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Jail Breakers (2002)
South Korea
North American Premiere
Director: Kim Sang-jim

Two convicts break out of prison via a tunnel one of them has been digging for the past six years. When they get back to Seoul one of them picks up a newspaper, only to find that both of their names are on an annual holiday list of prisoners who have been pardoned. The rest of the movie focuses on the pair's efforts to break back into the prison and a simultaneous visit of the prison by government officials.

To be completely honest, there's not a lot of depth to this movie. The first bit takes the time to develop the main characters, explain their backgrounds and how they wound up becoming incarcerated. The two then break out of prison and the whole premise of the movie is set up. While something this simple may not seem able to hold the viewers interest for a full 120 minutes, the wonderful characters and delightfully absurd situations they find themselves in were not only able to keep my attention but kept me laughing throughout the film. While most of the movie is nothing but zany comedy there is a bit of social satire depicting all the government officials as dim-witted, self-serving goons who are more concerned with keeping up appearances than actually serving the country. Plot holes abound, but if you are like me and willing to suspend disbelief you won't care at all about that. Portrayals of the "jail breakers" by Sol Kyung-gu and Cha Seung-won are great; they create characters that are utterly likeable while at the same time completely over the top and ludicrous. While "Jail Breakers" wasn't as good as my favorite Korean movie, "Attack the Gas Station" (another film by Kim Sang-jim), it came very close and was the highlight of the festival for me to this point. If you can appreciate zany comedy with great characters check this one out if you have the chance.
5/5

-Mortado