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Jopog Manura

My Wife is a Gangster

South Korea 2001
produced by
Lee Sun-yeol, Seo Se-won for Hyun Jin Films, Korea Pictures
directed by Cho Jin-gyu
starring Shin Eun-Kyung, Park Sang-Myeon, Ahn Jae-mo, Kim In-kwon, Choi Eun-ju, Choi Min-su, Choi Wang-sun, Kang Seong-pil, Ko Ju-yeon, Lee Eung-kyung, Yeon Jeong-hun
written by Kang Hyo-jin, Kim Moon-saeng

My Wife is a Gangster

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Eun-jin (Shin Eun-kyung) is the toughest gangsterboss in town - and she is a woman, but in many ways she's more man than most men. But she's got a soft spot for her sister, Yu-jin, who is suffering from terminal cancer, and wants to fulfill her every wish, just to make her remaining time on earth a happy one. But now Yu-jin asks Eun-jin to marry ...

Eun-jin, who has so far always looked down on men as weaklings, now learns to be a woman, and after a few failures, she finds a husband-to-be in Soo-il (Park Sang Myeon), who is on one hand an insignificant loser, on the other though courteous and mild-mannered, and in no way a match for Eun-jin. Of course though, he must not know that she is a gangster.

The wedding ceremony almost gets out of hands when a rival gang attacks, but Eun-jin's men somehow manage to gloss over everything. The wedding night though turns out to be a disaster as Eun-jin, who has never been with a man, panics and locks herself in the bathroom until Soo-il drinks himself to sleep. From that on, the union of Soo-il and Eun-jin becomes a more and more unhappy marriage, but they put up the facade anyways, Eun-jin for her dying sister's sake, and Soo-il because he's such a nice guy - and because he somehow really loves Eun-jin despite everything.

Then out of the blue Yu-jin wants Eun-jin to have a baby, and for her sister's sake, Eun-jin overcomes her disdain for male flesh and has sex with Soo-il - almost permanently. Finally, she does get pregnant ...

Then a gangwar breaks out, and Eun-jin's men are on the losing side, until Eun-jin shows up and tries to turn the tide - but even she can't save the day and is beaten to a pulp. Worse yet, she loses her baby.

Soo-il only now learns she has been pregnant, and learns about the whole backstory, too - and he would not be a good hubby if he wasn't going to avenge his wife and dead unborn child. So without any chance of winning, he shows up at a place where Eun-jion's opponents have a party with a barrel of petrol, to set everybody on fire ... and he fails miserably, but ultimately, his plan works out due to a stupid accident anyhow. and with his assault, he has proven himself worthy of Eun-jin ...


To put it bluntly: A film with a predictable plot, predictably told, and even the humour is bloody predictable. Sure, there are a few genuine laughs here or there, and at least the whole thing is elegantly directed, but that's abouit it. What doesn't make matters better is that at 100+ minutes, the film is too bloody long, and the many subplots that are supposed to make the thing more interesting only derive the story of its stringency that could have saved quite a bit.

Granted, there are far worse films out there, but that's not enough reason to watch this one, right?


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
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and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
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out now on DVD