Crawling slowly when finding the focus in the beginning, Extreme Job cooks up exhilarating Korean buddy-cop tropes with an absurd plot of fried chicken detective.
Upon the return of a Korean drug kingpin, a team of narcs led by Captain Ko (Ryu Seung-ryong) needs to devise a new M.O. in order to catch the big fish. After a series of failed, silly attempts, the team finally finds their secret plan—a full stakeout mission by going undercover in an obsolete fried chicken joint. In an unexpected twist of fate, the revamped fried chicken joint ends up being a national phenomenon. With a risk of compromising the whole mission, Ko and his happy-go-lucky team goes into a comedic adventure full of deadpan moments.
It’s difficult to resist the delightful temptation not to discuss Extreme Job a.k.a. ‘Geukhanjijob’ without making an analogy to the sensational Suwon Galbi Fried Chicken that becomes the central on-screen macguffin. In the movie, Detective Ma (Jin Sun-kyu), a member of Captain Ko’s narcs team, accidentally discovers a secret recipe of the viral fried chicken by dousing some ordinary fried chicken into a signature Korean marinated rib sauce originated from his hometown in Suwon. That special chicken is what makes this whole movie different from the usual Korean buddy-cop.
As a cop movie, Extreme Job is similar o fried chicken in South Korea; both are the comfort choice—the universal option among their respective kinds. What makes the movie distinctive from the rank of cop movies is the unlikely formula—the fried chicken joint undercover. This formula makes a direct comparison with viral the fried chicken that the narc team is selling in the movie; the chicken utilizes an unlikely formula as well. Well, both formula works.
In a similar fashion, both the movie and the on-screen fried chicken joint take their time to bring up the formula. Extreme Job crawls slowly to make way for the secret formula works; the narrative takes its time to introduce the characters, the conflicts and how the secret formula wraps them all. However, when the movie finally brings up the fried chicken joint arc, things become a little bit problematic. As a main attraction, this fragment isn’t being explored properly; however, as a mere gimmick, it’s probably too long. It’s just like fried chicken: too much as a snack, too little for the main course.
In the nick of time, director Lee Byeong-heon still delivers a priceless series of capricious moments with perfect timing as well as worthy action injection here and there. However, what makes the unlikely formula works in Extreme Job is the electric chemistry between the personality-diverse team, which sees Seung-ryong (Miracle in Cell No. 7, Kingdom) in an enticing collaboration with Jin Sun-kyu, Lee Dong-hwi, Gong-myung and Miss Universe 2017 contestant, Lee Hanee. Such chemistry is what helps audiences to stick around while the movie crawled slowly to find the focus in the beginning. Such chemistry also helps Extreme Job cooking up exhilarating Korean buddy-cop tropes with an absurd plot, which works eventually.
Extreme Job (2019)
Action, Crime, Comedy Writen by: Bae Se-young Directed by: Lee Byeong-heon Starred by: Ryu Seung-ryong, Jin Sun-kyu, Lee Dong-hwi, Gong-myung, Lee Hanee, Shin Ha-kyun Runtime: 111 mins