Observing from Ody C. Harahap’s recent directorial gigs, it seems apparent that he keeps expanding his directorial portfolio with wider genre exploration. After the 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 unusual comedy 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.
At times, Hit & Run first serves as a satire to the commercialization of cop’s sting operation as we are introduced to the protagonist, Tegar (Taslim), a prized young cop and a TV reality show called ‘Hit & Run.’ While busting out crime lairs and arresting petty criminals, Tegar will also direct the cameramen who man-mark him to capture him in action to later be aired in a national television. 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 Tegar fishing the drug-lord out.
Joe Taslim with Jefri Nichol and Chandra Liow in Hit & Run (2019)
Hit & Run will remind you immediately to the heyday of Hong Kong action comedy movies, where 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 some of the bits often overstaying the welcome. The comedy formulation is quite varied, from simply some exchange of banters to the defying of some actors’ stereotypical characters. Nichol brings quite a surprise playing a lovestruck cry-baby deviating 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 the comedic parts to the more serious parts hasn’t always been smooth, especially when there’s some melancholic spot in-between. The editing doesn’t help either to smooth 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