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[HanCinema's Film Review] "My Wife is a Gangster 3"


Ah-ryeong (played by Shu Qi) is the heir to a Cantonese criminal empire. In the opening setpiece of "My Wife is a Gangster 3" she and her father Lim (played by Ti Lung) are attempting to make nice with a rival gang but it doesn't go so well, since apparently some people find the idea of a woman mafia heir to be an object of amusement. So Ah-ryeong gets sent off to Korea under the protection of Gi-cheol (played by Lee Beom-soo) and his crew. They're really more incompetent chaperones though, since Lim can take care of herself.

The central conceit of "My Wife is a Gangster 3" is just the contrast between Ah-ryeong's hypercompetence and Gi-cheol's inability to manage simple tasks. Compare their introductions. Where Ah-ryeong is making it clear that she only kills exactly as much of a person as she feels like killing, Gi-cheol struggles to get through a conversation confirming he has the bare minimum qualifications to look after Ah-ryeong.

To put into perspective just how incompetent Gi-cheol is, he can't even speak Chinese competently and ends up having to hire a translator just to communicate with Ah-ryeong. Not that he has much to say. All Gi-cheol has going for him is sheer bravado. Ah-ryeong sees through him so transparently that she quickly stops even pretending to pay attention to his veiled threats. Bear in mind the language barrier is not really that big a deal, since Ah-ryeong most effectively communicates through the language of violence.

Gi-cheol, though, all he has is false machismo. Even when an opportunity for some cool action moves on Gi-cheol's part shows up, Gi-cheol inevitably fumbles his chance to impress Ah-ryeong, which is funny. Observe how by the end Gi-cheol isn't even trying to help Ah-ryeong in the whole gangster plot, having instead come up with a sentimental goal which he still manages to screw up clumsily. Not that the results matter. Ah-ryeong is touched by how hard Gi-cheol is willing to try.

Note that this simple comedy is about the only real content "My Wife is a Gangster 3" has. Ah-ryeong is so busy just being mildly annoyed at Gi-cheol's crew that she's not paying attention to the main gangster plot at all, and we abruptly cut back to Hong Kong at one point to learn that quite a bit has happened in her absence. A storyline about Ah-ryeong's mother is also similarly very underdeveloped. It's never made clear whether Ah-ryeong came to Korea specifically to find her mother, or whether she was just taking advantage of a coincidence.

But see, when the premise of the movie is just culture clash comedy, with a heavy emphasis on what meaning is lost in translation, is the plot really that important? Personally I just liked watching the situation comedy. I mean sure, the action sequences are neat, if brief, and have really questionable scene-to-scene continuity. Although considering "My Wife is a Gangster 3" doesn't even pretend to have continuity with the previous movies, my expectations were pretty low. And they were definitely met.

Review by William Schwartz


"My Wife is a Gangster 3" is directed by Jo Jin-kyoo and features Shu Qi, Lee Beom-soo, Hyun Young and Oh Ji-ho.


Available on Blu-ray from YESASIA and on Netlfix

Blu-ray HK (En Sub)
Blu-ray HK (En Sub)



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