With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ACF 602: Secret Reunion at NYAFF

Secret Reunion / Ui-hyeong-je
Directed by Hun Jang
South Korea, 2010, 116 minutes
Starring Song Kang-Ho and Gang Dong-Won
In Korean with English Subtitles

At the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater:
- Friday, July 2nd, 2010 at 7:30 PM
- Saturday, July 3rd, 2010 at 2:10 PM

Song Kang Ho (Thirst, The Host, Secret Sunshine, J.S.A.: Joint Security Area) is probably the Korean actor most familiar to American audiences. Here he plays Lee Han-kyu, a South Korean National Intelligence Service agent. Gang Dong-Won portrays Song Ji-won, a North Korean agent who's part of a three-man assassination team.

Lee decides not to call in back-up when an opportunity arises to bust the spy ring, and things go all to hell. The leader and Song get away and only the third member of the team is captured. Lee is forced into ignominious retirement, and Song is left all on his own.

The film flashes forward a few years to find Lee leading a motley crew that locates young women from other Asian countries who have fled the Korean husbands they were made to marry. Song is happily working construction, hoping to one day reunite with his wife and child in the North. They recognize one another, but neither one gives the other the slightest hint of this. Lee, hoping to finally bust the spy ring and redeem himself, gets Song to become his partner, replacing two incompetent employees Lee has let go.

Song Kang Ho is always a delight to watch. He strikes me as a contemporary Korean version of the kind of everyman character associated with many roles played by Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart, and Tom Hanks. Here, once again, he raises the level of the material just by virtue of his likeability.

Not that the material in any way is shabby, quite the contrary. Secret Reunion is a captivating tale with many humorous elements. It's enjoyable throughout and concludes with a sweet and satisfying ending.

ACF Rating: 3 out of 4 stars, highly recommended.

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