AFRIKA (South Korea 2002)

Rating: **(*)
Review Date: 3/8/09
Cast: Yu-won Lee, Min-sun Kim, Eun-ji Jo, Young-jin Lee

I have a very low tolerance for Asian comedy. That said, comedy fans will probably get more out of this film than I did. "AFRIKA" is a light-hearted comedy film about two college girls who steal a car that happens to have two guns in it. Naturally, the girls freak out and become wanted by the police. As fate would have it, they get forced into using the guns for self defense, and then start using them as tools of retribution against rapists, male chauvinists, and men who have done them wrong. The guns give them strength, confidence, and identity, and two other girls get involved trying to help them escape the law. As the four girls continue to unwittingly evade and elude the bumbling police force, they soon become a national media sensation. They even have a fan club called "AFRIKA" which stands for "Adoring Four Revolutionary Idol Korean Association." Wacky. The cat-and-mouse game becomes increasingly dangerous for everyone involved and the girls finally decide to cut a deal with the cops to bring the entire misadventure to closure. Surprisingly, it has a happy ending for all parties. Well, sort of...

This is certainly not the type of movie I would normally bother seeing, but the "cute Korean girls with guns" premise lured me in. The girls are definitely cute and exceedingly exuberant, and it's delightful to see the liberation and empowerment that firearms bring to them. When the girls aren't intimidating people with violence, they spend their time staying one step ahead of the law and trying to resolve the personality conflicts inherent in the group. Ultimately, it's a female bonding story of building friendship through hardship, and as a result it tends to be slow and overly talky. It's a good looking, well made, and well acted production, but you may want to have your finger on the fast forward button.