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Original Title:
Nadooya kanda

South Korea 2004


Jeong Yeon-won

Jeong Jun-ho
Son Chang-min
Jeong So-yeong
Jeon Mi-seon
Geum Bo-ra

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A Wacky Switch

Story: Dong-Wha (Jeong Jun-ho) is an unsuccessful writer, who hasn't much to say at home. Being a complete loser for his wife and son, he continues a pitiful life.
Everything starts to change when one day he gets the assignment to write the biography of gangsterboss Man-Chul (Son Chang-min). After his first doubts he takes the job. Along his background investigations of Man-chul he happens to coincidentally save the life of the gangsterboss. Henceforth Dong-wha doesn't have money problems anymore and gained back the respect of his family. He also suddenly has a great reputation among the members of Man-chul's gang. In fact, Dong-wha's power in Man-chul's organization is increasing while Man-chul himself gets more and more disinterested in his gangsterboss role. He is more fascinated by a woman that Dong-wha introduced to him.
Besides all of this, Man-chul still has some powerful enemys, who think that now is the opportunity to undertake the organization...

Review: "A Wacky Switch" is an entertaining comedy from Korea which strength is its odd but likable characters. For example, Dong-wha's writing skills are limited to illustrating martial-arts-fights between some men in black in pouring rain. In this manner he often tells the story of Man-chul using flashbacks.
To watch the loser Dong-wha getting more and more power, thanks to some happy conincidences, is definitely amusing, but you won't be laughing out loud. Nevertheless a few scenes, especially the side characters (i.e. some members of the Man-chul organisation) can give you a big smile.

The actors are giving nice performances, just Man-chul seems to be too one-dimensional, which is most likely more a problem of the script. It takes some time until we know what to think of him, and only in the second part of the movie does he get the screentime he deserves. On the other hand, this mystery about Man-chuls character also creates some tension.

The story isn't really new, only the narration in form of the already mentioned, and every now and then used flashbacks is interesting. With these flashbacks there are also some action squences coming along. Mostly, some short fightscenes, that neither stand out with originality nor are they choreographed in a stunning manner. At least they are solidly filmed. That is in fact the case with the whole movie, which has some solid camera work and neat direction. However, the movie has its lengths that could have been avoided. Sometimes you aren't sure if the script knows where to go with its characters. Fortunately, this moments are relatively rare.

"A Wacky Switch" works because of its characters and their growing in the course of the movie. But it would have been nice to see some more from the side characters. Some persons are just thrown into the movie and keep being superficial. i.e. some of the gangsters of the opposition against Man-chul, or the now and then appearing police officers. It would have been nice, if some of these story aspects would have been continued in a more complete manner..

Since "A Wacky Switch" is a gangster-comedy, it mainly makes fun of this genre. But there are also some action movies, that get their come-uppance. However, it would be wrong to call the movie just a comedy, because Man-chul, who is sick of his gangsterboss living, also gives it a dramatic touch.
Yet, the funny moments are more present and although there is never happening anything extraordinary, the movie never gets boring and succeeds in creating a cheerful mood.
A movie you won't remember all too long, but that can entertain you for an evening.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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