Movie Review – Extreme Job (Geukhanjikeob, 극한직업)

TL;DR – This is a film that is hilarious, funny, and had me laughing from start to finish.     

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Extreme Job (Geukhanjikeob, 극한직업). Image Credit: CJ Entertainment.

Review

There are many reasons that you may want to go to the movies. You may want a visual spectacle, an interesting character study, or maybe you just want to site and laugh your heart out. Well, today I look at a film that has the distinction of being not one but all of these things at once. Even better I had no idea about this film before seeing it, other than the title, so I didn’t know I was about to see one of the best films of the year when I walked in. Also just a pro-tip, do not go into this film on an empty stomach, trust me on this one, or at least plan to go get food the moment the film ends.  

So to set the scene, we open on an illegal gambling den as police radios crackle to life with instructions reminding everyone to limit property damage as they repel down the side of a building to block off all avenues of escape. This means no smashing through windows like you are an action star and politely asking the criminal to turn himself in … and that goes about as well as you can expect. The whole team Chief Go (Ryu Seung-ryong), Detective Jang (Lee Hanee), Detective Young-ho (Lee Dong-hwi), Detective Ma (Jin Seon-kyu), and Detective Jae-hoon (Gong Myung), chase after the suspect through the streets of Seoul only for them to have everything fall apart. They are dragged in front of the Police Superintendent (Kim Eui-sung) and berated for their incompetence, with the very real chance that their team will be disbanded. Everyone knows that they are on their last chance when Choi (Song Young-kyu) the head of a rival police taskforce gives them a tip that Lee Moo-bae (Shin Ha-kyun) one of Korea’s big drug players is about to return to the country. So the team has to engage in the biggest stake-out in their history, and it goes about as well as you expect.

Extreme Job (Geukhanjikeob, 극한직업). Image Credit: CJ Entertainment.
One of the things that makes this film work as well as it does is the rapport between the cast. Image Credit: CJ Entertainment.

 Comedy is one of those things that is really quite subjective, and what will be funny for one person will be annoying to someone else. However, for me, there are some universal things that I think most people can appreciate, and that’s quality craftsmanship. There has been a lot of effort put into this film to make sure every comedic beat hits its mark and this translates across languages and cultures.

The first thing that works is the commitment from the cast in what is an absurd premise at times. You see this right at the start when each of the main members of the taskforce gets introduced and you have but moments to encapsulate your character before moving on. Are you the tired chief trying to do what is right, the new recruit with all the energy in the world, you get all of that from their performances. This is also helped by the fact that everyone in the core group has a great rapport with each other which helps every joke, every slapstick moment, or absurd scenario to work. To add to this every character has a really good arc across the film which gives each of the comedic moments more weight. Add in a great bad guy in the smarmy Lee Moo-bae and you have a great set up for a comedic film.

Extreme Job (Geukhanjikeob, 극한직업). Image Credit: CJ Entertainment.
There is so much Korean style fried chicken in this film, an unfair amount, because you can’t be eating it while watching. Image Credit: CJ Entertainment.

The film finds comedy in the absurd situations they find themselves in, but also in the techniques used to create the film. Many of the more amusing moments in the film come from how it has been constructed, through the framing of scenes, jokes set up an hour ago, or how it has been edited together. It is little things like this that I love because it not only shows the craft of filmmaking but that the filmmakers took that extra effort and time to make sure everything hit its mark.

I should also mention that this is a very silly film at times, which is not to say that it is not taking itself seriously, but that it knows how to have fun. It is a film that will explore the depression of being stuck in your job with little hope of advancement as others jump up the ladder around you, but also a film that will use chicken sounds in its soundtrack because that’s how it roles. This creates an interesting juxtaposition where you can’t quite tell if the film is going to tip completely into the absurd or into the serious at a moment’s notice. I don’t know how they managed to walk that fine line, but they do it, and boy is it compelling.

Extreme Job (Geukhanjikeob, 극한직업). Image Credit: CJ Entertainment.
From the slapstick comedy, to the bad guy, every part of this film is a riot of laughs. Image Credit: CJ Entertainment.

In the end, do we recommend Extreme Job? Yes, yes, and yes. This is one of the funniest films that I have seen in a very long time. It is silly, without losing its humanity, fun, but still serious at times, and will make you want to immediately go and get some Korean fried chicken.         

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you watched Extreme Job?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
 

Trailer – Click Here to View (all trailers have heavy spoilers)
Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Extreme Job
Directed by
– Lee Byeong-heon
Written by – Bae Se-young
Music by – Kim Tae-seong
Cinematography by – Noh Seung-bo
Production/Distribution Companies – About Film, Haegrim Pictures, CJ Entertainment, JBG Pictures & Tangren Cultural Film Group.
Starring
– Ryu Seung-ryong, Lee Hanee, Lee Dong-hwi, Jin Seon-kyu, Gong Myung, Shin Ha-kyun, Oh Jung-se, Kim Eui-sung, Song Young-kyu, Heo Joon-suk, Kim Ji-young, Kim Jong-soo & Yang Hyun-min         
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG;

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