MOVIE CLUB REVIEW: Detective K: Secret of the Virtuous Widow
How's that song go? A little bit country, a little bit rock n roll? The best of both worlds is the perfect description of this week's movie, Detective K: Secret of the Virtuous Widow. A little bit mystery, a little bit comedy, and an emergency adorable puppy whenever you need one. Join Wendilynn, Firnlambe and Taleena as we discuss our thoughts on why we loved this movie.
Taleena: Loved this movie. So fun. It took tropes and cues from a lot of sub mystery genres and blended them quite amusingly.
Firnlambe: I knew this movie was going to make me laugh based off the trailer, but I was not expecting it to be that funny. There was hardly a moment where I wasn’t laughing in some way, shape or form.
Wendilynn: All I knew going in was that Kim Myung Min was the lead. And he always plays these very stiff upper lip type of characters, so I was expecting something along the lines of Poirot. But instead I was delightfully surprised to get something that reminded me of Sherlock Holmes. I insist that Kim Myung Min’s next kdrama role cannot be a stiff.
Taleena: You have to love a movie with a hero rocking an unapologetic mustache a la Magnum PI and Hercule Poirot. Of course it was awful. But I still love it. Everytime he had some “disguise” I laughed at that mustache. it just got funnier and funnier to me.
Firnlambe: Oh my gosh!! That mustache was absolutely atrocious! I also agree on Wendilynn’s call for Kim Myung Min to be in a Kdrama that lets him really expand this new side to him . . . granted it may not be new to the Korean audience but it sure as heck is new to me.
Taleena: I loved how he had a bit of S. Holmes, a bit of CSI, and the fight scenes were wonderful and not quite comic book. He had that Indiana Jones vibe of being competent but just swimming out of his depth level in the fighting. There was definitely a strong element of film noir. The Femme Fatale in the red dress, the double crossing and multi layer identities. If she had slinked in with a smokey muted horn playing I would not have been surprised.
Wendilynn: This movie was brilliantly done. They did pull a little bit from all these classic shows without it ever seeming like a poorly made remake. It took those pieces, blended them and then added these understated points of awesome humor to keep you entertained.
Taleena: Plus, puppies! Cute puppies just when you wanted them most. It was like Lee Hong Ki pulling out a kitten in Bride of the Century. It just added awesomeness to the whole experience. Right? The whole pulling puppies out of stew pots just cracked me up. The actor who played the dog trainer/minister yes. hit each note quite well. It was not unbelievable his reveal at the end. The little notes about ‘I’m an elder and am not getting my respect” and everything was just enough to seed the reveal.
Wendilynn: That’s hilarious. Those dogs were very cute and were a fun source of understated humor. Making fun of the stereotypes was really sly.
Firnlambe: They even put them in little doggie jackets.
Wendilynn: Little dogs, big dogs, dog trainers. There was never a twist in this movie that did not make sense. And considering they twist it up darn near to the very end, that takes some doing.
Firnlambe: I’ll admit that I totally did NOT see the twist about the dog trainer being the real merchant coming. Like at all. The writers did a really good job of keeping that tid-bit of information hidden in plain sight right up until the end. I’ve now watched the movie twice, and the second time through I can see small little tells that I didn’t see the first time through.
Taleena: I didn’t either. I was so focused on HER and all her myriad roles. I thought that when she was revealed with her left handedness he was making the connection between her being the assassin and as well as the dead daughter in law.
Firnlambe: I found her storyline to be extremely well thought out. I had it pegged that Master Han was the “dead” daughter-in-law, but then they made some sort of comment (which I cannot remember for the life of me) and my brain went--but wait, what if she’s not.
Taleena: This actress has a distinctive nose/mouth combo which is how I recognized her eventually, but she had such a bitchface as the evil persona that it took me a few minutes to place her from Rooftop Prince.
Firnlambe: I didn’t even notice that the female lead from Rooftop Prince and our Virtuous Widow/Master Han was played by the same actress until we started talking about the movie for this post.
Taleena: Knowing this was a mystery I didn’t look at anything before hand except the trailer once.
Wendilynn: I guess I was the slow one this time. I did not see her as the dead daughter-in-law because they looked so different. It wasn’t until the left hand was revealed that I finally knew.
Taleena: It’s the red gown and lipstick W. :)
Firnlambe: Yeah, I think it was her make-up //thinks// yup that was what threw me . . . they did that flashback scene with Master Han about the forged painting and the women looked so different even sitting next to each other that I started second guessing myself.
Wendilynn: This movie guarded its secrets rather well. What I really enjoyed was how sly and deadpan the humor was as they were working through all the secrets. Never was anything over stated or slap stick. Like the arrow. I had to actually stop the movie as I was laughing too hard as Myung Min just stared. He didn’t even need to say a word.
Firnlambe: I was laughing so much at the arrow bit too! How do you not notice an arrow is embedded in your shoulder blades? I mean honestly . . .
Taleena: I was reminded strongly of the tarantula scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark for some reason. The King was awesome every time we saw him. Was that actor the same guy who was king in SKK Scandal? I loved how he just strode in at the end as the arrows were flying.
Firnlambe: I was fond of his porn/evidence swap.
Taleena: I knew that the skin mags would pay off as a red herring as soon as Bad Guy burned the log.
Wendilynn: Wasn’t it nice to not have a king that sucked? No, he was not the same guy. Our king here was played by Nam Sung Jin and he was great.
Firnlambe: Oh it was such a great change of pace! I hate it when they make the King, or any royalty for that matter, into sniveling snobs.
Taleena: Things that side tracked me: hand fan, cookies to small girls, puppies in cook pots, and magic fish tank lights that had NO WAY of being lit the way they were. Look I grant you the glow worm flighlights or whatever, but that fish tank was lit from the bottom with fluorescents. They had a nice Scooby Doo/X-files moment with the flashlights, but lordy that fish tank!
Firnlambe: Hahahahaha! The fish tank lights!!! . . . I’m convinced, in consideration of the time period this movie is based in, that black magic HAD to have been involved.
Wendilynn: They were rather unapologetic when they added contemporary elements and then turned it into a point of humor. The side looks that Detective K would give that fish tank were funny to me. It was like he was saying, what the hell? I liked the flashlights.
Firnlambe: Yeah but those flashlights, while wickedly awesome and absolutely brilliant, would not shine the way they did. So I had a good chuckle at that concept . . . I also had a good chuckle at the mixed drink that K made after they broke in.
Taleena: Martini shaken not stirred?
Firnlambe: Ha! So we’ve got Sherlock Holmes and James Bond references . . . was there any others I missed.
Wendilynn: lol, you think you’re getting Mission Impossible and instead you get a mixed drink.
Taleena: Well they did do a few M:I references especially the beam above her office ala Tom Cruise. And a few CSI references of Grissom as he autopsies the bodies.
Wendilynn: All these elements came together to make a fun movie to watch. This movie will be on my repeat list. I can happily recommend this movie to anyone. It will be entertaining to any viewer. If you’re wanting to get a boyfriend or hubby to join you watching your “kdrama stuff” , this will be a good choice.
Taleena: I agree. I need to get Dear Husband to watch this. He loves a good mystery and will enjoy the action sequences. Barrels! Oh my goodness I started making Donkey Kong noises at the barrel jumping.
Wendilynn: LOL!! Thank goodness I wasn’t the only one.
Firnlambe: Glad to see I also wasn’t the only one to make that reference. I also connected the Ninja hiding blanket they used during their break-in on Master Han’s place, with the manga Naruto . . . because I’m a nerd like that.
We feel this movie is one almost everyone will enjoy at least on some level. It's a great choice for those friends and family who are a little hesitant in joining you in your Hallyu endeavors. The mystery mixed with just the right amount of humor and action will make this a movie you can watch just to sit back and laugh whenever you need a pick-me-up.
You've all read our take on the movie, now it's your turn to let us know how you felt. Granted, not everyone will like every movie that we are able to see thanks to DramaFever, but its nice to see why you loved it or if why you hated it in the comments below.
The film is based on the novel by Kim Tak Hwan ,and it was the 4th best selling Korean film of 2011, earning US$32,325,907.
The sequel Detective K: Laborer's Daughter is planned for release in 2015. Kim Myung Min and Oh Dal Soo will reprise their roles, to be joined by Lee Yeon Hee as a femme fatale.
Watch the movie:
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