This is Ha Neul and Ji Hwan’s second work together after their first collaboration in ’Love in 90 days’. How did they fare in here as spies? Many thanks to my sister-in-law in providing the free movie passes.
Ahn Soo-ji (Kim Ha Neul) is a tough female secret agent with 6 years experience. She has to hide her identity from her boyfriend, Lee Jae-joon (Kang Ji Hwan). He is disappointed with her always going on disappearing acts. Lying is part of her job and so is the disguise. He grows tired with that.
Soo-ji is going for a bridal photo shoot on a case and Jae-joon calls her from the airport. He is leaving for good. She is actually spying on a criminal on a ferry. Upon getting the information, she gets into the van to stop the transaction from taking place. From the van, she sees the criminal passing the drugs to another on a boat. She chases after it in the bridal gown.
Jae-joon is mad when he can’t leave a message on her phone before he goes on the plan. He yells that she is a liar and throws his handphone. Soo-ji is sassy indeed to chase after the boat on a motorboat. She gets into the boat and captures the criminals. She then hears the message on the handphone when her mission is accomplished. But it is too late when she reaches the airport as he has left.
She yells bitterly in vain and from then on, she only listens to his recorded messages daily. She puts his photo on a dart board and keeps throwing darts at it. 3 years later, Soo-ji is still single but goes on dates with another man. Soo-ji is capable at work but her personal life is in a mess. She often forgets returning the rented dvds. When the store owner calls her up to press her to return, she speaks in Japanese to pretend that she doesn’t know it. She lies that she is a tour guide but wonders how long she can keep it from him.
Soo-ji’s superior isn’t pleased with her report and wants him to tail a Professor Kang on his evil experiment on chemicals. A Russian crime group is trying to steal a chemical weapon from Korea through him. She becomes a bespectacled working professional to enter his office to track his emails. Her colleague disguises as a waitress to add laxatives in Kang’s drink to stall for more time. Kang rushes to the toilet before he can come in contact with his buyer.
Soo-ji is disguising as a cleaner to plant the tracking device on Professor Kang into his butt. She grumbles when a man keeps wetting the floor. She meets Jae-joon in the toilet and hits him with a mop. (That is a hilarious moment when she finds his sex organ familiar-looking and looks up to check out the owner.)
He gets so shocked that he uses his urine stained hand to cover up his mouth. Both land up in the police station and still quarrel there. He is no longer bespectacled now and recalls the past. She lies that she is busy and can’t meet him by answering his call but he sees her right at the bottom of the shopping mall, rushing somewhere in another outfit.
The policemen agree with him – Soo-ji must be a two-timer. At this time, she gets a call from her suitor and lies that she is with a tourist group. Jae-joon gets mad and demands to know what is going on. She reminds him that they have parted ways. He gives her his namecard, citing that she can ask him for help when necessary. She tears it – she isn’t any normal cleaner as he sees.
Now looking smart and suave, he has since become an accountant after graduating from Canada. After seeing him throws her feelings into doubt. However, she doesn’t know that this is just a cover for Jae-joon, as he has actually left Korea previously to join the overseas branch secret service too. Jae-joon’s inexperience leads to a series of disastrous blunders as to be seen below.
Soo-ji practises shooting and pours her woes to her colleague. She is fed up with Jae-hoon for not apologising and wows to marry her suitor. Jae-hoon goes to the secret headquarters to meet his colleagues. All can see that he is the scholarly type and chides him to be stupid to be sent to the police station. His first mission is to chase after a Russian crime syndicate and reports his findings to them.
Jae-hoon takes out his pointer. It nearly gets into their eyes. He also nearly forgets his password to click to start. He then boasts about his observations. Suddenly, he gets a call from his mother and he forgets to switch off his handphone. His colleagues are amused by his childish exchange with her. Jae-hoon goes to the dvd rental shop to meet his friend.
He gives him a list of late returners to call as he has to rush back home. He even takes off Jae-hoon’s suit jacket to borrow for a while. Soo-ji meets her suitor again for a meal. Jae-hoon is stunned by the number of people to call. This time, Jae-hoon calls her again – according to the list – why is she hoarding on to the dvds for months? He raises his voice as both have a heated exchange in Japanese.
Jae-hoon’s superior calls him – how dare he knock off without solving the password? He demands him to return. Soo-ji also gets frantic to run to the shop…with the spoon unknowingly. She tidies her hair before going there but he has left. Jae-hoon gets scolded by his superior for locking his files with different passwords. Jae-hoon offers to be a waiter to get news on the Russian spies in their room.
He makes noises on the plates and his colleagues scold him as he makes noisy screeching sounds. He asks why he isn’t given a gun but he isn’t supposed to get it. His colleagues can see from the screen and asks if he is shivering. You will laugh when he is so stupid to answer his superior to arouse the Russians’ attention! They have thought that something is just not right with him.
Jae-hoon turns the bucket of ice to their direction but the Russians turn it into another direction so they can’t see anything. They sigh in despair – what are they going to do now? They tell Jae-hoon to leave since he can’t do a room service job well. Soo-ji goes home and gets a fencing sword. Jae-hoon walks in as he remembers her password and she attacks him.
Her fury hasn’t dispersed and chases him out. He is afraid that she is still waiting for him so he comes but she doesn’t listen to him. He leaves a note for her, teaching her how to move her neck to remove her wrinkles. She finds that the method works well. Soo-ji bursts into tears – she has not missed him till she sees him again. How to trust him a second time?
Soo-ji tails the professor and JAe-hoon also works overtime while the others sleep. Jae-hoon’s direct boss is displeased when he shows off his findings to their leader. He is pleased and gives Jae-hoon a mission to tail the Russian spy. He is now a taxi driver but he doesn’t allow passengers on board to get complained. He has to wait for the spy’s car to be out of the car park before he can follow it.
But he ends up driving in front of the spy – to get scolded by his superior again. Jae-hoon gets frightened when the spies follow him as they do not know their way well. Soon, their car overtakes him and he gets excited – he finally knows how to tail them. His superior doesn’t know how to scold him further – who is the jerk who passes him. How can this be successful as he claims?
They stop at an amusement park and Jae-hoon follows them. His colleagues are fed up when he doesn’t answer them respectfully. Professor Kang is waiting for the spies at the venue. It is so coincidental that Jae-hoon and Soo-ji keep on running into each other on the job. They actually work for different spy departments within the same intelligence agency.
The Russian spies spot Jae-hoon and he escapes their gun shots. Soo-ji pretends to be a pregnant woman to tail Professor Kang. The two meet and they avoid each other. Still, they land up in the haunted house. He is too stupid to think that he is being held at gunpoint when a dummy points a gun at him. The Russian spy subdues him but he can’t find his real gun as it is mixed with the fake ones.
Jae-hoon gives a high-pitched scream that surpasses the ladies’ level. But he manages to get the real gun to win over him but he still escapes. Jae-hoon is upset that he doesn’t get a gun just like the others when back at the headquarters. They give him a bullet-proof vest instead. Soo-ji rejects the kiss that her suitor wants to give her. Jae-hoon’s superior challenges him to get the gun from him. If he does, he can get a gun.
Jae-hoon loses and his superior tells him to learn more before he can go on the job again. Soo-ji rejects Jae-hoon’s good intentions to celebrate her birthday with her and tells him that she is going to marry her suitor. She looks at the fencing swords on the wall and recalls how the two of them practice with each other. He is nearly killed earlier but her face appears in his eyes during that moment.
He reveals his feelings to her and they both hug. They recall how they dance at the fencing ground in the past. Both then share a vigorous kiss inside her apartment. (They turn in circles, overturning every furniture at home.) He begins removing his clothes and also tries to remove hers. He touches a gun strap that is tied at her thigh and is stunned. She pulls his hand away and lies that she needs the toilet.
She hides the gun inside the water tank while he hides his protection vest. Both land in bed and it is very hilarious to see him putting a teddy bear on his lap – which makes him look so girlish. Both ask each other why they are at the amusement park. He lies that he is giving a lecture while she lies that she is doing part-time as a worker there. Both seek understanding on each other’s jobs – what they do are not as they seem.
He gets a call from his superior and has to go back. She is displeased and she also gets a call. Her tone also changes. She tells him to go off since it is so urgent. He gets into the bar, wanting to arrest the Russian spy himself. The couple’s colleagues have just given food to the spies while Soo-ji pretends to be a dance hostess there. She is going to go after a female criminal when someone pulls her.
She manages to shake her way out. Jae-hoon tries to get the same female’s attention by wooing her with Russian sweet phrases. He manages to get her name for his colleagues to anaylse. This woman gets hot with him in the room and his whole head is sunk into her bosom. Soo-ji gets to see this and both end up quarrelling in the police station again.
Jae-hoon is down and pours his woes to his superior to get drunk. He cries bitterly and his superior allows him to lean on his shoulder upon seeing him so pitiful. But still, they have to get back to work. Each other’s colleagues find information on the couple and the two finally realise they lie on each other’s identity. Are they criminals and their meeting isn’t coincidental?
Though nearly impossible, they find out this way to rekindle their relationship and later save the world at the same time. The couple arrange to meet at a restaurant to keep tabs on each other. They still do not reveal their true identities. They accuse each other for making use of each other on the name of love. See how stylish (or girlish) in the way he wipes his mouth.
They crush the lobsters they order with big hammers. She is able to leave when he stops her. Both open their arms awkwardly to hug each other to plant the tracking devices on each other. Both get restless at work and Soo-ji calls her suitor to meet him. Jae-hoon’s colleagues trail her and hopes to lure the Russian spy out. Jae-hoon sleeps at his friend’s dvd shop.
He gets his suit jacket to meet his dealer to get more viagra pills. He is then arrested by Soo-ji’s colleagues. As for Jae-hoon, he is now figuring out the cards the Russians play to get the hint. He figures out that they will be meeting at a red wine bar and tells his superior. But he is in no mood to talk to him as Jae-hoon is being punished and he is going to take the rap for him.
Soo-ji is being attacked by mysterious men on her way and the tracking device on her is missing. Jae-hoon’s friend is being detained as her colleagues suspect her for stalling details. Jae-hoon gets to the bar and is shocked that one of the spies is actually a woman, not a man! He snaps a photo of her and is discovered. He runs away and is knocked down by a police car.
The driver is the same policeman from the police station. Jae-hoon’s superior refuses to reveal his details to the investigation unit. Soo-ji’s colleagues intend to arrest Jae-hoon and Professor Kang. They leave Soo-ji out as her identity is exposed. Jae-hoon calls his superior but he doesn’t pick up his call. He is enraged when he sees the female photo that he sends him and is asked to check the files.
You will laugh when his password is ‘the superior is a bastard’ to know that the spies are meeting in a garden. The woman is head of the trade association. Soo-ji figures out the place on her own too. The two rush to the traditional palace. Soo-ji informs her colleagues to come – so is Jae-hoon’s superior. Soo-ji tails Professor Kang to the cellar but is caught there.
Jae-hoon reaches the traditional palace and recharges his handphone to get the information. The spies are pleased to get the chemical they want. Jae-hoon enters the cellar alone, leaving the policeman outside to check the surrounding. 3 years ago, the female spy was caught – she was the jogger near the beach then. So she wants to kill Soo-ji.
Soo-ji has a watch that has laser to cut the rope. She throws the spoon at the female spy’s hand, making her lose her gun. Soo-ji is about to go out when Jae-hoon holds her as hostage, thinking that she is one of them. the female spy shoots at her and he is shot while shielding her. Soo-ji is enraged and uses the hammer to hit her hand again to make her loosen her grip on the gun.
The female spy pulls out a whip while Soo-ji throws another chopper at her. Jae-hoon wakes up and fights with the male spy. The two spies escape while the policeman stops Professor Kang from leaving. Joo-ji is swift to get on a horse to go after the female spy (also on horseback) after the male spy gets away on a motorcycle. The traditional palace is holding an act there and all spectators stare at them.
Unlike Soo-ji, Jae-hoon is very slow with the horse. The women end up at a pavilion and draw the swords that they find there. Jae-hoon is now terrified when the male spy is going to shoot him but he loses his balance so now Jae-hoon grabs his motorcycle to catch up with the women. Soo-ji is hurt and both use their fencing skills together to pit agains the female spy.
The two seem to enjoy the moment and they win her. But the female spy threatens to open the lid to make all die with her. Soo-ji doesn’t know what she is talking about but Jae-hoon knows. He grabs it and faints as he falls down the stairs. Soo-ji gets so mad that she knocks her out. Jae-hoon wakes out and has to reveal his real identity. She scolds him for not becoming a teacher and puts his life at risk.
The two kiss passionately with their colleagues watching them from air and from ground. Later, Soo-ji tells Jae-hoon’s superior that he has broken up with his girlfriend. Who wants a tour guide who keeps on speaking Japanese? He turns out to be the intelligence unit’s trainer on the spies. Jae-hoon’s superior chides him for being unable to teach the rookies well.
Jae-hoon then trains a female newcomer – he challenges her with the gun but loses out to her. Soo-ji takes over the training as she is the new leader. She wins and the couple is out on a mission together. Jae-hoon is initially very timid but he grows to become a suave spy. She scolds him for being unable to aim and shoot properly. He yells – he can’t do it since she is also clumsy in her driving.
They are married now and suddenly they get a call from his mother. Jae-hoon throws his handphone to Soo-ji to answer. His mother wonders why they are so busy – as if they are protecting the country and risking their own lives as the background is always noisy whenever she calls them.
Ha Neul kissed Ji Hwan so hard that her lips bled. When they stopped, she was shocked to see blood on his lips and wondered if she had bitten them. Ji Hwan replied calmly that the blood belonged to her. She also fell off a horse while Ji Hwan tore his ankle ligament. She was happy to learn how to ride a horse and a jet ski. After the fall, her leg was put on cast for a month.
She also hurt her kneecap and back. She had to rest at home for a month. She was still afraid of riding horses after that. The ski scene was shot in December and the weather was cold. Her role required her to speak Japanese so her Japanese friend was on the shooting set to guide her along. As for Ji Hwan, he also worked too hard and he felt that he could do better if not for the injury.
The movie had Ji Hwan’s role to be clumsy and needed protection. Did he want that to happen in true life? Ji Hwan laughed – he did think of that when he was too tired after work but a man should protect his girlfriend and not the other way round.
The two came to Singapore on 28 Oct. Ha Neul’s left eye was swollen and she wore shades most of the time – even during the movie promotion on 29 Oct. That truly reminded me of her role in ‘On Air’. I went to the event and never expect Ji Hwan to do the same time. Her male fans only got handshakes from her while he gave his female fan an affectionate hug that invited screams from all present.
Both asked three fans if they wanted to take photographs with them when they saw them waiting for them at the hotel. They gave them flowers and were housewives, rushing home to prepare dinner. They did not expect this and jumped at the suggestion happily. Normally, fans would take the initiative and this never happen on others.
Ha Neul was worried when she had to wear shades most of the time. Did she look rude to the reporters? She was very approachable and only took them off when taking photos for magazine covers. When told that Rain did the same, she was very surprised. When asked if she was demure or sassy off screen, she joked that she loved scolding others but she was gentle to her boyfriends.
Ji Hwan’s challenge was to speak Russian. He went for classes but the teacher did not turn up during the shoot. No one knew if he spoke the language accurately. He joked that the film could only be shown in Asia but not Russia. To promote the movie, he even wore the dark rimmed glasses and wore the movie t-shirt. He rose the signboard at 4 different MTR stations and even though he was recognized by fans everywhere, he was not mobbed by them.
This was the second time they worked together. They did not talk much when they worked for the first time. This time round, they were closer and could discuss about the script directly to get into the role. He found her more approachable now as she reached 30 years old. She knew how to take care of co-stars now. All rumoured them to be a couple off screen but they denied.
The first look at the title gives a sense of familiarity. Will it be the same as ‘My Wife Is a Gangster’ and ‘My Sassy Girl’? In a way, yes. It also borrows the story from ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ and ‘True Lies’. But the jokes are outdated. Agents disguising as waiters, European villains and using masks as cover ups belong to the 90s as in ‘Mission Impossible’. Plus, they harp so much on seniority that I feel so sorry for the juniors.
It doesn’t make sense to me why Jae-hoon’s superior suddenly treats him so nicely. But Soo-ji’s bespectacled suitor is also in the same line with the two comes as a surprise. His nerdy nature also shows how his students become to be like him. As he has not met Jae-hoon before to know that he is his love rival, his identity isn’t exposed. Actually, nobody knows except us!
It is a treat when the two share good chemistry on screen with a hilarious note. Both look gorgeous on screen – one sexy while another charming. Ji Hwan pulls off his role well. His comic timing is right and he isn’t afraid to embarrass himself to draw laughter from us. However, it is the usual slap-stick comedy that we will normally see so there is little surprise.
Action wise, I am quite disappointed as it isn’t as thrilling as it should be. The stunts are unrealistic. The fencing scenes are obviously a rushed lesson taught to the cast. Horse riding on the street? That should not have happened at all. But because of their good sense of humour and timing, the annoying level is reduced. However, it is still not sufficient enough to save the movie from a half-baked plot. I still do not know why the Korean box-office was better than Tranformers.
Sukting’s ratings :
On acting : *** (Scale of 5)
On story : **1/2 (Scale of 5)
Bu Bu Jing Xinstarring Cecilia Liu Shi Shi, Kevin Cheng, Nicky Wu, Yuan Hong
The New Adventure Of Chor Lau Heung (DVD, English subs)starring Miu Kiu Wai, Barbara Yung