B.A.P is back with the cinematic MV for “Skydive,” the title track for their second full album, Noir.
“Skydive” gets intense and if your introduction to B.A.P was “Feel So Good” or “That’s My Jam,” you’re in for a shock.
Before the video was released, TS Entertainment released a teaser with the headline ‘Who is X?’ along with a figure in a sniper scope. With this image in mind, the music video solves the story of ‘X’ who is actually a member of the B.A.P gang. With Youngjae’s betrayal at the end of “One Shot” still in everyone’s head, the obvious choice was him. However, the video leads us through many twists and turns before providing the answer.
The video gives us two viable options of who could be ‘X’.
Choice one is Daehyun, the obvious main character. Following the kidnapping of a girl who is obviously very precious to him, Daehyun receives a tip to go to a specific location. There he sees Himchan paying off a man in exchange for information. Later, after getting rescued from a drunken bar fight, Daehyun awakens in Himchan’s hideout, seemingly a member. Still suspicious, he follows Himchan through some alleys but is caught. After Himchan gets away, Daehyun gets a text with a location and finds the girl’s body. The next message on his phone is GAME OVER. However, Daehyun is shown not to be ‘X’ in the final fight scene.
Himchan is the other ‘X’ suspect. He is the leader of the gang and is shown ruthlessly killing a man by shooting him through the head. He has a hold on the group, though it may be shaky as shown by Jongup’s subtle threat toward him. The gang leader is sentimental, though, as he rescues Daehyun from getting beaten up and also doesn’t kill him after catching the other man spying on him.
Through flashbacks, shown in black and grey versus the neon lighting of the rest of the video, Daehyun pieces together from the other gang members’ behavior — Youngjae stealing money from the takeover in the video’s beginning, Yongguk burning profiles — that there must be another player in the mix. He heads to the final showdown and that’s where things really get messy.
The gunfight at the end is where things take a turn. Bullets are flying left and right, leaving blood splatter everywhere. The members die one by one, even after a spectacular dive by Zelo. Both sides are completely left for dead and then….
Jongup, completely unharmed, walks over to Daehyun and makes Daehyun shoot himself with his own gun.
A series of black and white flashbacks show Jongup tipping off Daehyun about the kidnapping, putting a gun to his head in an alley, leaving a picture in his hand, and finally setting up a deal with the men from the showdown. As he walks away smirking, Jongup reveals the bulletproof vest he’d been wearing underneath his clothing.
Jongup is X.
Jongup’s sinister smile and the way his eyes just look absolutely insane are completely believable. Daehyun emoted well. It nearly broke my heart to watch him cry when he found the girl’s body, and his drunk scenes looked real. Himchan played a convincing gang leader and if I didn’t know better I’d wonder what he did on weekends. The acting by the true leads, who make up the bulk of the video, really shines through.
The style of the video is reminiscent of “One Shot” in many ways. First, there’s the multiple moods where various songs from the album are mixed into the main video. The initial shots of “Skydive” play the music from the album intro “Le Noir.” There is also the theme of indulgence, where in “One Shot” the group is partying on a boat with models and here they are playing poker with the money they’ve stolen and killed for. Third is the betrayal from the least suspected member of the group that ends (at least partially in the case of “One Shot”) with the death of everyone involved.
While the comparisons to “One Shot” aren’t easy to ignore, where the video excels besides the acting is the styling. The definition of ‘film noir’ varies but some agreed upon aspects include: films done in black and white, narration (especially flashback narration), neon signs, and expressionist lighting. The lighting is an especially big part because though there is no narration, the use of lighting allows us to tell the difference between the present and the past. Up until Jongup’s betrayal, the bright neon places such as the club and the alleyways were the present. The past was shot in black and white as though Daehyun was remembering. The ending continues in the same way as Jongup’s POV takes over. The color fades in around the 9:22 mark, indicating the current reality, whereas shots of Jongup setting everything up — shown in black and white—is shown to be the past.
Most importantly, this video represents a shift in B.A.P’s musicality, back towards the “One Shot” and “Warrior” days when they went out, got dirty, and got things done. Though it’s hard to pin down a definitive B.A.P sound, the song and video is reminiscent of their earlier work, which is a huge welcome to some Babyz. All in all, “Skydive” is a mini-cinematic experience that will take you on a journey, a true film noir as the album title and concept want you to believe.