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[Herald Review] ‘Accidental Detective 2,’ pleasant mediocrity

The plot is run-of-the-mill, the jokes are standard and you could probably see the twist coming from a mile away. “The Accidental Detective 2: In Action” is by no means a stand-out masterpiece, but it is a funny little film that viewers can simply enjoy.

The film is a follow-up to the 2015 comedy film “The Accidental Detective.” It follows the story of Dae-man and Tae-soo -- played by Kwon Sang-woo and Sung Dong-il -- who become full-time private detectives after the events of the last film.

Taking the helm is director Lee Eon-hee, who showcases her talent for creating interesting characters.

“Dae-man and Tae-soo had already been established as attractive figures. I wanted the audience to feel the gravity of the case, but also show them solving a case in a way that it was impossible to hate,” Lee said.

“The Accidental Detective 2” starts off with the detectives investigating what appears to be an accidental death involving a train. But there have been a series of seemingly innocent accidental deaths of other youngsters, all of whom are traced back to an orphanage run by a kind-hearted man.

A scene from “The Accidental Detective 2: In Action” (CJ Entertainment)
A scene from “The Accidental Detective 2: In Action” (CJ Entertainment)

The whodunit element of the film is not essential, as the focal point of the flick lies in the hilarity of the duo tracking down the mystery.

Sung is one of those actors who can be funny without looking like a joke, and he again convincingly depicts a veteran detective with a slightly goofy side. Kwon’s boyish face and tiny voice -- coupled with his limited acting skills which are often ridiculed -- actually works well in playing a man-child whose immaturity is part of his charm.

Lee Kwang-soo’s acting can be over-the-top at times -- his exaggerated face that we’ve seen too many times in “Running Man” does not help -- but he does have some genuinely funny moments.

Considering that the mystery is an afterthought in the movie, the set-up and the twist itself -- while not shocking -- are not bad. It is very easy to pick out the real villain, but the motive is kept a mystery.

The lines are not particularly funny, but the way the script is acted out is what makes the film enjoyable to watch. There is one scene near the end where Lee’s character bluffs in the enemy headquarters. It would have been a very standard moment on paper, but the look on Lee’s face and the way he flips out caused the theater to erupt in laughter.

The movie does try a little too hard to be funny in the beginning, and it does feel at times that jokes are squeezed in at what could have been character-building moments. Action scenes are also not part of the film’s charm, as the most intense chase scene involves two scooters speeding at around 60 kph.

The movie ends on a high note, however, with the third act doing a good job of mixing humor and intensity with most of its jokes hitting the mark.

It is a fairly standard comedy flick, one that knows not to take itself too seriously and knows its job is to put a smile on people’s faces. Not groundbreaking or thought-provoking on any level, it is worth checking out if you’re looking to kill two hours without a care in the world.

By Yoon Min-sik