Jang Hoon’s Secret Reunion

Jan Hung, who started his career as an assistant to Kim Ki-duk, has only directed three feature films. “Rough Cut” in 2008, “Secret Reunion” in 2010, and “The Front Line”, in 2011. However, all of them are considered masterpieces, with Hung managing to combine commercial success with acclaimed reviews. This particular one holds the 47th place in the List of highest-grossing films in South Korea, while it also netted the Best Film Award from the Blue Dragon.

Ji-won and Han-gyoo are special agents for North and South Korea, respectively. The two of them exchange glances during a North Korean assassination attempt of Kim Jong-il’s second cousin, which fails due to Tae-soon’s betrayal. Shortly after, Han-gyoo is discharged for mishandling the case and Ji-won takes the blame for Tae-soon, subsequently going into hiding from his commander named Shadow. Six years later, Ji-won and Han-gyoo meet again and through a series of seemingly random consequences, they end up working and living together.

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Jang Hoon directs a thriller that benefits the most from its cinematography, with the fast pace and the impressive action scenes, including car chases, lots of shootouts, blood, and its artfully choreographed brawls. Furthermore, he entailed almost every theme S.Korean find entertaining, including the struggle between the two Koreas, and the combined elements of thriller, comedy and drama, with the general style explaining the film’s commercial success.

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He based most of the film on Song Kang-ho’s performance as Han-gyoo, who is once more magnificent in a very complicated role that requires him to appear as a hero, an everyday man, and a clown, in a very difficult task that he executes with distinctive ease. Kang Do-won’s part as Ji-won is far less demanding, since he portrays, the silent, good-looking melancholic guy, without having to present any extreme sentiments or even talk too much. He functions well though, within the movie, and his chemistry with Song is evident, and one of the film’s greatest assets. Jeon Kuk-hwan is also great as the cruel and violent Shadow, presenting a great evil character. In a somewhat peculiar tactic, there is no female role in the film, with the overall woman presence being nominal, in a clear notion that the film is chiefly addressed to male fans of action films.

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The sole fault of the film lies with its duration, which should probably be about 20-30 minutes less, since the movie slumps in the middle , with much unnecessary lagging.

“Secret Reunion” is a very entertaining film, which benefits the most from its production values and Song Jang-ho’s performance.