The town of Sam-po has seen a series of daring daylight bank robberies and it has lead to a declining trust in both the banks to hold people’s money as well the local police’s ability to deal with this threat. In order to restore confidence in the police force, the new chief of police decides that the entire force is going to participate in a lottery to pick members to play specific roles in a simulation of a bank robbery for some positive PR. What he doesn’t tell anyone except one special officer is that while the other roles may be up for grabs the most important one- that of the robber- has already been decided on in an attempt to get both a solid presentation as well as give the very rigid officer a chance to loosen up a bit. The chief has decided that the meticulous and staid traffic cop JUNG Do-man is going to be the perpetrator in their exercises, but it may become a choice both men come to regret as Jung Do-man carries out all of his assignments with extreme amounts of study, preparation and vigor to fulfill his duty; and when that duty is to do his best, this attempt to improve the police’s reputation may be in danger as they face something they could never predict- one of their own doing everything he can to simulate the most effective robbery possible while also trying to keep his own wavering emotions in check as plays at being that which he has spent his adult life working against.
Heist movies are practically as old as cinema itself, with The Great Train Robbery being one that gained much fame for its techniques, and the themes have made a practically steady appearance of late as either a main or subplot of no small amount of films. With this environment, no one could have blamed the film makers for creating a film that either showed off some anti-heroes who charm their way into the viewer’s hearts (and the police ranks) despite their actions or a darker film of the police trying to infiltrate one such gang in order to stop a robbery. Instead the staff went into a perhaps even more difficult direction of trying to portray the protagonist as a hero going against his very nature as he carries out his assigned mission with an attention to detail that may have allowed him in a different environment to be one of the greatest thieves ever. The heart of the film’s charm is in showcasing its main character as he goes through his absurd actions in such a deadpan and underplayed way that one can’t help but laugh out loud at many of the situations presented in a manner that if they were played in a more energetic way would be far closer to slapstick and just not quite as amusing in their oddness.
The film has some difficulties at times despite this, particularly early on where it is a bit slow to start and catch on in no small part due to its low key protagonist and as the film goes on and the inane nature of many of the scenes grows the film starts to branch off in such a way that those who haven’t bought into its quirky delivery and style may find themselves falling completely out of the film’s narrative as it spirals somewhat unevenly in its wild pace. There are also a few moments where the film comes close to breaking its charm, both in a real danger to some police officers as well as one scene of a faked bit that toes a very perilous line in terms of shattering the humorous nature of the film with a dark situation though it manages to recover from this in rather short order. These aren’t the only flaw either as the film starts to show some holes in its mechanisms, particularly toward the climax with an unexplained move by some of the cast as well as a few odd moments along the way that are edited in such a way one wonders if the movie was originally going to go in a different direction in terms of tone but that the film makers decided to pursue a more comedic route later and tried to make the previously shot material fit this new direction.
With so much seemingly working against the film a viewer might be surprised to find that during the viewing most of these don’t really seem to matter as the film manages an amazing charisma for itself as it constructs some comedic scenes with a deadpan delivery that actually works to underscore and uplift the material in a way that would make some of the comedic geniuses of the recent past applaud the cast’s ability to seemingly know exactly how to deliver a line in a way that benefits the script and situation rather more than in a way that gains the laughs just for themselves. The final work really feels like an ensemble effort where everyone involved was working to make sure that everything served the final product rather than an individual talent involved. This really works to help carry the film at the end as the last 20 minutes or so make it seem that the writers didn’t know how to end the feature so they shoehorned in a brief subplot along the way that feels every bit manipulative, yet the film’s momentum still lifts it past this and a logical dead spot and leaves a fantastic work in total that will surprise and charm those looking for a fantastic comedy of a slightly different than typical bent.