Monday, December 15, 2008

Dachimawa Lee (Ryoo Seung-Wan, 2008)

Lim Won-Hie as Dachimawa Lee (2008).

Originally a short made by Ryoo Seung-Wan in 1998 and released on the internet, this new full length version, also by Ryoo, is a spoof of spy films like the James Bond franchise and Korean action films from the 60's and 70's (I wouldn't know, I haven't seen any). Dachimawa Lee is an enormously handsome spy, master of martial arts and all around great guy. If you believe the other characters in the film. Slightly overweight and less handsome than average, Dachimawa Lee does get all the ladies and instills fear in the bad guys.

The story is set in the 1940's and involves a golden Buddha statue that contains the names of all Korean spies in the world. Some Manchurian bandits are trying to get hold of it to sell it to the Japanese and, of course, it's up to Dachimawa Lee to stop them.

I'm not going to try to act like I picked up on every joke in the film. Since I don't speak either Korean, Japanese or Chinese, most of the "language jokes" and references were lost on me. What is in there though, when it comes to the over acting, all the physical humor and crazy antics (and there is a lot!) is no less than hilarious, and it's non stop until the end. Some have critisized it for being too much, but I'm grateful that it never takes the same route as most Korean comedies, which switches gears for a, usually unbearably boring, slower third act. Dachimawa Lee entertains all the way.