Review | Confidential Assignment 2: International movie review – Hyun Bin, Yoo Hae-jin meet Daniel Henney in entertaining sequel to 2017 buddy cop comedy hit
- Yoo Haejin plays family-man South Korean cop Jin-tae and Hyun Bin stern North Korean agent Cheol-ryung as they pursue a North Korean drugs syndicate
- An FBI agent, Jack, played by Daniel Henney, is added to the mix and Jin-tae’s sister, played by Im Yoon-ah, has the hots for him, not Cheol-ryung, now
Hyun Bin and Yoo Hae-jin reprise their roles as national rivals turned crime-fighting colleagues, as they look to smash a North Korean drug syndicate. This time out, the stakes are higher than ever as their manhunt goes global, and Daniel Henney’s FBI agent shows up in Seoul, hot on the heels of Jin Seon-jyu’s ruthless crime lord, who gave his team the slip in New York.
The mismatched buddy cop movie is a tried and tested staple of the action genre, and incoming director Lee (The Pirates) wisely pushes the playful competitiveness and distrust between his protagonists to the forefront, while letting their procedural duties take a back seat.
The dynamic between Hyun’s stern, yet devilishly handsome North Korean agent Cheol-ryung and Yoo’s schlubby family-man cop Jin-tae remains the film’s most meaningful relationship.
Their rekindled bromance is given an extra kick, however, by the arrival of federal agent Jack (Henney), whose model good looks and sophisticated Western charm are even more threatening than their live-wire quarry.
Jack’s arrival also piques the interest of Jin-tae’s sister Min-young (Im Yoon-ah), who previously had eyes only for Cheol-ryung, as well as the rest of his all-female household. And while this is first and foremost an action movie, it is in these comedic moments with Jin-tae’s family that the film earns its stripes.
In the action stakes, Confidential Assignment 2: International doesn’t really push the envelope. Shoot-outs and car chases are strewn throughout, most notably during an eye-catching opening set-piece in the streets of New York, but there is a tendency to prioritise ear-splitting volume over technical innovation.
Similarly, Jin Seon-jyu’s snarling bad guy Jang fails to make much of an impact, tapping into neither the moral ambivalence nor gratuitous sadism that has come to define Korean movie villains in recent years.
Despite its rather generic action beats, the humour is first rate and the laughs come thick and fast.
The affectionate rivalry between Hyun and Yoo’s characters is as sharp and genuine as ever, while the addition of Henney – giving one of the most effortless multilingual performances in recent memory – and Im’s expanded role only add to the big-hearted silliness of this entertaining assignment.