December 13, 2010

The Secret Reunion: How Our Tastes Are So Predictable and Distressing

Going into Jang Hun's blockbuster spy-caper The Secret Reunion, we pretty much already know that we're going to side with South Korea over North Korea, actor Song Kang-ho over co-star Kang Dong-won, and being true to your friend over being true to your country. But what's nice about this movie is that, for each decision you make between two obvious choices, you end up liking what you didn't pick as well. After all, if this movie is to be believed, Pyongyang's military academies are training single assassins capable of outwitting entire police forces (pretty cool); Kang is, against the odds, delivering a winning performance that's equal parts withdrawn hipster and anxious weirdo (also cool); and the fanatical political hit man operating under the name of "The Shadow" (Jeon Gook-hwan) is plain cool no doubt about it. A few hours after the movie, you may momentarily lose your cool should you question your knee-jerk reactions. I mean, do your sympathies really lie with a hot-headed, profiteering divorcé who tracks down foreign mail-order brides then returns them to unattractive, working class husbands who may beat them? Uh. Yes. You do. The Secret Reunion isn't out to radicalize your way of thinking. It's out to entertain you despite your disturbing predilections. So uncool!

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