A covert joint operation that reluctantly brings together a North
Korean investigator and a South Korean policeman pays entertaining dividends in
“Confidential Assignment,” an unapologetically mainstream caper that plays like
a vintage Hollywood buddy cop movie.
After a corrupt
official named Cha (Kim Joo-hyuk) sneaks into South Korea with U.S. currency
plates stolen from a counterfeiting raid, Cheol-ryung (Hyun Bin), a former
special forces agent with a personal grudge against him, is dispatched by North
Korean Homeland Security to Seoul to secure the plates and the perp.
Much to the steely,
by-the-book Cheol-ryung’s aggravation, he’s partnered with the decidedly softer
Detective Kang (Yoo Hae-jin), a South Korean family man whose
pursuits always seem to be interrupted by phone calls from his young daughter.
yin-yang might be the stuff of countless crime comedies, particularly the Mel Gibson-Danny
Glover dynamic in the “Lethal Weapon” series, but South Korean filmmaker Kim
Sung-hoon has clearly done his homework while injecting the action sequences
with a terrific kinetic energy.
film’s two biggest secret weapons are those lead performances by Hyun Bin and
Yoo Hae-jin, whose easy Riggs-Murtaugh chemistry compensates for a pace that
occasionally gets sidetracked by the overly extended domestic sequences.
When their next
assignment is teased over the end credits, the conceit makes for one of those
rare sequels we actually wouldn’t mind seeing.