[Review] Runway Cop/Detective Cha – 차형사

WHEN ZOOLANDER COLLAPSES THE RUNWAY

Detective Cha Chul Soo (Kang Ji Hwan) is known for his nauseating stench and D-line body but he’s dedicated to catching bad guys.  When a drug smuggling operation is discovered in the fashion world, he enlists up and coming designer, Go Young Jae (Sung Yuri), to help him conform to the undercover role he must play.

First off, thank god for the title change.  차형사 literally translates as Detective Cha but that barely describes anything about the movie.  I usually like the original titles but Runway Cop promotes the tone of the movie far better than Detective Cha.

I have been looking forward to this movie.  I love Kang Ji Hwan and Sung Yuri and love even more that they’ve reunited.

Plus, I’ve really enjoyed the roles Lee Soo Hyuk has been taking on to further his acting career.  Unfortunately, Runway Cop is a lot of flash and unfocused.

The reason why I love Kang Ji Hwan so much is his ability to switch easily from comedic to dramatic acting.  And he does with so much bravado and gusto.  He certainly brings that out in his character of Detective Cha.  Kang Ji Hwan embraces Chul Soo’s slovenly ways and is shameless about flaunting it.

His comedic acting plus Sung Yuri’s reactions are the highlights of the movie.

The supporting cast do their job in helping to move the plot along and providing some comedy.  Kim Sun Ho (Lee Soo Hyuk) and Han Seung Woo (Kim Young Kwang) battle over the issue of morality and eventually the two help Chul Soo catch the bad guy. The pacing and progression of these two characters moves at a snails pace without much filler to fill out the time.  I think it’s a waste of their talent.

Min Seung (Shin Min Chul) is a hilarious addition and probably my favorite out of the three. The only way to describe him is to say he’s the ZE:A’s Kwang Hee of the movie.  He’s got a scatterbrained personality with a smart quip always at the ready.

Unfortunately, the movie is edited and written in such a way that has no cohesion or comes to definitive conclusion.  He’s a cop who wants to breakup a drug smuggling ring within the fashion world.  Sure, he gets the bad guy but he doesn’t get the bad guy by uncovering the drugs.  What the hell was the purpose of the whole drug plotline then?

Then there are the technical flaws of the movie.  Most noticeably the audio mixing which should be used to enhance the suspense, comedy and romance goes on break at some of the key scenes which would have illuminated the chemistry between our leads.  I often speak about this issue as filmmakers almost rely too heavily on the music to make up for lackluster script and/or acting.  Here’s a case where the opposite happens.

For example, when Young Jae first notices Chul Soo’s scars we’re supposed to feel sorry for Chul Soo and understand how Young Jae is starting to realize her feelings for him.  There’s no music that fades up and the tender moment is lost on me.  It’s immediately followed by a comedic moment that fizzles because it had no tender moment to build up from and misdirect you.

I want to like this movie but the story leads the viewer astray.  If you want to do absurd comedy à la Zoolander, stick to that.  But if you want to crime comedy à la Miss Congeniality, then do that.  You can’t NOT solve the case and not fully commit to the absurdist comedy genre and call it a wrap.  It’s unfortunate since the last thing I saw Kang Ji Hwan before this was Lie to Me.  Fingers crossed that his next project is much, much better.

Rating

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