Starring: Ryu Seung-ryong, Lee Hanee, Gong Myung
Director: Lee Byeong-heon
Running Time: 111 mins
Extreme Job is a South Korean film about a team of detectives down on their luck who set up shop in a fried chicken restaurant as part of an undercover drugs bust, but soon find their eatery is a smash hit.
While rarely coming out as all-time classics, cop comedies do make for a rather good laugh more often than not. Extreme Job is much of the same, and although it doesn’t quite stick the landing with its ambitious and entertainingly unique ideas, it’s full of laughs and zany characters throughout, which is more than enough to give you a good few giggles.
In all truth, Extreme Job is a good laugh, but it does tail off quite dramatically in its second half, failing to keep up the bizarre yet surprisingly engaging hilarity of its opening act. So, we’ll start on the positive side with the first half of the movie, which is an excellent blend between easy-going, generic cop comedy antics and slightly more left-field but thoroughly funny hijinks.
Following the exploits of an incompetent team of detectives on their umpteenth warning from the chief, the movie starts off in great fashion with an action-packed and laughter-filled opening chase sequence, bringing great energy to the movie that stays with it for a good amount of time afterwards.
Then, the story settles down a little before getting into the weirdest but funniest part of all, following the detectives as their chicken restaurant cover accidentally becomes a massive distraction, and one of the biggest tourist destinations in the country.
Building on the frenetic and zany energy established well in the early stages, as well as the bizarre but hilariously strained relationships between the five main characters, the film explodes into life as the chicken restaurant becomes a hit, with rapid-fire gags that range from fantastic slapstick to the odd clever, tongue-in-cheek poke at the media and modern tourism, all of which brings a brilliantly unique and enjoyable energy into the mix.
That part of the movie – just after the opening stages and lasting well into the middle portion – is utterly hilarious, and a fantastically unorthodox take on cop comedies that I would have gladly watched continue to unfold for the rest of the movie.
However, things don’t quite pan out that way, and while the chicken comedy does admittedly get a little repetitive after a while, Extreme Job loses its way principally at the point where it shifts its attention back towards a more action/crime-oriented story.
That’s not to say it loses its sense of humour or frenetic, zany charisma, but the story does move into far more generic territory through the latter half, lacking that unique, left-field comedy and chaos that made the earlier part of the film so much fun to watch, and with a plot that isn’t quite as engaging or exciting as the film is aiming for, Extreme Job just isn’t as much of a riot as it draws to a close, which was a real disappointment for me.
Overall, I had good fun with Extreme Job, but not quite as much as I felt the movie had the potential for. Starting off strongly and building into a brilliantly weird comedy, the movie is full of energy and zany antics wherever you look in the opening half, only to devolve unfortunately into something rather more generic and dull later on, which is why I’m giving it a 7.2.