Fun Movie (Korea 2002)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 7/17/16
Cast: Kim Jeong-eun, Lim Won-hie

I picked up this Korean comedy in the dollar bin on a whim because it looked so incredibly awful. However, much to my surprise, it ended up being quite entertaining. Making fun of recent Korean blockbusters, "Fun Movie" concerns a historic meeting between Kim Jong-il, Kim Dae-jung, and the emperor of Japan. A group of zealous Japanese militants wants to sabotage the meeting by detonating a bomb at the venue, but all of their funds and explosives get lost or stolen as soon as they enter the country. An undercover Japanese assassin named Sang Mi (pretty Kim Jeong-eun) is also involved in the terrorist plot, and feeds information to her allies by eavesdropping on her Korean police officer boyfriend, Fangbo Yoo (Lim Won-hie).

It's primarily a parody of "Shiri" (1999), but it also lampoons several other Korean films including "Nowhere To Hide" (1999), "Volcano High" (2002), "Attack The Gas Station" (1999), and "My Sassy Girl" (2001). Most of the humor consists of low-brow visual gags, but there are a few genuinely funny slapstick moments as well as a couple of shockingly disgusting gross-out situations. Kim Jeong-eun is simply fantastic, and she single-handedly holds the film together. Her blend of sexy/crazy is spot-on, and her expressiveness and comedic timing are excellent. Lim Won-hie also does a fine job as Sang Mi's conflicted boyfriend and the two play off of each other quite well. A lot of the comedy doesn't translate well due to topical and cultural barriers, but the presentation is quite good. The production values are excellent, and overall it's a very well made film. My biggest complaint would be that the action scenes feature too much overly exaggerated hand-held camera movement, but I think some of that was intended to poke fun at the genre. As the title suggests, it's literally a "fun movie."