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Running Turtle

Geobugi dallinda
South Korea, 2009
Directed by:
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Scr.: Yeon-Woo Lee
Phot.: Yong-Kyou Cho
Editor: Steve M. Choe, Jin Lee
Music: Byung-Hoon Lee, Yeong-Gyu Jang
Cast: Yun-Seok Kim, Kyeong-Ho Jeong
Distributor: Showbox
Format: 35 mm
Color
117 mins

One of the top box-office hits in South Korea last year is a clever and often humorous commentary on The Chaser (2008, Na Hong-Jin). Just like in that film, Kim Yoon-Suk plays the lead role, this time as toothless detective Jo Pil-Sung who plays a cat-and-mouse game with a fleeing crook. Jo is suspended, which doesn't help the mood at home, and his gambling addiction doesn't help either. Yet he can't stop himself gambling and luck seems to be on his side when he wins a lot of money. Unfortunately he bumps into the escaped Song Gi-Tae, who robs him and also beats him up. The humiliated detective calls in some friends and they set off after Song Gi-Tae in order to earn the reward on his head, and of course also to save the detective's honour. The fleeing master in martial arts doesn't make life easy for them, however.

This film is not a thriller that would accompany Memories of Murder and The Chaser. It looks more like a countryside detective drama similar to an ordinary TV human documentary showing mundane life of an incompetent middle age police officer. Although the director Yeon-Woo Lee made a banal comedy 2424 (2002), his realistic direction and cinematography by Cho Yong-kyu (Secret Sunshine, Crying Fist) made this into a rare breed of heart warming drama.

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