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Film review: Confidential Assignment – buddy cop comedy bridges the two Koreas

The plot of this comedy about a North Korean agent and a bumbling South Korean policeman makes little sense, but it’s so entertaining audiences won’t mind as they embrace the lead characters

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 March, 2017, 2:55pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 October, 2017, 11:53am

3.5/5 stars

This comedy thriller is centred on the comically cagey partnership between a stern-faced North Korean agent and a hapless South Korean street cop. Directed by Kim Sung-hoon, it convenviently ignores the political repercussions such a partnership would surely have in a real life, and its narrative makes little sense, but the film is so entertaining audiences will overlook its ludicrous plotting and identify with the protagonists.

When highly skilled North Korean detective Lim Cheol-ryung (Hyun Bin) is sent across the border to track down a rogue military officer who has stolen the country’s flawless set of counterfeit-money-making plates from a Pyongyang laboratory (and killed Lim’s wife in the process), he is saddled with bumbling Seoul policeman Gang Jin-tae (Yoo Hai-jin), who is tasked with shadowing the vengeful Lim – presumably because no one wants the job or cares the slightest about national security.

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Lim must complete his mission before his target sells off the plates, though why the bad guy doesn’t just print money for himself is a mystery. Gang’s stalling tactics, including adorable scenes of him welcoming Lim into his bickering family at home, make up some of the film’s best moments.

In between the many deadly, testosterone-filled shoot-outs, it’s ironically Im Yoon-a (of K-pop group Girls’ Generation), as Gang’s smitten sister-in-law, who provides the film’s most spirited performance.

Confidential Assignment opens on March 2

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