Korean Movie Review – Secretly, Greatly (은밀하게 위대하게)

It’s no secret that I love the “Fast & Furious” films, so you can probably imagine how excited I was to see “Fast 6″ on opening night last May. However, my hopes were dashed as I got stuck behind 62 people, mostly giddy schoolgirls, waiting to buy tickets for Jang Cheol-su’sSecretly, Greatly.” I was so angry that I couldn’t wait for it to be released on DVD so I could tear it apart!


“Secretly, Greatly” follows the lives of three North Korean soldiers who have been sent south of the border to assimilate into a sleepy village whilst awaiting further instructions: Won Ryu-hwan (Kim Su-hyeon) is a brilliant and brutal soldier who has taken on the role of village idiot, Ri Hae-rang (Park Ki-woong) is assigned to become a rock star and infiltrate the music industry and Ri Hae-jin (Lee Hyeon-woo), the youngest of the three, is to pose as a high school student. As time passes with no word from the North, Ryu-hwan’s feelings toward some of the village people begin to change, but his love for the republic does not. However, when his orders finally come through, he and his fellow spies are not sure if they can carry out a command that could spell the end for the trio.


As much as I wanted to hate the film, it’s actually pretty good. If “Shaun of the Dead” (2004) invented the “rom-com-zom,” then “Secretly, Greatly” must be a “dram-act-com.” It doesn’t have the same ring, but it’s true. The story starts off with Ryu-hwan acting a fool by pooping in the street or falling over every two seconds just to keep up appearances. We watch as he starts to develop feelings for some of the villagers before he finally battles hordes of North Korean soldiers in an action-packed finale. 


“Secretly, Greatly” really does have something for everyone. There perhaps isn’t enough Vin Diesel for my liking, but on this occasion I’ll make an exception.

Categories: Reviews


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