Confidential Assignment / 공조 / Gongjo lit. Cooperation (2017)
Directed by: Kim Sung-hoon
Written by: Yoon Hyeon-ho
Cast: Hyun Bin, Yoo Hai-jin, Kim Joo-hyuck, Lim Yoo-na
Review: This is a buddy cop type action movie with mismatched partners, one a North Korean special forces officer, Im Chul-ryeong (Hyun Bin), and the other a South Korean street detective, Kang Jin-tae (Yoo Hae-jin). They’re forced to team up to catch a defector who killed some officers and stole money counterfeiting plates. The defector and his band of mercenaries have fled from North to South Korea. It sounds serious but it’s just a setup for the action and comedy.
A good amount of comedy as expected comes between Im and Kang who are opposites in every way. Im being tall, good-looking and possessing high level fighting skills. Im is portrayed as a more of a bumbler. Kang also has a family who adds to some laughs, particular his sister in law (Yoona from SNSD) who is immediately smitten by Im’s good looks. It’s a running joke that is arguably its own plotline but it’s not overdone. The villain is suitably menacing. There isn’t any character exploration with him but there is a bit of injustice that is briefly alluded to in regards to the villain’s motivation.
In the action department, there are dangerous foot chases and car chases in the city. It’s well shot and staged although at least one scene of a car flipping over appears to be CG. There are some guns used but they mostly run out of ammo quickly, leading into hand to hand fights, which are hard-hitting and close quarters. One memorable sequence has Im using a wet toilet paper roll in a cup to beat down on some henchmen. Kang tries to replicate this but with comically unsuccessful results. There isn’t anything particularly elaborate or high level being done here but it’s well choreographed and entertaining. There isn’t a lot of blood and kill shots/wounds occur out of frame. The action isn’t hardcore or gory so it’s appropriate for general audiences.
This is a summer blockbuster that should please those looking for some fun and excitement. While it’s not an essential watch for action fans, the action choreography is above average. The story is straight-forward with a few dramatic moments that give the audience enough motivation to care about the characters but they don’t get in the way of the fun stuff. I actually enjoyed this more than I expected given the common genre elements on display.
Watched in the theater at Fantasia film festival.