Spygirl (Review)

Spygirl

aka Geunyeoreul moreumyeon gancheob

2004
Starring
Kim Jung-hwa as Park Hyo-jin (spy)
Kong Yu as Choi Go-bong
Nam Sang-mi as Nam Jin-a
Jadu as Park Hyo-Jin (Real)
Baek Il-seob as Park Mu-sun

In a follow up to Korean romantic comedy Too Beautiful to Lie it’s time to review another Korean romantic comedy. This one is also pretty darn good. Now that makes the movies fun to watch, but not much fun to review, as it’s harder to be nice than to lash out violently as Turkish rip-offs speak gibberish or Starman beats up aliens for hours on end. But in the end it makes you a better person, to not be filled with hate. Or so they say, I just am saving my rage for the next film. I promise it will be crap. Now let’s get started on something good.



Korean soldier Go-bong (yes, Go-bong. Go BONGS!!!) is at the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), and falls asleep dreaming of when he met Park Hyu-jin. FLASHBACK! Go-bong a few months ago is sitting on the toilet at school folding the TP into a flower, then he heads to class depressed. His two friends, a big guy and a scrawny blonde guy, ask him why he’s so glum. Go-bong is depressed because he is expected to bring a date to a get together his high school friends are having and he is without girlfriend. The Big Guy shows him the website he made, where he uploads photos of local girls and rates them, there they are called “Angels” (Website Motto: “Those that don’t know them are North Korean spies!”) The blonde guy tells Go-bong he can hook him up with many of the girls, and Go-bong chooses Nam Jin-a, who works at the nearby Burger King, which the boys head to. There is a lot of Burger King in this movie. So much I want to eat some Burger King right now. Well, not really. Also no American Burger King employee looks anywhere near as good as Nam Jin-a does. In fact, Nam Jin-a is played by Nam Sang-mi, who played the girlfriend Jae-eun in Too Beautiful to Lie, yet looked nowhere near as good as she does now. The Korean Burger King dress code involving miniskirts also adds to the allure. Blonde Guy whispers to her that Go-bong’s parents are loaded, and she agrees to go with him if he buys her some eyeliner she had her eye on (yet her eye is what it will soon be on! HA!…..Actually, that sucked. I apologise.)

At the allotted time, Nam Jin-a leaves a message for Go-bong saying she can’t make it. At the get together Go-bong is teased for being alone, and for continually failing his SATs, by getting the runs and by taking too many alert pills. Drunk, Go-bong staggers home. He vomits in the park, attracting the attention of some local ruffians, who start harassing him. Their fun is short-lived, as a girl dressed in a yellow raincoat appears out of the shadows, destroys the attackers, and walks off calmly and coolly, all before Go-bong even realizes what is going on. The next morning he goes to class with hangover, only to find the class all abuzz about a new “Angel.” Have you figured it out yet? Of course you have. After class, every male in the school sprints over to the Burger King, but not to get the Kid’s Club menu, they are waiting for the new hot babe to arrive. The other girls at the counter are dismayed as no one will come up to be served by them.

Then the girl arrives. Everyone is instantly in love. About five fantasies get depicted just as she is walking by to the counter, and everyone has goofy expressions on their faces, which match their goofy fantasies. Of course it’s raincoat girl, as Go-bong has finally figured out. She gets to a register and tells them to line up, and every guy snaps to attention in her line. Go-bong is by some miracle first, and stammers out “Haven’t we met before?” but before you can blink someone yells “He’s working on her, kill him!” and Go-bong is wholluped by flying food flung from afar. Nam Jin-a shows up and yells at the new girl, sending her to the sink. Nam Jin-a doesn’t like sharing the spotlight.

Go-bong begins fantasizing, seeing the girl everywhere, and he doesn’t even know her name. His teacher mentions her in class, and all the guys start talking about her, much to the dismay of the females in the class. Later Go-bong buys a digital camera to put pictures of her up on the web, and a hilarious photo-taking sequence commences. The fun and games come to an end, as he gets a draft notice the next day, but for 10 days from now, as his parents haven’t bothered to give it to him before then. So now he has ten days to get the girl. Somehow his blonde friend scores him a date, and he goes to meet her at a coffee place, wondering why she agreed to see him.

END OF FLASHBACK! Back at the DMZ, Go-bong is dozing off when his CO yells at him, and then takes Hyo-jin’s picture for himself. The CO is peeing and admiring the picture, when a masked stranger sneaks up and beats him unconscious. Now it is Hyo-jin telling the story, with a new FLASHBACK! She’s working at Burger King while waiting for a man to show up. Meanwhile Nam Jin-a and her friend are mad at Hyo-jin for being the most popular Angel now on the website. They shove her around and Nam Jin-a threatens her if she picks up guys, and the friend does some threatening kicking moves, keep in mind they are all in miniskirts. Hyo-jin has no idea what Jin-a is talking about. Later, some girls call her “Spygirl” and Hyo-jin is even more confused. Later that night she finds the website, where her pictures are uploaded under the name “Spygirl” and she thinks her cover is blown. And now a FLASHBACK WITHIN A FLASHBACK! Hyo-jin is about to start her first mission, sneak into South Korea and track down someone who stole money, named Kim, as well as check up on other agents.

After swimming across the border, she sees the ruffians attacking Go-bong, and beats the snot out of them, wire fu style. Hyo-jin (actually that is not her real name, but the name of the person she assumes, but I’ll just call her Hyo-jin for simplicity’s sake) arrives at a safe house with an older man in it, Park Mu-sun. He feeds her, then they go shopping as he tries to explain to her green spy self how things really are. She ends up pulling a gun in the grocery store because of some confusion involving South Korean slang where “shot” is slang for money or something (don’t ask me, I don’t have a current knowledge of Korean popular slang.) Mu-sun’s wife arrives home and yells at him for bringing home young girls.

The three meet up with some other spies. One of them has seen Kim, and she gets information that he usually visits a Burger King. Let’s stop here and say this film had hardly any anti-North Korean Propaganda/Bias, which really surprised me. It’s good, since that would drag down the film’s enjoyment factor. The spies are all depicted as average patriotic folk who are working for their country. Whether you disagree with their country’s goal is not an issue, nor should it be for a romantic comedy. Now back to the show. Hyo-jin starts to stake out this Burger King, going every day. Some suspicious looking guys in black suits arrive occasionally and Hyo-jin believes they are working with Kim.

Back at the Park’s, the phone rings and Hyo-jin answers it, and Hyo-jin is on the other line. No, the movie didn’t become some metaphorical nightmare or cloning diatribe, it’s the real Hyo-jin Park, daughter of Park Mu-sun and his wife. Hyo-jin is on the run from loan sharks and hangs up after talking briefly. While staking out Burger King one day North Korean Hyo-jin gets offered a job there. She realizes that that would giver her ample time and excuse to keep watch out for Kim, but she has no ID to take the job with. So she assumes the identity of Hyo-jin Park. And now you know the rest of the story. Well, still more time on this FLASHBACK! Nam Jin-a is jealous from the start of Hyo-jin, and it increases tenfold when the manager commends Hyo-jin for increasing business due to the website. Hyo-jin finds out that Blonde Guy and Big Guy are running the website, and meets them. She wants them to shut down the site, but they balk. She pleads, they agree if she meets with Go-bong as a comfort woman (Beep Beep back the truck up! “Comfort woman”? I think we have a translation problem in aisle five!) Eventually she agrees to meet Go-bong if they shut down the site afterwards.

Back to where FLASHBACK #1 ended, as now they’ve all merged into one MEGA-FLASHBACK! w00t!1 Now it’s date time, and they start talking. Go-bong tells her his name means “highest peak” in English (Wait, did we just get a joke for use English speakers? I approve 100%!) Hyo-jin finds out Jin-a has been telling Go-bong about her (this must have happened off camera) and goes to fight her. Hot chicks in miniskirts fighting, who can resist? Nam Jin-a is also warmed up by her friend who was doing the kicking earlier pre-fight, who is also pretty cute. But chick fights can’t last all night, and this one ends quickly thanks to Hyo-jin’s spy training. Jin-a is going to leave Burger King, but Hyo-jin convinces her to stay and they become friends. Eventually Hyo-jin remembers Go-bong is still waiting at the restaurant.

Hyo-jin ends up getting interviewed by a newspaper for her popularity, which leads to North Korea dispatching a submarine to pick her up for home in a few days. First she has a date with Go-bong to finish, but on the way to the movie theater, she catches sight of Kim, and gives chase. Eventually she loses him in the Subway, and also loses Go-bong. She sheepishly goes back to him later, and he gets a private screening for them at the theater, but the manager accidentally plays a porno movie for them. The next day Go-bong brings her along when he meets his friends for a paintball tournament. Thanks to her spy training, Hyo-jin is a non-stop paintballing machine!

Park Mu-sun and his wife are acting off, because it’s the real Hyo-jin’s birthday. Hyo-jin finds this out when there is a surprise party thrown for her at Burger King by her friends and Nam Jin-a. After the Happy Birthday song is sung her face is shoved into a cake (just like in Sex is Zero, seriously WHAT is with that? Anyone have a clue?) and she gets a bloody nose.

It’s DANCE TIME! They are out clubbing, and there is a couple’s dance contest, and very drunk Hyo-jin drags Go-bong onstage. The audience boos as he flops around dancing worse than a boneless chicken with it’s head cut off. Hyo-jin then impresses the audience by doing a series of backflips, and collapses. The Real Hyo-jin sees Fake Hyo-jin’s face in the paper and heads home, steaming mad.

Kim shows up at the Burger King the next day, Hyo-jin gets orders to bering him in alive, and she tails him for a few blocks. Then she confronts him and has to chase him, but eventually takes him out via boomerang plate. Go-bong shows up at the Parks’ house while this is happening, looking for Hyo-jin. He fails a password test, so they are going to poison him, but Hyo-jin arrives with Kim in tow. Now Kim and Go-bong both get yelled at by Mr. Park while he slaps them also. They take Go-bong out and send him home. Now Hyo-jin is leaving for good, and has to quite Burger King, and Go-bong must pack up for the army.

The Real Hyo-jin shows up at home, and she hits the Fake Hyo-jin, giving her a bloody nose, and Fake Hyo-jin hits her back. Mrs. Park yells at her for this, and she leaves. She meets up with Go-bong, and tries to tell him she’s from the North, but is interrupted. Later he massages her feet while she sleeps. The next day they are walking but are caught in the rain. They seek cover outside a Music and Ice Cream shop (interesting combination), she sends him in for some ice cream, and runs off while he’s inside.


Later Hyo-jin is on the train, upset over what she had to do. A kid pushes the button on the tape player she has, and it plays a message from Go-bong that is on a tape inside. Back at the Parks, the Loan Sharks have arrived, and they want money. They smash Hyo-jin’s tape player, and she beats them all up like they are nothing. Then the North Korean agents all have dinner. Go-bong deletes all the Hyo-jin pictures. Later, at the train station, Go-bong is leaving to report for duty, his friends are all there, but Hyo-jin is not (neither are his parents, odd that…). As the train pulls out, Hyo-jin arrives, but it’s too late. Or is it? Because she’s on the train a few seconds later. At the Army camp, Go-bong is taken away while the commander lectures the parents to not visit and the girlfriends to remain faithful. We have FLASHBACK END!

DMZ-wise, Hyo-jin (the masked person for the two of you who didn’t figure that out) checks in on the sleeping Go-bong, and returns her picture to him. Later as he brushes his teeth, he sees a kiss mark in lipstick on his cheek.

EPILOGE — Comrade Kim bribed the officers with Viagra and escaped being sent to Siberian Mines. Meanwhile the real Park Hyo-jin gets into a fight with Nam Jin-a (boy is Real Park Hyo-jin going to be overmatched!)

Another good Korean film to put more movies from Hong Kong and America to shame. Is also interesting because how it deals with the Two Koreas and how they are portrayed. And if I’m ever in South Korea and the women at Burger King don’t wear miniskirts, I’m going to be royally enraged. I want it MY WAY, dammit, and that includes miniskirts!

Rated 9/10 (Raincoat Girl, guy with fantasy, food splatters x2, Drafted!, Mouse Madness, BK girls get tough, lesson learned)


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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!