Review Hit & Run (2019)

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In observing Ody C. Harahap’s recent directorial gigs, it seems apparent that he keeps expanding his directorial portfolio with wider genre exploration. After remaking South Korean fantasy dramedy, Miss Granny, into Sweet 20 and working with Joko Anwar for another fantasy dramedy, Orang Kaya Baru, Harahap even furthers his effort with an oddball buddy cop movie, Hit & Run—starring The Raid and The Night Comes for Us star, Joe Taslim, for a rematch against his Raid nemesis, Yayan Ruhian the Mad Dog.

Hit & Run serves as a satire to the commercialization of cop’s sting operation as reflected through by the protagonist, Tegar (Taslim)—a prized young cop and a star of a TV reality show called ‘Hit & Run.’ While busting out crime lairs and arresting petty criminals, Tegar is flanked by cameramen who will man-mark and capture him in action. Fueled with appetite for fame and personal grudge, Tegar is obsessed to capture a drug-lord (Yayan Ruhian) who just escaped from a prison. As he digs deeper into the case, he encounters a drug dealer wannabe, Lio (Chandra Liow); a runaway cry-baby, Jefri (Jefri Nichol); and a sensational diva, Meisa (Tatjana Saphira), who will later help him fishing the drug-lord out.

Hit & Run will remind you immediately to the heyday of Hong Kong action comedies, in which Jackie Chan blended action sequences with deadpan humor in Police Story or City Hunter; or where Stephen Chow made fresh comedy with over-the-top comic style and slapstick humor in Fight Back to School series. Upi and Fajar Putra’s script saves up a lot of entertaining bits to fuel the story even when they’re often overstaying the welcome. The comedy formulation quite varies—from some exchange of banters to the defying of some actors’ archetypes. For instance, Nichol brings quite a surprise by portraying a lovestruck cry-baby in a deviation from his usual bad boy roles. Saphira provides an unusual comic relief as a cringeworthy diva who often uses hyperbole in conversations—mocking a real-life Indonesian diva. Taslim caught the audiences off-guard with some breakthrough from his action-hero persona to emanate a cocky, narcissistic character he isn’t known for.

In the post-Raid era, action sequences have never been the same again. Hit & Run adopts the close-quarter combat style made famous by The Raid to certain levels; they even go further by bringing the choreographer behind the 2011 action bonanza to spice up the action elements. Compared to the comedy portions, the action portions is quite repetitive—some Raid style brawls are stacked up, spiced up with a Speed inspired pursuit scene and the rematch between Taslim and Ruhian. The climactic battle is surprisingly brutal and providing a satisfying rematch we’ve dreamt of. And yet, we have seen the process to the culminating battle so many times before making it less special.

The shift from comedy to a more serious part hasn’t always been smooth, especially when there’s some melancholic spot in-between. The editing doesn’t help to smoothen up the transition making it a tonal mess from the beginning to end. However, the tonal mess Hit & Run is fun at least. The formula of partly embracing the heyday of Hong Kong cop movies, partly grasping post-Raid actioners and mostly channeling its oddball tendency, in the end, works.

Hit & Run (2019)

Action, Crime, Comedy Directed by: Ody C. Harahap Written by: Upi Avianto, Fajar Putra S Starred by: Joe Taslim, Tatjana Saphira, Jefri Nichol, Chandra Liow Runtime: 114 mins

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