Jackal is Coming is a very mixed movie of positives and negatives - a few good points, funny moments and quirks but, on the whole, spoiled a little too much by the flaws in the writing.
(Note: The subman English softsubs are very inaccurate. Do not recommend using them. People wishing to find a decently English-subbed streaming version can message me on Tumblr as non-Anon or DM me on Twitter)
Warning: Major spoilers (image heavy & long)
I am growing increasingly annoyed that Song Jihyo is constantly being shafted into the 'unattractive lady' role, the same way she is on Running Man.
Would it kill the show to make her a bit more attractive, especially since her being unattractive doesn't really accomplish anything plot-wise? I know she's supposed to be 'clumsy' and 'incompetent', but wouldn't it be funnier to have a sleek, awesome-looking assassin who ends up being an utter fail?
See?? SHE CAN BE GORGEOUS. what was the point of the wig ._.
Jihyo's portrayal of the assassin Minjung (I don't think her name was ever said during the movie tbh) was fairly natural and not annoyingly over-the-top, though some moments of 'incompetence' looked ridiculously contrived like her lunging for the sasaeng and falling on her face.
It was really hard to get a read on her character's motivations.
Was her story about Choi Hyun's song being a 'special' song to her true? Did that have any effect on her carrying out the mission? Was she genuinely a fan? Was she working for Sunying or for the rich director guy (I think it was the latter, judging by the ending but it looked like she and Sunying were friends or that she at least cared about Sunying's opinions? or something?)
What made her go from poor girl to serial killer??? How did she get trained?
Why did she have to act incompetent at all times, especially when Choi Hyun's manager realised what was happening and threatened to derail her mission? If it was to protect her identity, why did Choi Hyun seem to know in the end anyway?
Literally the only few somewhat flattering screenshots I could find of her.
Jaejoong: in there for 1 part plot and 5 parts fanservice.
To be fair, he definitely went all out in the stunt and comedic acting, though he was sort of restricted in his capacity by the gag and restraints, so his facial expressions largely ranged from 'gross sobbing' to 'expression of shock'.
The phone unlocking part was an inspired moment of the movie
A lot of the movie depended on the Jihyo/Jaejoong dynamic. The relationship was slow to start off with and the chemistry between them was a little bit too casual/comfortable for an ASSASSIN AND HER TARGET, but the hesitant camaraderie that developed between them was fairly believable.
Then the 'I WILL PROTECT YOU' process, the kiss and stuff about hiring Jihyo at the end suddenly came barreling from the left field and left me going WTF.
Many of the emotional arcs felt very unresolved or simply incomplete.
Minjung's I've already talked about above.
Choi Hyun's emotional arc should have been a straightforward, if cliche one - famous jerk star transformed by the kidnapping experience, but the movie faltered there too.
He'd been 'saved' from a life of karaoke lounge singing by Sunying, wrote his first awesome song 'Healing for Myself' for her and then changed as he became famous (was what Jihyo's character believed).
Then Choi Hyun revealed it was Sunying who had changed, not him, and he left because she was 'becoming more distant with him'.
So...why was he a jerk to his managers and staff? Why was he having an affair with Angela? Why didn't he just tell her 'hey, I was kidnapped and threatened with murder before you came in' and explain the situation instead of letting her get killed?
What made him decide to hire Minjung at the end??? How did he find out she was the Jackal? (or did he?) Did he change at all? SO MANY QUESTIONS.
The parallel detective storyline barely interacted with the two leads, and really didn't hold my interest as much as it should have.
It moved at an excessively leisurely pace and it seemed ridiculous that an operation to catch a serial killer like Jackal would rely on only 3 people to monitor and search a hotel.
The main leader of the detectives was unbelievably non-assertive and the flowery local police guy wasn't really...that interesting. Again, they were fairly incompetent and there were a lot of 'funny' moments that came across as stupidity.
I did love the hilarity of Choi Hyun's restraints being interpreted as some sort of BDSM fetish (but he should have kicked or flailed or anything other than stared at them and made weird sounds...again, common sense sacrificed for the sake of dragging out the plotline).
The female police officer was really grating in her deadpan apathy - I thought she would turn out to be super competent and badass but she ended up just being a sidekick who conveniently spotted things and defended her chief...
The hotel guy was hilariously obnoxious and insufferable. He at least injected some sleazy humour into the proceedings, but yeah...slimy...not very pleasant to watch.
The hotel ajumma was pretty awesome, bossing around the other two straight-faced detectives. I wish there had been more of her.
This was a genuinely disturbing part of the movie (THAT PIG MASK ARGGHHHHH)
The movie passed it off as an almost regular occurrence, but it really is a serious issue in real life, where both sides are victims and in need of help. To her credit, the sasaeng actress acted superbly.
Also, there are a lot of people who just want to murder Choi Hyun? There was a lot of killing in this movie - I'm not sure if comedy was the best genre, to be honest.
The ending was confusing. Was Jackal working for the rich director after all? Why did fake!Jackal want to kill her? You do not want to leave your audience with all these questions.
There were some nice moments of cinematography though.
Overall, Jackal is Coming is an average movie at best. Some good moments hidden among the average-ness...it'll depend on how willing you are to sit through the more frustrating bits for them.
I'm sure that won't deter Jaejoong fangirls from flocking to it for the eye candy, but people hoping to see a gorgeous Song Jihyo like she was in the movie poster might be more than a little disappointed.