She’s On Duty

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“Cinematic candy-floss; hardly memorable, but pleasant enough.”

This frothy concoction is light-hearted entertainment, which doesn’t exactly pack much of a wallop, but has some nice characters and situations. Heroine Chun (Kim), is a young cop, galled when her undercover mission is swept away by a rival; she gets another chance, but to her dismay, this involves going back to school to watch the daughter (Nam) of a gang member who has agreed to testify against his boss, but has since vanished. Of course, a hot-tempered cop with martial arts skills fits perfectly into a Korean educational establishment, as anyone who has seen Volcano High will know…

Actually, though, this is closer in tone to My Wife is Gangster in its “fish out of water” story – another close cousin would be Stephen Chow’s Fight Back To School series. You could probably reel off the plot elements before watching it. Chun takes on the local tough girl (right), is attracted to another pupil (Gong), and finds her mission in peril when the previous nemesis also turns up, as a “teacher” at the school. Dealing with all this, while still keeping her cover intact, is an interesting challenge – not least when her teacher finds her drinking in a bar, and a classmate thinks she moonlights as a call-girl.

For a 115-minute film, this moves by effortlessly enough, but one can’t help thinking of the missed opportunities here. For example, her battle against the school bad girls is shown only in lead-up and aftermath, proof that the film’s interests lie in the comedic more than the action arena. That’s a bit of a shame, because in the two main set-pieces, which bookend the film, Kim shows some nicely balletic grace – as well as pulling some excellent faces throughout the movie. It’s all entirely unthreatening, but is well put-together, and you won’t feel like you’ve wasted your time by watching this.

Dir: K.C. Park
Star: Kim Seon-Ah, Gong Yoo, Nam Sang-Mi, Park Sang-Myeon

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