By Kim Tae-jong
The new film "Mapado 2
" is a sequel to a 2005 comedy, a story about a strange island where only a bunch of old grandmothers live.
The original was an unexpected hit, selling over 3 million tickets nationwide _ a huge success, especially given its low production budget of $3 million and its lack of big stars.
However, compared to the original, the sequel may be seen as a lazy and boring voyage to the same destination.
Most crewmembers from the original are on board for the sequel with only a few new members hired, including the director, Lee Sang-hoon
But despite a few efforts to differ from the original, the film promises a safe journey with the familiar jokes and humor, which are, however, funny and enjoyable.
In the film, former detective Chung-su (played by Lee Moon-shik
) takes a secret mission from a dying president of a big company. The businessman wants to see his first love before he dies.
The only information the detective has is that the man's first love's name is Kkotnim and she now lives on an island called Tongbaek, off one of the country's southern ports.
He rides on a private boat to the island with an anonymous passenger, dreaming of the big bucks he will get when he completes his mission.
But the boat is wrecked in a fierce storm, and Chung-su and the passenger find themselves lying on the shore of a strange island.
In the struggle to escape from the island, Chung-su meets up with the same five strong-willed grandmothers who had given him trouble two years ago in the original, and he realizes that he is back on Mapado Island.
Later, he finds out that the island used to be called Tongbaek, which leads him to think that one of the five grandmothers must be Kkotnim. Now he begins to investigate the grandmas' past love stories.
The film can be divided into two main parts.
The first half is devoted to all the hustle and bustle as Chung-su struggles to deal with the quirky grandmothers. Chung-su thinks he is smarter; but the women always outfox him. As a result, their interaction produces slapstick jokes, just as in the original.
He loses in a gambling board game and may have to work for them for years to pay them back. He falls off a roof, and his face is burned from hot rice. He can't avoid being exploited by them.
The second half is about the past of each of the tough and wrinkled grandmas.
Chung-su gets on with the investigation of their past loves, and they reveal their past and secret love stories. The telling of their tales is delivered in the form of comic parodies of popular films such as "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
" and "Untold Scandal
In the revelations, you can see the real past of veteran actresses _ Yeo Woon-kye
, Kim Soo-mi
, Kim Eul-dong
, Kim Hyung-ja
and Kim Hae-yeon
with newcomer Kim Ji-young
Overall, the film may not have the cutting-edge humor or well-developed story of the original, but its old fashioned jokes still work. The cast knows how to produce laughter with the minimum of ingredients.