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My Wife is a Gangster 2
  |     review    |     notes     |     availability     |    


Cameo time: Zhang Ziyi vs. Shin Eun-Kyung in My Wife is a Gangster 2
Year: 2003  
Director: Jung Heung-Soon  
  Producer: Lee Sun-Yeol
Action: Kim Won-Jin  
  Cast: Shin Eun-Kyung, Park Joon-Gyu, Jang Se-Jin, Lee Won-Jong, Joo-Hyon, Jo Mi-Ryong, Choi Joon-Yong, Zhang Ziyi (cameo)
  The Skinny: A notorious female gangster loses her memory and ends up delivering Chinese food for a restaurant in this follow-up to the 2001 box office smash. Although short on substance, this rousing, often hilarious popcorn flick has enough style and silliness to keep audiences entertained.
Review by Calvin McMillin:      While "The Legend" does indeed make a comeback in My Wife is a Gangster 2, one can't help but suspect that this film was made solely as an attempt to cash in on the success of the 2001 original, and thus, would turn out to be yet another case of diminishing returns as far as sequels go. Surprisingly, however, this 2003 continuation in the series ends up being an enjoyable ride in its own right, although it's not quite on par with its more popular predecessor.
     While not entirely consistent with the events of the first film, My Wife is a Gangster 2 again focuses on the titular crime boss, Cha Eun-Jin (Shin Eun-Kyung), as she finds herself thrust into an all-new domestic situation, one far removed from her familiar crime-infested environment. The movie opens with an all-out rooftop brawl involving tons of gang members, all of whom duke it out to the sounds of Bing Crosby's "White Christmas." Things take a dramatic turn, however, when the infamous female gangster arrives on the scene in all her wire-fu glory. But just as she's in the midst of kicking ass and taking names, she's knocked off the building and plunges down to the streets below.
     Due to a lucky break, the fall doesn't kill her, but it does cause her to suffer amnesia. Luckily for Eun-Jin, she's found by Yoon Jae-Choi (Park Joon-Gyu) , the kindly owner of a small-scale Chinese restaurant. Although it would probably make more sense to just drop her off at the local police station, Jae-Choi spirits her away to his small-town burg without a moment's hesitation. Meanwhile, even though there's no corpse at the scene, Eun-Jin's compatriots more or less presume their leader is dead, although a frantic search for her current whereabouts continues.
     Several months later, the story picks up again with Eun-Jin playing delivery girl for Jae-Choi. She's fully ensconced in his single parent lifestyle, taking a somewhat maternal liking to Jae-Choi's irritable, disapproving daughter. Although happy with her current situation, Eun-Jin desires to know the truth about her past and continually tries to jog her own memory, at one point even risking electrocution, albeit with comic Wile E. Coyote-style results.
     Although her actual memory is slow to come back, her "Gangster Sense" is a bit quicker to return, as Eun-Jin starts delivering high-flying beatdowns to bank robbers, local gang members, and other punks who'd dare cross her or the people of her adopted community. And when the gangland boss White Shark catches wind of her new location, he pulls out all the stops to take his revenge on her. But will Eun Jin be able to regain her memory in time to put an end to the rival gang and save the people she's grown to care about? Well…yeah. This ain't no three hankie tearjerker, my friend.
     Although the sequel more or less pales in comparison to its predecessor, My Wife is a Gangster 2 does have its moments, and somehow, that's just enough to make it a film worth recommending. The segment of the plot that simply deals with Eun-Jin's insertion into a new domestic situation is probably the highlight of the picture, and is infinitely more interesting than the action sequences that are likely meant to be the series' bread and butter. As far as performances go, Shin Eun-Kyung is irresistible, as her character's tough girl persona makes for a humorous contrast with her new lifestyle among the locals. The film's approach to comedy is perhaps more silly than clever, but it's sure to bring a smile to your face one way or another.
     My Wife is a Gangster 2
dispenses with its more humorous tendencies when the fight scenes commence, resuming the stylish abandon of the introductory rooftop brawl. In a manner of speaking, the fight scenes are funny, in the sense that the wire fu employed is so ridiculously over-the-top as to be laughable, even though it's all played totally straight. Although there's a heavy use of stunt doubles and quick edits, the choreography is fine, but those expecting to see more believable stunts employed in a modern day fight scene may find the high-flying wuxia-infused theatrics to be a bit hard to swallow.
     When all is said and done, My Wife is a Gangster 2 isn't a masterpiece, and it won't likely make anyone's ten best list. But overall, it's a fun, good-natured sequel that gives viewers a chance to revisit the character of Cha Eun-Jin without abandoning what made audiences like her in the first place. If you like "fish-out-of-water" comedies or stylish action sequences, you could do worse than My Wife is a Gangster 2, a surprisingly entertaining, if not entirely substantial sequel. (Calvin McMillin, 2006)
Notes: • Although Zhang Ziyi's brief cameo during the film's tag ending suggested her appearance in a sequel, it has been reported that Shu Qi will instead portray a female Triad boss who crosses paths with Eun-Jin in My Wife is a Gangster 3.
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
CN Entertainment, Ltd.
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Korean and Cantonese Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
 

   
   
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