Although I slept for the majority of the eleven-hour flight between Abu Dhabi and Australia, I did need to keep myself awake in the few hours before landing so I could adjust to the time difference. I needed an engaging, interesting movie, and the description of the Korean Time Renegades (2016) fit the bill exactly.
What’s it about?
The movie starts with the unfolding of New Year’s Eve for two men, thirty-two years apart. In modern times, Gun Woo (Lee Jin Wook), a detective, is waiting for a sign from his superiors to arrest a much-wanted criminal. In the 1980s, Ji Hwan (Cho Jung Seok) and his girlfriend Yoon Jung (Lim Soo Jung) are celebrating the night together when her handbag gets stolen. Gun Woo chases after his criminal and Ji Hwan chases after the thief. The events that befall the two of them are paralleled; both are injured in the resulting fight, rushed into emergency surgery, and experience near death on the operating table. When they awake, another connection is made; they both have unusual dreams in which they experience each other’s life. Both men feel that the dreams are too realistic to ‘just be dreams’, but they do their best to brush them off. That is, until Gun Woo is handed a folder of cold cases from the 1980s by his chief, Detective Kang (Jung Jin Young), and discovers that Yoon Jung is the first victim in a line of serial murders. Can Gun Woo in the future and Ji Hwan in the past work together to save her, and find the one responsible for the murders?
There is plenty of solid acting in this movie. Of course, Lee Jin Wook and Cho Jung Seok are excellent as our two main leads. They were both very convincing in their emotions and the way they struggled with being connected to each other over a time span of thirty-odd years. Lim Soo Jung actually plays two roles in the movie, and she’s able to easily distinguish the two, but keeps (plot-driven) similarities between them. Great casting choices!
I LOVED the story of this movie. It was interesting and twisting, and kept me glued to the screen the whole time. The story unfolded at a perfect pace; starting slow and then building to a massive, dramatic climax. Not even one second of this movie is wasted; every scene is used perfectly to create the story. After the emotional journey to get to the end, the movie is finished perfectly. There’s a definite sense of completion in the story, which is just so satisfying.
I did have some minor issues with certain parts of the story, however. Although this movie isn’t technically time-travel, it does have the whole “changed-actions-of-the-past-from-knowledge-of-the-future-affect-the-future” aspect. This always hurts my head. In this movie, this aspect felt a little contrived at times. This is particularly the case with one character who plays an important role in both the past and the present. I feel that as the past changed, the present-version character’s personality should change as well as his memories change. This whole memory-being-affected should have actually applied to more than one character, but in the case of all of them, they stayed the same, which didn’t really make sense.
Story: 8.5/10. Thrilling, interesting, and told completely and perfectly, I absolutely adored the story in this movie.
Characters: 7.5/10. The characters aren’t anything new, but the actors portraying them are fantastic.
Time Renegades was a very interesting and satisfactory movie to watch. I can forgive some of the plot issues I had because the story had me glued to the screen the whole time. Combined with likeable characters, superb acting, and a solid ending, Time Renegades is a great watch. Overall, I give it an 8/10.