techniques. Since the film is a pretty straight comedy, it thankfully never crosses over into the dramatic realm for too long, as is want for many other Korean ‘comedies.’ Of particular note are the scenes where a young Cha and Young-jae are students in school together and the younger actors they have portraying them are well cast and likable. Camera movement is pretty dynamic during many plot points that require altered states, such as a bad trip with the drugs being sought after. It a good looking film and the production value of the picture is quite high.
Production value is very high with a few vehicle chases played for laughs and the final fashion show set looking very professional and authentic. Music is above average with high energy beats to go along with the fashion inspired storyline. I was a bit disappointed to not hear actress Sung Yu-ri sing a bit since she has had a successful career as a singer herself, but the film didn’t call for it necessarily. The music is very noticeable for keeping the pace of the movie fast and the generally long, for a comedy, running time of 121 minutes went by pretty quickly.
Generally funny with only a bit of action, the film is more of a comedy than anything else. While avoiding the over the top route taken by other fashion oriented comedies (Zoolander, Miss Congeniality, etc.) minus a few bodily function jokes, Runway Cop does a pretty good job of keeping the viewer entertained. The film does have a bit of a weak finale, but the much more comedic first half really shines as solid Korean comedy. The film is definitely worth a watch for those looking for a new Korean comedy where the actor is willing to put himself way out there for a laugh.
You may enjoy this film if you liked: My Girlfriend is an Agent, She’s on Duty, Fight Back to School
Special Thanks to CJ Entertainment for providing a viewing copy!