Jung Da-won’s Miss & Mrs. Cops boldly points out the recent drug rape cartel scandal in South Korea. If you’re following recent news about the country’s entertainment industry, you might learn that there’s been a dire, organized sex scandal involving the industry moguls and even fan-darlings abusing women for sexual services, with drug-rape and non-consented sex video distribution. A series of investigation is currently ongoing since March 2019; but, most of the results show how male power operates and how easily women’s calls for justice are silenced, said the coalition of women’s rights groups. In bringing awareness about this issue, Da-won writes and directs an exhilarating buddy-cop comedy about two policewomen attempting to bust down the crooked industry even when all odds are against them.
The nature of the crime in Miss & Mrs. Cops is surprisingly pretty similar to the infamous Burning Sun scandal, confirming the movie’s stance on commenting on this issue. Women were secretly drugged in a famous club at Gangnam by some gentlemen—handsome, rich and talented just like the real-life perpetrators of the drug-rape cartels. They were then raped, secretly video-taped and black-mailed. When a young woman attempted to commit suicide after trying to report the case, the issue comes to the attention of two ill-fated female cops: the experienced Mi-young (Ra Mi-ran)—an ex, badass detective who is forced to work at public service center after marriage and labor—and the youthful Ji-hye (Lee Sung-kyoung), a detective sanctioned at the same public service center after violent conduct. Funny thing is both cops are sisters-in-law, mutually united by Ji-chul (Yoon Sang-hyun), Ji-hye’s older brother and a failed lawyer married to Mi-young.
In most of its presentation, Miss & Mrs. Cops has similar tone as Paul Feig’s The Heat; it’s ironically ridiculous given the serious, dismal issue it attempts to bring to audiences. The comedy sketches are solid and rapid. Each bit is followed by another, with some basic action scenes as intermissions. Some of the sketches function as pure satire—including the scenes where Mi-young tries to gratify her boss, satirizing how prone the law enforcing system in the country is from corruption and collusion, and the secret-camera guy, satirizing the rise of privacy breach. Some other sketches are utterly absurd. Sooyoung from Girl’s Generation has an important supporting role as the IT girl, which surprisingly brings up some of the movie’s most absurd comedies.
Unarguably, Miss & Mrs. Cops is a tonal mess. The shift between the jokes and the more serious issue has not always been smooth, even when the movie often captures both sides effectively. However, there’s unarguably a more serious concern that the movie successfully brings awareness to: the discrimination towards women in the society. Mi-young is undoubtedly a super talented detective, but she also happens to be a woman. Therefore, she’s given a limited time to perform her duty and is “dismissed” to a more non-pretentious department just because she’s gone into labor; meanwhile, her male compatriots have possibly been given a series of promotion. The movie goes even further pointing out about how the law is often diminishing women. Reports about the drug-rape case and the blackmail, even when it’s lethal, is put aside because it’s not considered a major case.
Da-won’s story is often walking through the safe zone, but it’s for the best given the movie’s abundant use of irrelevant yet exhilarating humors. Ra Mi-ran and Sung-kyoung’s chemistry excels all the way to keep the movie in its trajectory. In the end, while rigged with clichés and comical elements, Miss & Mrs. Cops still delivers a fun female buddy-cop action movie with relevant message to current issue in South Korea.
Miss & Mrs. Cops (2019)
Action, Comedy, Crime Written & Directed by: Jung Da-won Starred by: Ra Mi-ran, Lee Sung-kyoung, Yoon Sang-hyun, Sooyoung Runtime: 107 mins