Whistling Princess

Director:  Lee Jeong-hwan
Year: 2002
Rating: 4.0

Country: Korea

Aka - Hidden Princess

This film must have been made during one of the many off and on Reconciliation periods between North and South Korea. Not only are the North Koreans given a positive makeover but the CIA are the villains. Of course, if they were intent on giving the North Koreans and then Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il a peace offering, it might have been a good idea to give him a decent film. Kim Jong-il was apparently a big film fan and I can't imagine he was too happy with this. It is pretty awful and totally farfetched for the most part. It is one of those Korean comedies in which yelling and hitting people substitutes for a script. They also throw in a lot of cute in the form of the main actress, Kim Hyun-su, but since this turned out to be her last film I expect that didn't go over so well. Though admittedly, she and her male co-star are kind of cute in a blank Hello Kitty sort of way. But like a lot of Korean films that veer wildly between the genres of comedy and melodrama - this one has an even odder format - comedy, comedy, comedy, melodrama and then in the end there is this big shootout in which a load of people are brutally killed. What? I sat there flummoxed - who thought this was a good ending to a sweet comedy - a schizophrenic?

A North Korean Dance Troupe is performing in Seoul and one of the female dancers escapes from protective custody just to have some fun for a change. But Ji-eun is more than just one of the dancers - she is the secret daughter of the leader of North Korea in a dalliance with an actress years before. So she runs off and both the North and South Korean agents are after her - but so are the CIA. The agents after the initial hostility to one another become best buds of course but the CIA are all psychos and terrible actors to boot. And speaking of psycho - Kim Jong-il did have a legit daughter and she too is a psycho. It runs in the family.

But not this one - she is a stuffed toy come to life with a huge smile and loving attitude. She attaches herself to a low end rock band and becomes their agent and encourages them to reach higher. It just stumbles along just where you expect it to and then the CIA show up and start killing people. Maybe Kim Jong-il enjoyed that part.