Cast: Kim Myung Min, Lee Yeon Hee, Oh Dal Su, Jo Kwan Woo.
Running Time: 125 minutes
Synopsis: Detective K (Kim) returns to uncover the mystery of missing girls and counterfeit silver.
In 2011, DETECTIVE K: SECRET OF THE VIRTUOUS WOMAN proved to be Korea’s answer to Sherlock Holmes. Not just the character in general, but actually quite similar to Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal. There’s humour, the banter with sidekick Seo Pil (Oh), a mysterious woman caught up in a romantic subplot (Lee), action, and plenty of clever sequences designed to unravel the mystery in the most visually pleasing way possible.
A mystery is only as good as to how much we as the audience care for the conclusion, and DETECTIVE K: SECRET OF THE LOST ISLAND does that extremely well. The counterfeit storyline is given extra weight thanks to the inclusion of Da Hae (Lee Chae Eun), a young girl who swims out to Detective K’s island where he has been exiled to. Her sweet mannerisms and concern over her missing sister add the emotional drive, which takes the sometimes jovial film to darker places in a brave and compelling twist.
The funny parts are indeed hilarious, with the slapstick being spot on, but also seeing the quick one liners survive the translation process. The humour also weaves its way into inventive action scenes, most notably a night-time chase where glow in the dark paint is utilised.
The period setting is expertly crafted, while the score adds a more contemporary feel. The beats certainly lend themselves to pumping the adrenaline, although they can also be overused in moments of revelation for dramatic emphasis. This, along with some needless and clunky flashbacks, sometimes slow the pace or just feel crammed in.
Kim and Oh’s chemistry possesses the film in the same way that Law and Downey Jr. did for SHERLOCK HOLMES. It’s a joy to behold, and despite the similarities being inescapable, there’s also enough originality to make this more than just an Eastern rip-off. A fun adventure, that may get too dark for some, DETECTIVE K: SECRET OF THE LOST ISLAND at least takes chances, offering up archetypal Blockbuster characters in situations Hollywood would probably feel uncomfortable investigating. If a third film wants to make this a trilogy, I don’t think we’d have any objections.
[usr=3]DETECTIVE K: SECRET OF THE LOST ISLAND is released in select theatres in the US and Canada on 6th March.