August 2, 2008

Jail Breakers: Lame Prisoners on the Lam

There are bad comedies. And then there are god-awful ones. Kim Sang-jin's Jail Breakers falls squarely in the latter category. (This from the same director who brought us the delightful Attack the Gas Station!) A plodding chase movie in which two escaped convicts must find their way back into prison in order to get released properly for Amnesty Day, Jail Breakers is about as funny as solitary confinement. Part of the problem here is it's never clear why Convict 1 (matinee idol Cha Seung-won) wants to escape and whether Convict 2 (a braying Sol Kyung-gu) truly wants to return behind bars. Since the two actors don't exhibit any chemistry either, you're not only wondering why they're doing what they're doing but also why they're doing it with each other. Infinitely funnier (and more focused) is Convict 3 (Kang Seong-jin) who leads the insurrection back at the prison itself. Kang's performance is based on a theory of acting that advocates making a choice and sticking with it. Kang doesn't worry about dimensions, motivations or variation. He just bugs out his eyes and gets angry...over and over again. He can't quite stifle all the yawns but he at least keeps the movie from being a criminal waste of time.

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