My Wife Is a Gangster 2

I saw it at the Primus Theater in Jeonju with Mi Seok today. The film was pretty funny, and again I understood more than I originally expected, although I plan on seeing the film again once I have a chance to get a DVD, so that I can read the subtitles. Some of the jokes were just way over my head.

I remember when I first saw the cover of the DVD for part 1 of this series. My younger students had told me about a movie in which a female gangster is tougher than any of the male gangsters, and how this film was considered a popular classic. They didn’t exactly put it that way, but they did say that the film was shown on TV during the holidays, something akin to The Sound of Music during Christmas in North America.

But strangely enough, this movie is about gangsters. Not just about gangsters, but about a female gangster boss who, while she answers to a superior, is also tough as nails. Her male cohort of underlings call her “hyeong”, meaning, “Sir” or “Elder Brother”. There is of course a pun on this, but I’ll get to it in a minute.

MY Wife is a Gangster Part 1In the first film, the female gangster, when she isn’t pounding the living crap out of her gangland enemies, is busy trying to find herself a husband. Yes, that’s right, the age of reckoning seems to have come and she is still unmarried. She must wed, and nothing, neither her commitments to “the business” nor her own reticence (understandable as even she thinks of herself as unsuited to the duties of wifedom and especially motherhood), nor even her frightening skill at both unarmed combat and with scissors (which she uses as a horrifically deadly weapon).

Of course, in the end she weds, and the end of the first film is in the midst of battle.

The second movie picks up where the first left off. The battle scene concludes with our Gangster Wife heroine falling off a high rooftop onto a passing chicken truck. She is badly injured, and suffers from amnesia.

Who rescues her? Why, your friendly neighborhood Chinese restaurant owner. That’s right, she becomes a JJa Jang delivery girl. She lives side by side with her boss and his daughter (he is a single parent of a rather tough, rought tomboy of a daughter, reminiscent of the heroine in her own youth), delivering fried pork and fighting off her bosses rather amusing and futile (though heartfelt) sexual advances. Although she is plagued by a desire to remember who she was – for she is keenly aware of her amnesia – life seems in the main to go along swimmingly, with the beginnings of a romance with her boss, and a rather heroic turn of events during a bank robbery that she finds herself in the middle of…

Yes, things go on pretty nicely until… yes, one day someone recognizes her. After all, she was one of the toughest gangsters in Seoul, so someone had to recognize her eventually. And when they do, they come after her full force, before she even knows who she is. She only remembers her own identity after being shown some photos about her past, and then, during a fight, suffering another nasty knock to the head. Sure, it’s a cheap gimmick, but this is a “Chicks With Guns” movie, not high drama.

Anyway, the rest is somewhat predictable… she whups ass, with a little help from her almost-lover and her new friends. And the ending clearly sets up a third film sequel, which is fine by me because this kind of martial arts fluff entertains me, especially the kind with tough pretty women beating the snot out of bad men. I like that sort of film.

But there are some things that surprised me about this series. Here are a couple of points that come to mind:

In any case, I really enjoyed these films and I recommend them to anyone who wants a couple of light amusing hours of watching a very tough Korean gangster woman struggle to balance being a woman with whuppin’ asses that deserve to be whupped.

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