[HanCinema's Film Review] "Dragon Inn Part 2: The Night of the Gods"
By William Schwartz | Published on
So despite the clip from "Dragon Inn Part 1: The City of Sadness" suggesting that "Dragon Inn Part 2: The Night of the Gods" would take on darker more religious undertones, the villain actually just ends up being a pretty unremarkable cult. As in, they basically function like a real life cult, praying on people so lonely they're unwilling to question terrible group decisions. In practice "Dragon Inn Part 2: The Night of the Gods" is largely a procedural wherein the members of Dragon Inn attempt to track the cult down as part of their latest job.
Despite this it takes a really long time Ji-hye (played by Park Jeonghwa) to actually infiltrate the cult. Which I don't think qualifies as a spoiler, both because this is very obvious from a narrative standpoint but also because Ji-hye doesn't really serve any other function on the team. President Kwak (played by Jung Eui-wook) is the leader, Seung-jin (played by Jang Eui-soo) is the hacker and Cheol-min (played by Ji Il-joo) is the muscle. I could never quite figure out why Ji-hye was even around in the first movie, except to complete the love triangle.
That element is also sort of at play in this movie, but Cheol-min is delightfully oblivious and disinterested for a leading man. He has a fair amount of plot in the form of agonizing over the events of the first movie. Ohhh, and I guess he also knows the guy whose technically unrelated case ends up related to the missing person case. It was so obvious those two were going to connect together I really did feel like I was just waiting for the plot to catch up to what I already knew was going to happen.
Better elements include Seung-jin trying to branch out into doing the motorcycle punching guy job himself. In one of the better nuances, particularly for direct to video flick like this, there's the neat implication that Seung-jin is not so incompetent that he'll get in the way. That's the sweetest kind of compliment, the one that's made with enough reservations you know it's not there solely for the sake of flattery.
But by and large "Dragon Inn Part 2: The Night of the Gods" is less about plot and more about trying to maintain a certain mood. There's a neat creepy menace at play here as regards all the villains. Kudos to director Choi Sang-hoon-II for having managed to master the fine art of ominous lighting. Despite the general mundanity of the plot I liked how the villains constantly came off as sinister ethereal entities.
The actual goons backing the cult up are actually less menacing by comparison, since they just wear suits and it seems inevitable that Seung-jin will tear through them with little trouble, his actual antagonist being his internal demons. Not that those are very convincingly dealt with, mind you, but "Dragon Inn Part 2: The Night of the Gods" is a very workmanlike project. The movie aims for that sweet spot of plucky action noir and acquits itself quite well on that front, the above average tone doing a lot to lift up the average story.
Review by William Schwartz
"Dragon Inn Part 2: The Night of the Gods" is directed by Choi Sang-hoon-II, and features Ji Il-joo, Park Jeonghwa, Jang Eui-soo, Jung Eui-wook, Seo Ji-hoo, Lee Pil-mo. Release date in Korea: 2021/02/10.
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.