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Original Title:
Jopog manura 2: Dolaon jeonseol

South Korea 2003

Action, Comedy

Jeong Heung-sun

Shin Eun-kyung
Park Jun Gyu
Jang Se-jin
Lee Won-jong
Jo Mi-lyeong
Choi Eun-ju
Cho Mi-ryeong
Ju Hyeon Ju
Zhang Ziyi

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My Wife is a Gangster 2

Story: Cha Eun-jin (Shin Eun-kyung), leader of the feared Scissor-Gang, has completely lost her memory after a tough fight. Yun Jae-cheol (Park Jun Gyu), a restaurant owner, takes care of her and let's her work as a delivery girl. While Eun-jin desperately tries to regain her memory, the Scissor-Gang futilely is searching for their boss.
Two years are passing by until Eun-jin finally gets aware of her Martial-Arts skills and makes head against a local gang that wants to replace the neighborhood including the restaurant she is working at with a shopping mall. However, Eun-jin's memory is still hidden behind a thick wall of haze. Moreover, she is eventually found by White Shark, who still has to settle an old score with her...

Review: "My Wife is a Gangster 2" has been torn to pieces by some critics. Therefore, I didn't expect much when watching the movie. While seeing the film there were more and more question marks popping up above my head. To make a long story short: Total nonsense what the critics are writing!
In fact, we finally get a well done sequel in a world of screwed up ones, which offers everything we could wish for: more comedy, more action, lots of familiar faces, innuendos and cross-references to the previous part and all of this in a new, refreshing setting.

The idea of a film heroine who suffers of amnesia is everything but new and actually is even a bit too hackneyed. Nonetheless, starting from this plot point we get the necessary surroundings we need to get some new style into the series. It would have been pretty boring to let Eun-jin compete against another random gang under already seen circumstances, wouldn't it?

The movie's charm is of course mainly brought into play by main actress Shin Eun-yung again. You can just see that she had one hell of fun to play the powerful, tough, mean and somewhere deep inside her sensible gang leader once again. Since Eun-jin is suffering from amnesia, she can smile a few more times than she could in the first installment of the series. In general, she finally is allowed to show more emotions without having to betray her original character. Nevertheless, luckily she still has some offensive and cool lines, that will make you cry out of laughter.

The frequent question what the title has to do with the actual movie, as Eun-jin is nobody's wife, doesn't need an answer in my opinion, since it's obvious. Even though Eun-jin hasn't an intimate relationship with the restaurant owner Jae-cheol they are nevertheless bond by a strange relationship, which is even deeper than the one of Eun-jin and her husband in the first part. It's just a shame, that we only get to see relatively little of their relationship and that Park Jun Gyu is more of a supporting actor. We really would have liked to see more of him and his character.
It's also interesting that Eun-jin's husband is never mentioned with one single word. What happened to him? Did they get a divorce? Well, most likely, but the viewer has to find his own answer for this, which is actually not a bad way of dealing with the topic.

It's really apparent that the second part of the "My Wife is a Gangster" series is packed with a lot more jokes. Most of them are on a slapstick level and you can see them coming miles in advance, yet they work out pretty well.
Even the action is more intense this time, which shows in some very well choreographed fighting sequences, that are luckily better cut than in the first part. Yet, especially in the Wire-Fu scenes you can clearly see the stuntmen getting a severe drubbing instead of the actors.
Nevertheless, the action scenes are captured with a great eye for details. A good example is the brawl on the sky scraper right at the beginning, which has nearly epic dimensions. Moreover, when Eun-jin is falling down the building in Slow-Mo then we suddenly feel reminded of the similar scene of "Matrix Reloaded" and this isn't the only time the movie offers some cross-references.

There is only little drama this time. As the first part is noteable because of its well done mix of comedy, action and drama it is a bit disappointing, but you can easily bear with it, since the film makes up for it with more humour. However, it's sad that the few dramatic moments aren't really believable. Especially the scene at the end in which a not so irrelevant character dies, isn't really moving, since shortly after that the flick continues in the same joyful way as before and no one seems to mourn about the dead. This leaves you with a strong bitter taste.

It's nice to see so many familiar faces from the first part return to screen. Somehow you just feel like coming home and that is exactly how it should be with a sequel.
Of course, I also have to mention Zhang Ziyi's cameo at the end, that whets our appetite and lets us hope that she might play the villian in the third part!

"My Wife is a Gangster 2" is for sure a well done sequel and maybe is even a little better than the first part, even though it has its flaws. The movie never gets boring, the pacing is always high and there's lots and lots of humour and action. What more could you ask for?

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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