Movie review of “Time Renegades”: This intricately plotted Korean fantasy follows two men separated in time by about 30 years who share memories of a literal girl of their dreams. Their job: Try to save her from her dire fate. Rating: 2 stars out of 4.
Back and forth through time, the Korean-language thriller “Time Renegades” goes.
It’s a story of linked fates and shared memories — shifting from 1983, where a stabbing victim named Jihwan (Jo Jung-suk) struggles to survive in a hospital emergency room, to 2015, where a cop named Geonwoo (Lee Jin-uk) lies critically wounded from a gunshot wound in the same ER.
And then, back to ’83 and forward to 2015, to and fro again and again, as writer-director Kwak Jae-yong guides the audience through an intricately plotted fantasy that is equal parts romantic drama and police procedural.
Movie Review ★★
‘Time Renegades,’ with Lim Soo-jung, Jo Jung-suk, Lee Jin-uk. Written and directed by Kwak Jae-yong. 108 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains language, violence). In Korean, with English subtitles. Alderwood Mall 16.
Emerging from their respective life-and-death struggles, the traumatized twosome become haunted by their dreams. Awareness slowly dawns that the dreams are each other’s memories. And the focus of both sets of memories is one particular woman — the literal girl of their dreams.
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They’re two women, actually, both played by Lim Soo-jung. One is the ill-fated fiancee of Jihwan. She’s been slain by a serial killer. The other is the first woman’s doppelgänger. She is a startling presence in the world of 2015, at least in the eyes of the cop, who has dreamed of her dire fate in ’83. Not only startled, he’s also smitten.
And so, across time, the two men, spurred by their linked memories, try to unravel the mystery of multiple murders and perhaps change the past to save their dream girl.
The picture’s time shifts are smoothly handled by Kwak. But eventually confusion sets in as the search for the disguised killer (he commits his crimes wearing a gas mask) morphs into a hunt for a copycat murderer, and a revenge subplot involving a subordinate character is added to the mix.
At the end, “Time Renegades” lapses into melodrama as a final fight between good guy and killer plays out on a literally dark and stormy night.