Review. Secret Reunion is about two men, who in the past were on opposite sides (one a South Korean police officer and the other a North Korean spy), that cross paths later in life.
* What if 6 years ago you were a police officer focused on catching the North Korean assassin “Shadow”? What if it all went wrong and you got fired?
* What if 6 years ago you were the North Korean spy assigned to help the assassin “Shadow” succeed? What if it all went wrong and the North considers you a traitor so you can never go home?
* What happens when these two men meet present day?
More Details. Secret Reunion is a 2010 Korean film that stars Song Kang Ho as former South Korean police officer Lee Han Kyu and Gang Dong Won as North Korean spy Song Ji Won. Six years ago Kang Ho and his police team ALMOST caught North Korean assassin “Shadow” who was aided by North Korean spy Ji Won. There were repercussions for both men. Han Kyu was fired and now has a private business finding foreign wives that have run away from their husbands. Ji Won is considered a traitor by the North cannot go home to his wife and young daughter. Both men meet again by chance. Will Han Kyu turn in Ji Won to the police? Will Ji Won betray Han Kyu to the North? Can these men reject the past to forge a friendship in the present?
What I liked about Secret Reunion:
Unpredictable Story. I wasn’t sure where this story was going to go. Six years after the initial encounter, both men have separate lives and have moved away from their former professions. But one day Han Kyu runs into Ji Won as he tracks a foreign wife for a client. He recognizes Ji Won (though he pretends not to). Will Han Kyu revert to his police mindset to track Ji Won and turn him into the police? Conversely, Ji Won recognizes Han Kyu (though he pretends not to). Will Ji Won report Kang Ho to the North for potential retribution to get back in favor with the North? They decide to work together to keep track of each other. These two create an uneasy alliance that evolves into a friendship. Can they trust each other or will their former stances destroy everything?
Song Kang Ho as former South Korean police officer Lee Han Kyu. He badly wanted to capture the assassin “Shadow” who slipped through his fingers along with co-patriot Ji Won. After getting fired, he’s rebuilt his life. When he meets Ji Won again, he sees an opportunity to turn in Ji Won (and make some money) to the police. But a funny thing happens, Ji Won is a decent guy, perhaps a better man than Han Kyu. He begins to become Ji Won’s friend. But their friendship will be tested. Will they live or die? Kang Ho did a fine job struggling with his goal to capture a North spy with the obvious reality that Ji Won was no longer the man from 6 years prior.
Gang Dong Won as North Korean spy Song Ji Won. He did his job well and facilitated Shadow’s assignments. But when things go wrong, he’s labeled a traitor, and becomes a man without a country. He cannot return to the North (and his family) and must hide his identity in the South. When he meets Han Kyu again, he sees an opportunity use Han Kyu to get to score points with the North. But a funny thing happens, Han Kyu is a decent guy, and maybe could become a friend versus an opponent. Can Ji Won trust his truth to Han Kyu? If he does, will Ji Won survive? Will Han Kyu survive? Dong Won portrayed the quiet, always on guard Ji Won, abandoned by his country, with a quiet dignity that drew you to him. His small but wicked knife was effective.
What I did not like about Secret Reunion:
Story could have been stronger. This movie hinged on the lead characters and the actors that portrayed them. Everything else became supplemental. The cadres of writers (Jang Min Suk, Choi Kwan Young, Jang Hun, Kim Joo Ho) could have pumped up certain plot points to strengthen this film. I don’t fault the actors portrayals as their evolving friendship had to be subtle and not buddy buddy. The initial set up was solid, the middle part of the film, where their friendship was slowly forged, felt a bit draggy at times, and the ending was a surprise and not 100% believable.
Secret Reunion was a solid story of two men that learned to look beyond the past to forge a friendship in the present. This was a good but not great film.