LUCK KEY (2016) – Korean Film Review

Luck Key is one of those adorable, entertaining movies about identity and assumptions. The plot is simple – two very different men swap identities. One is faltering in life, the other is successful. How will they both fair when their circumstances are reversed?

Surprisingly, the answer is… exactly the same.  I say this is surprising because it subverts the usual trope of identity swapping. These sort of stories usually go like this… “Rich Man” is forced to live the life of poverty and learns valuable lessons about kindness and making genuine connections with people not based on monetary value. The “Poor Man,” by contrast, brings humanity and insight into positive working relationships with others to the cold, calculating world of wealth. Both learn the challenges the other faces and become better for it.

This is not the standard identity swapping story. Instead – it’s a humorous tale of two men whose personalities prevail despite circumstances. The hard working hit man and the train wreck youth.

Lee Joon was perfect as the lovable screw up. But the real stand out performance was that of Yu Hae-Jin, who played the contract killer with memory loss. I’ve seen him lurking around in other films, notably The Pirates, but this film proves he’s leading man material. His face is a goldmine of expression and clearly he’s well suited to action. He had real chemistry with the young Jo Yoon-Hee, who played the paramedic that got pulled into the plotline by the kindness of her heart. Their relationship developed naturally and had me grinning like a school girl.

I was pleasantly (and repeatedly) surprised by the directions of the storyline in this film. Every character was fully developed and quickly won me over with their sincerity – despite of and sometimes because of their flaws. Their relationships with others showed us who these men really were and what they valued. And I found myself apologetically rooting for them both.

It’s full of great action sequences, romantic wooing, hysterical behind the scenes shenanigans in television production, ever increasing suspense and mystery, and best of all… tons of humor. I laughed out loud more than once.

The production scenes on the set of the tv show, in particular, were priceless. The portrayal of the A-List actor, the needy bit part actor, and the rambunctious director were classic and great examples of how much you can do with side stories.

Do yourself a favor and watch Luck Key. Watch it on date night. Watch it with the family. Watch it alone. It’s got something for everyone.

Was 2016 just the golden year of Korean Cinema, or what?

As an added bonus – this video is distributed, like most Korean movies, by Showbox… which makes me giggle every time they say “Shoe Box!” I know, I know, I’m ridiculous and juvenile… but I swear I laugh every single time.


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