Imagine, while studying at the police academy, you finally get a break from classes and are having a night out on the town. Suddenly, you happen to witness a kidnapping and all the nearby policemen are busy. What would you do?

In the most comedic way possible, Kim Joo-Hwan’s movie “Midnight Runners” follows two young men as they use their police training to save a young woman’s life. Funny and heartwarming, “Midnight Runners” is a great action-comedy film that is definitely worth your time.

A race against time

Hwang Ki-Joon (Park Seo-Joon) and Kang Hee-yeol (Kang Ha-Neul) meet their first day of college at the Police Academy.

While initially, they don’t get along, they grow to become fast friends. One day, they receive permission to go into town and accidentally witness the kidnapping of a young woman.

They quickly report it to the nearest police station, but find everyone there is busy with another case. Remembering that their professor (Sung Dong Ill) once told them the first 7 hours after a kidnapping are the most crucial, the boys take the case into their own hands and try to track down the kidnappers. They encounter many surprise adventures and some life lessons along the way that will leave the audience laughing with delight.

Memorable performances in 'Midnight Runners'

From the script to the actors’ performances, “Midnight Runners” was a very enjoyable and well-told film.

Park Seo-Joon and Kang Ha-Neul had great chemistry and played off each other very well. Their banter and on-screen friendship carried the film as their characters worked to find the kidnapped woman.

Sung Dong Ill also gave a great performance as Professor Yang, a slightly worn down by life teacher at the academy who still looks out for and thinks highly of his students.

His stoic nature provided a great contrast from Park Seo-Joon and Kang Ha-Neul’s energetic characters.

Midnight Runners” was written by director Kim Joo-Hwan, who also wrote the films “Goodbye My Smile” and “Koala.” “Midnight Runners” was very well paced; the story wasn’t rushed, the comedy didn't rely on cheap gags, and all the character arcs paid off in the end.

The story of the midnight runners was allowed to be told in a very natural way. It also satisfyingly balanced the humor and the more serious elements of the story well.

Another plus in "Midnight Runners" was the fight scenes. It would have been easy for them to portray the characters Hwang Ki-Joon and Kang Hee-yeol as epic superhero policemen who could defeat everyone and anyone. However (and spoilers ahead), Kim Joo-Hwan stayed true to the fact that the boys were still training to become policemen. In other words, Hwang Ki-Joon and Kang Hee-yeol would get hurt when they fought the kidnappers, and even though the boys did often come out victorious, it was refreshingly believable.

'Midnight Runners' felt too formulaic

Unfortunately, some parts of the film were a little lacking. While the plot of “Midnight Runners” was enjoyable and the characters comical, the plot structure was very basic and slightly formulaic. Even though every good and bad moment felt believable, the advent of those moments did not surprise or catch me off guard. As I was watching, I could tell when it was time to go from happy to sad, and I was alright. Although to Kim Joo-Hwan’s credit, I did not always anticipate the specifics of it.

Additionally, the kidnappers' characters felt slightly stereotypical. There was not much depth to their characters, even the main ones. Other than the typical reason of it made them money, they had no reason to kidnap these girls.

But since we never actually saw them get paid, it felt like they did such awful things only because they were the villains of the story. It was disappointing since the characters Hwang Ki-Joon, Kang Hee-yeol and Professor Yang were more well rounded.

A great film for a night in

All in all, the comedy, performances, and the natural progression of the story were all highlights that made this film very enjoyable. If you’re looking for a fun action-comedy for a night in, “Midnight Runners” is a perfect choice. In fact, I’ve already watched it twice, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I watched it again someday soon.