Secret Reunion (2010)

Secret Reunion isn’t a terribly slick or smart movie.  And by that, I don’t mean it’s nonsensical or anything bad.  I just mean don’t expect an intricate spy story with layers of underground networks.  It’s really just about two guys on different sides of the coin finding common ground and joining forces.  Yes, to put it more aptly, this is a fluffy bromance.

The movie starts off with North Korean spy Song Jiwon receiving orders for an assassination mission while South Korean NIS agent Lee Hankyu frantically trying to decode said orders.  

(interesting that the codebook of choice is Resurrection by Tolstoy)

Needless to say Hankyu fails to prevent the assassination and even loses some of his men in the process.  He gets discharged from the agency as a result.  On the other hand, his attempt was made possible by a tip-off from another North Korean agent.  Because of this, Jiwon is mistaken as the traitor and thus becomes wanted by his own country in addition to South Korea (yikes my poor KDW~).  He’s stuck in a weird spot because he can’t exactly go back to North but he can’t defect to South either, since North has his wife and baby.

Six years pass and Hankyu now runs a locating service for runaway foreign brides.  He runs into Jiwon on his job and the two men join forces… to locate the wifeys of course.  They both know who each other is, but (and I don’t know why) think their own identity is safe.  Jiwon thinks he has infiltrated into the NIS while Hankyu thinks he’s hot on the heels of the entire spy ring (and the reward money that comes with it). Ha!  It’s better you guys feed each other chicken.

While they spy on each other, they form a bond that really only the two of them can understand.  Each was trying so hard to just do the right thing for his country, his own life be damned.  And yet here they are, discarded by those very same establishments they lived to serve.  But here’s where the bromance comes in.  Although it’s certainly not sunshine and butterfly material, Secret Reunion can almost work as a parody.

I mean, where do you find an intel service agent cuffing himself on accident?  Haha I love how when Jiwon comes through the door, he stops to take in the scene and then walks on like “I’m gonna ignore this idiot.”

(we also get to see Song Kangho’s bum more than once.  I demand equal bum time… where’s KDW’s share?!)

And then of course more trouble comes up as the real traitor gets tracked down and killed.  The North then communicates with Jiwon and asks him to redeem himself by killing another defect, this time his own teacher. It’s present throughout the movie, but here’s where the odd fluffiness that prevents this movie from gaining depth comes in again.  Jiwon doesn’t kill.  And I mean he does.not.kill.  People get their brains blown out all over the place and none of them is by him.  He even *gasp* protects the innocent.  He’s just really really really conscientious… on the one hand, I love him for being so uncommonly good and fair as a character, but on the other hand, I’m left wondering which spy boot camp they sent him to for training.  What, he didn’t raise his own puppy and kill it?

[Ending Spoiler – You've been warned]

So here’s a movie where you expect a happy ending (I did say fluffy, right?) yet they still manage to make you pray for it a little at the end.  The way Jiwon asks "Shadow" what had happened to his family makes me fear for the worse.  Because we joke about it all the time (like how the NK soccer team would get executed once they got back home after the 0-7 debacle against Portugal) it seems so light a topic but it's actually not because jokes don't invent themselves.  Things like this do happen in real life.  If you could hear the way he so calmly asks about his family's fate, still using formal speech showing utmost respect for the psychotic extremist that is his comrade, but the awful sadness in his voice and fear in his eyes pack a punch bigger than any other other, you would pray for a happy ending too.  So when I got my happy ending, I nearly squealed in joy.  It’s blatant fan-service, but I don’t care because it makes me so frapping happy.  To be honest, seeing Kang Dongwon with a wife and kid nearly kills me lolz but no man's more awesome than a family man and it's only fair he gets to see his kid (who was still in the womb when he left NK).  It'd be wayyyy too depressing in a "life's meaningless" sort of way otherwise.

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