MOVIE CLUB REVIEW: Code Name: Jackal
Welcome, everyone, to the first action movie to make our Drama Club movie list. Code Name: Jackal combined campy humor, good acting and enough plot twists to give the viewer a great time. Join Janice, Firnlambe and I as we discuss what we liked and disliked about this movie.
Firnlambe: Disliked?!? There was something to dislike about this movie?
Wendilynn: Well, not everyone is going to like every movie we review. I’ve reviewed a couple of movies I couldn’t sit still through because they bored me to tears. Jackal however, did not. I had so much fun with this one. Of course, getting to watch it with a friend so we could make fun of it when it got campy helped a lot too.
Janice: I might be in the minority but on the whole, I didn’t care much for the movie. The writing was absolutely predictable and ten minutes into the beginning, I already knew that Song Ji Hyo would turn out to be Jackal so I spent the entire time just waiting for that to happen. But, I’d love to hear more about what you both liked about it!
Wendilynn: I went into the movie knowing that Song Ji Hyo was the real Jackal, so when it became “obvious” early on, I considered that appropriate. The movie takes awhile to set some things up but when it all started falling into place, and you get the final twists at the end, I was left surprised. I had to immediatly watch it again to see if I had actually seen what I thought I had.
Firnlambe: I went into this movie knowing nothing. All I had to go off of was that Ji Hyo was not all she seemed to be. I knew she wasn’t inexperienced, much as she would have liked us to believe otherwise, but I was honestly surprised at her “transformation” at the very end. The reason I loved this movie was, as Wendilynn mentioned, being able to watch it with someone else (not alone by my lonesome Kdrama obsessed self) helped leaps and bounds. Plus I laughed so much at the random campy humor that was laced throughout this movie.
Wendilynn: For example, the Hotel Manager. He was just creepy in the beginning, but by the time he gets tied up . . . . you're laughing at what happens to him.
Firnlambe: Oh God I HATED him at the beginning . . . . that’s a lie, I disliked him even after he got tied up.
Janice: Haha, I think he’s the only character I enjoyed watching. He was beyond ridiculous but for some reason, I found his obnoxiousness amusing.
Firnlambe: Did anyone even catch his name? As far as I know he’s nameless.
Wendilynn: I don’t think they gave him one. Seo Dong Won was the actor, and he really did a good job with the character. I cracked up when he got tied up and then once he escaped found himself over his head so went and re-tied himself back up. lol
Janice: That was absolutely hilarious. I think Seo Dong Won did an exceptional job with the acting, he fit in with the camp perfectly. Kim Jae Joong, on the other hand, made me cringe. It looked like he was struggling to get into the campiness of the entire movie and that ruined it for me. I don’t think he’s suited to this genre.
Firnlambe: Really? I thought he pulled it off really well. Particularly when he was trying his best to convince Min Jung that he was Choi Hun and not Choi Hyun.
Wendilynn: Oh my gosh, that had me rolling with laughter. The bad singing, the missing abs and trying to badly dance while his feet are tied. I can understand how it felt a little stilted, but I think that was deliberate in the performance. I’ve seen him do campy humor in other things and he’s a natural.
Firnlambe: Personally I had a harder time accepting Ji Hyo’s character.
Janice: I think I couldn’t understand Jae Joong’s character at all, which is why it felt flat to me. Was he supposed to be a tortured artist? An ambitious one (apparently, he slept with Angela)? I couldn’t get what angle of ridiculousness his character was aiming for, and it seemed the writer was unclear about that too, so it didn’t work for me.
Wendilynn: I saw him as a hardworking, yet ambitious character. Yes, he was seducing the President’s wife, but he was also someone dealing with the stress of what he assumed was another fan assault. This was not his first time being trapped by an obsessed fan and he spent a lot of time trying to defuse THAT situation. Once he realized what was really happening, it was almost moot. lol
Firnlambe: Speaking of Sasaeng fans. The one they wrote for this movie probably takes the crazy cake. Stun guns? Acid? Are you serious?!? I felt so bad for Choi Hyun. And the fact that in the past she even broke into his home . . . Yeah, I couldn’t even begin to imagine.
Janice: Oh gosh, the acid! It reminded me of the crazy glue incident with Yunho. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to be that vigilant about your safety/health/life every day.
Wendilynn: It does take its toll. That people think it's even okay to do that to another person just boggles my mind. However, in this case, during my second viewing of the movie, I realized that our real jackal was really playing him like a lute. She knew what she was doing with him from minute one. He never really had the upper hand unless she gave it to him.
Firnlambe: She also knew how to play the cops. Chief Shin was basically in the palm of her hand the entire movie.
Janice: Going back to what Firnlambe said about Song Ji Hyo and her character, even though I knew that Bong Min Jung was going to turn out to be the Jackal, I had a hard time believing that she was the #1 assassin in the end. Maybe because she played her bumbling character too well, but there were situations in the movie where she doesn’t seem to have been as smart as she could’ve been, like when the cops were checking all the rooms and she ends up climbing back up to her room and pretending to be a constipated Japanese woman - it was funny, and she was playing the rookie assassin well, but I didn’t really see how a top assassin could’ve NOT planned for a situation like that.
Firnlambe: I think that may have been due to the fact that your brain had worked too quick and pieced it all together in the first 10 mins. As someone who didn’t know that she was gonna end up as the Jackal, yes I knew she wasn’t telling the whole truth while I was watching her, but I was still totally swept up in the notion that she very well could have been someone who may not know exactly what the hell she was supposed to do in those situations.
Janice: In the end, the balance of plausibility was skewed for me, so the 2 different sides of Min Jung didn't really gel for me.
Wendilynn: She had a reason and a goal to be acting bumbling. I also had a hard time understanding what she was doing until you find out what she was doing to Jae Joong and why. She had 4 goals to accomplish that night. There is no way she could have planned for the psycho fan or for the hotel manager to put her on another floor.
Janice: Speaking of twists, what did you think of them?
Wendilynn: Like I said earlier, I got to the end of the movie sputtering in surprise. I was like “Wait . . . what the? Did I just . . . Nu huh . . . I have to see that again to make sure”
Firnlambe: The writers for this movie were excellent! They blended everything together with the plot twists nicely. Even if at times it was super corny
Wendilynn: I was often reminded of a sex comedy at various points of this movie. I was really reminded of the movie Clue with the campy but involved characters and convoluted story line that all falls in place at the end. The movie really makes you think you’re watching one type of movie, but in reality, something else was going on.
Janice: I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of campy movies, so maybe that’s why I didn’t really enjoy Code Name: Jackal. But, the movie did go by pretty fast for me, so if you’re looking for an over-the-top, light movie, this one would be for you!
Firnlambe: Since we are on the topic of over the top. I’d like to point out the RIDICULOUS rooftop landing scene. His legs should have been broken into smithereens.
Wendilynn: You can see the safety rope catch him. He jerks awkwardly in the wide shot. LOL
Firnlambe: Forget the safety rope . . . he lands //THUD// full weight on his legs, and then he just lands on his back and all he does is groan. Granted . . . . . a rain soaked--white shirt . .
wait . . . . . . . . what was I talking about again?
Wendilynn: You were fangirling for a moment over a wet soaked Jae Joong.
Firnlambe: Oh yes . . . that's right . . . . . gorgeous even when soaking wet . . . . but still! Totally unrealistic! He would be in sooooooo much pain.
Janice: YES, he would! He also had the fastest recovery time for someone who got his ass kicked off the roof. I need that in my life, movie-miracle healing powers.
Wendilynn: Who doesn’t? lol There were several characters who came across as one thing and were really something else. It is not just our leads. The two local cops were not nearly the idiots you take them for at first.
Firnlambe: Officer Yoon was definitely one smart woman . . . who is clearly underpaid. I wonder why she puts up with Chief Ma the way she does, when it's clear she would be able to excel in the field if she just put forth some more effort.
Wendilynn: I wondered that too up until Chief Ma tied himself up and got whipped with his belt. (funny scene) She explains that he’s not nearly the bumbling idiot we thought he was. Clearly that boy has some connections because he was able to call in backup in a heartbeat. She is very smart and I think she was allowing herself to be mentored by someone who was probably better than he let on.
Janice: I was so frustrated with Detective Ma too, until Officer Yoon explained his process, that he tries to understand the criminal mind by placing himself in the situation. But I only really started rooting for him when Officer Yoon relayed the story that Detective Ma calls the tea lady to his office in order to give her business, it’s hard being a tea lady in their town.
Firnlambe: I was frustrated with him till he tied up the hotel manager lol
Wendilynn: that was so funny. But, why did everyone assume that if you were tied up it was because you were into S&M? What kind of motel/hotel was this?!! lol Just what were they used to seeing? I did crack up laughing when they turned on the lights in the bedroom and a mirror ball starting spinning. There were so many throw away moments of hilarity in this movie. The bathroom scene for one.
Firnlambe: shhhhhhhhhu *inhale* shhhhhhhu *claps* . . . . yeah, I just about died from laughing so much. I mean--she looks so happy for him.
Janice: Oh gosh, that scene was ridiculous. I was surprised Choi Hyun was even able to finish!
Firnlambe: Well I’m sure the “dream” where he had already started to go helped lol
Janice: It’s scenes like this where I wonder: did this happen to the writer at some point in his life? How did he think this up, haha?! I suppose this is part of the movie’s quirky charm.
Firnlambe: Most definitely . . . . there was so much going on I feel bad that we can’t cover it all.
Janice: That means people will just have to go watch the movie if they want more!
Firnlambe: Hear that fellow Movie Clubbers!! You may or may not like it depending on your sense of humor, but the movie is worth at least one watch ^-^
Wendilynn: I know this movie will be on my re-watch list. I enjoyed the humor and I found the movie to be smart in its execution. I’ve seen it 3 times now and I’m enjoying the set up to the final scenes. I’m catching new stuff each time.
Janice: I heard raves about this movie before watching it, so I know I’m probably one of the few dissenters. Let us know in the comments what your stance on the movie is! It was fun hanging out!
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