Confidential Assignment is a very entertaining humorous action- thriller from South Korea. The story itself isn’t very original if you are familiar with classics such as Shiri but the movie’s execution is really gripping from start to finish. The actors do a convincing job, the action sequences are explosive and professional and the story has a tense and vivid pace with a few welcome amusing breaks. The camera work is precise instead of shaky and a special mention goes out to the vivid soundtrack that suits the movie perfectly.
The story revolves around a North Korean investigator who gets betrayed by a colleague who steals expensive printing presses, kills the investigator’s wife and escapes to South Korea. The two countries set up a special meeting and the North Korean investigator has three days to arrest his enemy and retrieve the printing presses. Obviously, the skilled investigator isn’t allowed to do this investigation on his own in a foreign country. Since nobody is eager to take on this dangerous job, a colleague convinces an officer who has recently been suspended from office to team up with the North Korean. The two investigators couldn’t be more different. The North Korean is quiet, professional and cold while his South Korean colleague is loud, clumsy and sociable. In the beginning, the two investigators aren’t getting along at all and hide important information from each other. As the situation gets more and more dangerous and the three-day collaboration is about to come to an end, they must trust each other in order arrest a ruthless criminal who is ready to harm both countries.
The movie finds the right balance between brutal action sequences, tense investigative parts and a few doses of situation comedy. This film might be too intense for younger audiences but older teenagers and adults might appreciate this vivid genre mixture. If compared to similar Asian movies, the humorous parts aren’t silly slapstick comedy but rather quirky situation comedy. If compared to similar movies, the action sequences aren’t always overtly exaggerated but quite brutal, fast and technical. The suspenseful elements are much more expanded than in similar movies and there are a few quite sinister sequences. This pitiless approach makes the serious moments much more gripping and the smoother parts much more relieving. Confidential Assignment employs each genre element very efficiently.
While the story isn’t surprising and this kind of movie isn’t anything innovating, Confidential Assignment is a fast-paced roller coaster ride that is on the same level as Lethal Weapon and other movies of this kind. If this movie were released in North American cinemas, it would be one of this year’s blockbuster as it was the case in South Korea where the movie broke several records and received numerous well-deserved awards.
Review by kluseba