MOVIE CLUB: Secretly, Greatly Review
Hello Drama Clubbers! This week's Saturday Night Movie was none other than the highly anticipated Secretly, Greatly—or was the anticipation only felt by Janice, Firnlambe and myself? Who doesn't want to see three handsome men play hardcore spies? And let me tell you, they are handsome, and they are hardcore. Join us as we discuss the characters, plot points and more in this week's Movie Club Review!
Well, guys, what were your expectations going into the movie?
Aunnie: I went into it knowing how it ended. I didn’t know the specifics, I just knew where the characters ended up so it prepared me for what kind of movie it was going to be. What I didn’t know was how Won Ryu Hwan would go from being the Village Idiot to North Korean Comrade Baddy McBadass.
Janice: I didn’t have a lot of preconceptions going into Secretly, Greatly, and honestly, I didn’t know much about it except that Kim Soo Hyun was in it. I’d heard this movie did really well at the Korean box office but beyond that, my only expectation was that it was a comedy.
Firnlambe: Honestly, I went into it knowing nothing except who the actors were. I didn’t even really know what was supposed to be going on.
Aunnie: You mean besides what I’d gushed about? Haha.
Firnlambe: Well, that too, lol.
What was your favorite part?
Firnlambe: My favorite moment was probably when "Dong Gu" went back to being Ryu Hwan. Getting his haircut and then watching the townsfolk become shocked at seeing him act in a non-idiot manner was great. I particularly liked the hussy looking woman—the one who gave her son up for adoption—’s reaction when he walked down the stairs in his suit.
Aunnie: Haha, agreed. I like how she even questioned if it was him or not. For me, the funnier reaction came from his crush's younger brother, Yoon Yoo Joon, and how Ryu Hwan “evaded” his head slap. Seeing him go from utterly shocked to almost afraid when Ryu Hwan told him to take care of his sister. Yoo Joon was so shocked he actually ran to his sister in fear.
Firnlambe: That was a close second for me.
Janice: Me too! I did an air-punch during that scene.
Aunnie: I think my favorite part was the very first anchovy peeling scene. The two “older” spies joking around, being comfortable with the newbie—who clearly was not expecting them to be so easy going. Plus, I kind of like when Hae Rang teased Hae Jin.
Janice: I loved the anchovy scene too. I also liked the scene where they make the boss do a dance in the bra, and the scene between Ryu Hwan and Doo Seok on the swings, after the mob beats the latter one up.
Aunnie: Right! I loved that scene as well. I loved that whole family, actually. My heart melted with how happy the “older brother” (Doo Seok) was when—even after getting beat up—Dong Gu praised him saying his older brother was the best.
Janice: My favorite one though is when one of the little kids woke Ryu Hwan up in the middle of the night because his older brother went out to pee and never came back. That whole sequence made me laugh: from Ryu Hwan’s detective skills (he tasted the pee!!!) to being mistaken as a pervert, the comedy was perfectly balanced with a demonstration of his spy skills. It also showed how protective Ryu Hwan was of his community and that was heartwarming.
Aunnie: Another scene I cringed at! Haha.
Firnlambe: Good grief, that scene was so funny. Yes, I cringed at the pee taste session too, but the scene overall was just great.
Which Spy was your favorite?
Firnlambe: My favorite spy, hands down, was Won Ryu Hwan. Though at the end of the movie I grew pretty fond of Lee Hae Rang . . . what with his self sacrifice via bomb death. Plus his overall attitude was just great. Hae Jin though--Hae Jin is dead to me.
Aunnie: Poor Hae Jin . . .
Firnlambe: No, stupid idiot boy cost both their lives by not dropping his damn gun. Soooo he's dead to me.
Aunnie: See for me, I could forgive him for his stupid mistake because unlike the other two, the only thing Hae Jin knew was that he could trust his sunbaes—one of which had already died—and so he was trying to protect his remaining sunbae and he panicked when the NIS guy got too close.
Firnlambe: You, my friend, are waaaaay too forgiving.
Aunnie: Probably, haha.
Janice: I really felt for Hae Jin too because he was torn between his patriotism to his country and his loyalty to his captain. You could see his struggle and indecisiveness with it, add how young he was to the mix, and I can’t really blame him for not dropping the gun.
Aunnie: I gotta say, for me, it’s Hae Jin. Watching him change from this intensely hardcore soldier to a confused young adult--albeit, still insenely protective of his sunbae--I grew rather fond of him. I like the interaction between Ryu Hwan and how protective in turn he was of Hae Jin.
Janice: I adored Lee Hae Rang too, but wish we could’ve had more scenes with him.That scene where we find out that Hae Rang saved all the soldier's families in his Unit of 5446 slayed me.
Firnlambe: That's what really pushed him up into second place for me. I love it when characters have such depth to them, particularly when you totally pegged them for something different.
Aunnie: Oh agreed!! I love when writers do that with their characters--make them look like arrogant meanies but they turn out to be pretty awesome in the end.
Janice: YEAH, that complete flip from “I’m going to kill you” to “Nope, now I’ll take the shots for you” was a pretty tender moment. My favorite was Won Ryu Hwan. He was the most developed character out of the three spies and had a broader range of scenes for the audience to connect with so I think it was inevitable. I mean, who could resist all that snot that he purposely blew out his nose? HA!
Firnlambe: I could . . . God that was disgusting. BUT he makes up for it in other ways later in the movie.
Aunnie: I have a serious gag reflex to anything that comes out of a creature's nose--human, or non--so when that happened I immediately heaved and turned away from the TV.
How did you like the pace of the movie; too slow? Too fast? Was anything confusing about the plot progression?
Aunnie: One thing I really liked about the movie was how it was filled with comedy in the beginning but when things got serious, the rest of the movie got serious. And you wouldn’t think that transition would have been easy but it felt easy when you watched it.
Janice: The pace of the movie worked for me and it surprised me when the comedy took a turn for the serious--it sure was a heartslammer towards the end--but it was done effectively so I wasn’t bothered by it. The first half of the movie was really funny with Won Ryu Hwan’s antics, especially the scene where he ends up dressing in a bra and garbage mask--there has never been so many justified shirtless scenes in a movie before!
Aunnie: I laughed ridiculously loud at that scene, I mean, how do you react to that in real life? You’re just walking down the street looking for a lost boy and then you see . . .
. . . that. How do you not freak out?
Firnlambe: God, I couldn’t handle that scene . . . waaaaaay too much second hand embarrassment for me to handle.
Aunnie: Then you’re going to hate my favorite scene; pooping in the street. Normally, the scene I liked wouldn’t have made me laugh if it had been a “normal” person, but knowing that Ryu Hwan was, to quote Men in Black, “The best, of the best, of the best” in the North Korean spy division, the idea of him purposefully pooping in the street every six months and getting caught by his crush . . . the second hand embarrassment was too much for me in that moment.
Firnlambe: I couldn’t stand that scene either lol I couldn’t even look at the screen
Janice: YES, his face! Oh my god, that had me dying. Especially when he said, “Goodbye, my love” in his inner monologue--it just underlined how embarrassed he was.
Firnlambe: As well he should have been! I couldn’t even imagine how that might have felt. Honestly though, I thought the scene where he read the bankbook, and said he wanted to go back to how he was living was much more heartbreaking.
Janice: The bankbook devastated me as well. Especially when he read down the entries and the names changed from “Dong Gu” to “Our Dong Gu” to “My second son” then “Savings for my son’s wedding.” My heart hit the floor.
Aunnie: Oh I know . . . And the knowledge that she knew--if only vaguely--who and what he was the whole time was a surprisingly cool twist.
How was the acting?
Janice: I thought the acting was superb. I was really impressed with Kim Soo Hyun’s performance. It’s not easy playing two diametrically opposing personalities, but Kim Soo Hyun totally pulled it off. I believed him as the super spy and as the village idiot.
Aunnie: I agree. I believed he could have been both; actually watching him switch between both personalities in a split second definitely convinced me he’s an actor to continue watching--he’s going to do great things as an actor.
Firnlambe: I also agree, each actor was superb in their acting. None of them felt out of place at all, and each one of them made their characters feel real.
Janice: Park Ki Woong and Lee Hyun Woo were great too. I’ve seen them in other dramas and it was fun to watch them play very different characters. I think all three of them were very effective in their roles.
Aunnie: Lee Hyun Woo surprised me; I had only seen him in To The Beautiful You and while that was a great kdrama, the talents it took to act as that character didn’t seem like the talents it would take to pull this kind of character off. I think I remember seeing his filmography and going “He is playing a spy?”
Janice: Haha, exactly. I don’t think there was one bad actor in this film.
Aunnie: Park Ki Woong did a good job portraying an arrogant joker that is seemingly lazy but actually happens to be a Baddy McBadass Jr. himself! Not to mention he is probably one of a baby sized handful of people who could pull off that particular shade of hair color.
Firnlambe: Ugh that HAIR . . . yeah, no lol Though I will say it grew on me towards the end. Particularly when it started raining.
The fight scenes! Were the fight scenes believable? Or did the stunt team take creative liberties?
Firnlambe: I, for one, found the choreographed fight scenes totally believable. My father was even able to distinguish the different forms of martial arts they used. What I’m most curious about is if our main trio did all their own stunt work? or if they used professionals.
Aunnie: Good question! Aside from the fact that Ryu Hwan and Hae Rang fought off a room of 20, highly trained, North Korean soldiers with only a brick-whip and a shovel, I thought the fight scenes were good. Typical in the sense that, in real life, it would never be that easy but great choreography.
Janice: All in all, the fight scenes worked really well for me. The spies had badass skills and the hand-to-hand combat choreography was pretty impressive. I did wonder about one thing though. The scene where Ryu Hwan is doing pushups with his entire body in the air, I was wondering if there was wire work involved with that, he had to have wires, right?
Firnlambe: If he didn’t use wires--Kim Soo Hyun is a force to be reckoned with, because damn . . . that was some impressive body control.
Aunnie: If he didn't have wires, he's gonna make some girl a very lucky woman one day . . .
Okay, it's time to wrap this up guys. Final thought: Did you enjoy it?
Janice: Absolutely! Secretly, Greatly is funny, heartwarming, and devastating; definitely a worthy film to watch.
Firnlambe: I did, it was a great movie . . . that being said . . . the ending SUCKED!!! At least one person should have survived. Regardless though, I’d highly recommend this movie to anyone who would be up for watching a movie that’s both funny AND action packed adventure. This is one of those movies that will appeal to almost every person, even if they are not fans of our beloved Hallyu wave.
Aunnie: It's good for people who like comedy and action movies--it's one for the movie collection, if not for the brilliantly written script, then most definitely for the acting.
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Firnlambe: Soju-Like-Kdramas | @firnlambe | Google + | Bride of the Century | Triangle | It's Okay, That's Love | My Lovable Girl | Code Name: Jackal | Detective K: Secret of the Virtuous Widow | Secretly, Greatly | Coming Soon: Love On Air Movie Club