Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Wife Is A Gangster 2 (Korea 2003)

The sequel to the highly-enjoyable My Wife is a Gangster, My Wife is a Gangster 2: The Return Fable (조폭 마누라 2 : 돌아온 전설), sadly, isn't nearly as entertaining as the first. However, Sin Eun-kyeong, as our beloved protagonist, is still interesting to watch. It's everything you would expect from a sequel...which isn't much.

Gang boss Cha Eun-jin (Sin Eun-kyeong) is up to her usual activity when the film kicks off with a major rooftop brawl with her gang mixing it up with another group of thugs. During the melee, Eun-jin is knocked off the roof of the building and is, understandably, knocked senseless. A very drunk Yoon Jae-choi (Park Joon-gyu), notices Eun-jin laying in the gutter and ends up carrying her off to his neighborhood where he runs a small Chinese restaurant. Eun-jin's crew assume the worst, and every attempt to contact their boss doesn't seem to pan out, yet they continue to search for her. Why the police aren't involved in the search is anyone's guess, but I imagine gangsters don't work with the police on any level. Regardless, the story picks up months later, and Eun-jin is working as a delivery girl for Jae-choi at the Chinese restaurant with no memory of her former gangster life. Jae-choi is aware of the fact that she doesn't remember a thing, but she's so good at deliveries, even going so far as to invent a delivery box for serving, that he is in no hurry to help her regain her memory. Eun-jin genuinely seems to be happy with her new life, working and living with her new boss and his teenage daughter. However, little-by-little, Eun-jin begins to piece parts of her former life together, not to mention the fact that she really knows how to fight, when new situations in her life bring out that side of her. White Shark, the gangster whom I believe is from part one, returns, albeit it with a new wig and vocoder on his throat. He plans to finally seek revenge against Eun-jin, and even though she can't remember who he is, White Sharks threats against her and her bosses family prove enough in getting her to take action.

Sequels...what can I say? Love 'em or hate 'em, they can either be seen as a genuine extension of a story created in part one, or simply as a way to cash in on the name. My Wife is a Gangster 2 unfortunately falls into the latter category. As much as I enjoyed certain aspects about this film, it just couldn't match up to the level of it's predecessor. The biggest smack in the face comes from the fact that Eun-jin's husband from part one is nowhere to be found in this film, and they don't even mention him, so you're left wondering what became of his character. Park Joon-gyu, serving as the male comedy relief this time around, does an admirable job filling those shoes, but it definitely isn't the same feeling that Park Sang-myeon provided. It's a shame he was written off. The relationship of the characters is completely different this time around, and when you have a character as cool as Eun-jin is, that isn't necessarily a good thing. She's definitely more amusing in part two, but I missed her character from the first film. That isn't to say that everyone will feel the same as I do, because these changes might please a lot of viewers out there, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. For example, White Shark, while feeling like an actual villain and threat in part one, was portrayed as an incompetent goofball in the sequel. It's creative decisions like this that take away from the feeling and overall vibe created in the first film, ultimately making it feel like an unbalanced sequel.

There are laughs and good times to be had in My Wife is a Gangster 2, but like most sequels, as a whole, it isn't as good as the first. It feels more light-hearted than it's predecessor and that could be an intentional move by the filmmakers, but for me, it took the series in the wrong direction. If you loved the first one, by all means check part two out, but by all means, lower your expectations. (Lee)

Grade: B-


My Wife is a Gangster review

My Wife is a Gangster 3 review

No comments: