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Review: ‘Extreme Job’ is a Korean comedy in the tradition of ‘Police Academy’

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A scene from the movie “Extreme Job.”
(CJ Entertainment)

Had the members of “Police Academy” ever gone on assignment to Seoul instead of Miami and Moscow, the result might have resembled “Extreme Job,” an agreeably goofy if under-plotted comedy caper by South Korean filmmaker Lee Byeong-heon.

After botching their latest mission, a team of gung-ho but ineffective young narcotics detectives led by the downtrodden Captain Ko (Ryu Seung-Yong) are given one more chance to come through on an undercover surveillance gig monitoring the activities of a notorious international drug gang.

But when their stakeout location, a rundown fried chicken joint, is about to close down, Ko and company decide to purchase the place as a cover, with the unintended consequence of it becoming a foodie hotspot when the rib marinade they hastily improvise for a sticky chicken order goes viral.

It’s all quite amusing up to a point, but unfortunately that point arrives early on in this practically two-hour-long take on a one-gag premise.

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Although writer-director Lee has a gift for snappy satirical banter and his energetic cast is up to the fast-paced task, he also has a weakness for slapstick action that does little to push the story forward.

All too soon, it becomes apparent that those secret herbs and spices should have been attached to something with a little more meat on its bones.

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‘Extreme Job’

In Korean and Mandarin with English subtitles

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Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 51 minutes

Playing: Starts Jan. 25, CGV Cinemas, Los Angeles; CGV Cinemas, Buena Park

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