Leads of 'Confidential Assignment' are back for more action, with some new faces

From left, actors Yoo Hai-jin, director Lee Suk-hoon, Im Yoon-ah, Hyun Bin and Jin Seon-kyu pose for a photo at a local press event in the Conrad Seoul in Yeouido, western Seoul, on Tuesday. [NEWS1]

The leads of the action film “Confidential Assignment” (2017) — newly-married Hyun Bin, Yoo Hai-jin and Im Yoon-ah — are back in the much-anticipated sequel “Confidential Assignment 2: International,” slated to premiere in local theaters on Sept. 7.

The 2017 film, directed by Kim Sung-hoon, was much beloved by local audiences, reaping over 7.8 million tickets thanks to the chemistry between Hyun Bin and Yoo, who portrayed Im Cheol-ryung, a police detective from North Korea’s special investigation team and Kang Jin-tae, a police detective from South Korea. The cop duo, despite their differences, gradually forge a friendship as they work toward the goal of catching a North Korean criminal who’s fled to South Korea. Im portrayed Park Min-young, Jin-tae’s sister-in-law who developed a crush on handsome Cheol-ryung.

Scenes from the film. Hyun Bin and Yoo Hai-jin reprise their roles as North Korean and South Korean detective Cheol-ryung and Jin-tae in "Confidential Assignment 2: International." [CJ ENM]

In the sequel, the duo’s confidential assignment has been expanded to a global scale. The pair are joined by Daniel Henney who plays Jack, an FBI agent. Together they must catch Jang Myung-jun, the leader of a North Korean crime cartel. Myung-jun is portrayed by Jin Seon-kyu.

Hyun Bin, who tied the knot with his co-star Son Ye-jin of the global-hit tvN drama series “Crash Landing on You” (2019-20) this March and announced in June that the couple is expecting a baby, returns to the screen for the first time since “Crash Landing on You.”

Hyun Bin says that the biggest difference in his character in the sequel was that Cheol-ryung became more relaxed, as it is no longer his first time working in South Korea.

“Cheol-ryung has grown more used to working with Jin-tae,” he explained. “He’s seen and gotten to know Jin-tae’s family as well, and I believe that he grew more composed through accumulating his own personal experiences [as a cop back in North Korea]. He is [definitely] more bright and relaxed compared to the prior film, when he was more dark and set on revenge because it hadn’t been long since he lost his wife.”

Daniel Henney is the newly-joining member of the mission as Jack the FBI agent. [CJ ENM]

Yoo said that his role in the trio was as a mediator.

“The three detectives have very clear, but different goals they want to achieve through this mission,” Yoo said. “Because the personalities of Cheol-ryung and Jin-tae are so strong, Jin-tae’s role falls to mediating.”

Im, who was beloved in the prior film for her comedic chemistry with Jin-tae and Cheol-ryung, becomes more actively engaged in the assignment as she goes undercover with Cheol-ryung. Min-young, who was unemployed in the 2017 film, becomes a beauty YouTuber.

“The biggest difference in Min-young is that she finally gets a job,” Im said. “Another difference is the love triangle that she forms between herself, Cheol-ryung and Jack.”

Im Yoon-ah's role as Min-young has been expanded as she helps the trio capture the criminal. [CJ ENM]

According to director Lee Suk-hoon, the cinematic universe of “Confidential Assignment” has the potential to continue to expand in the future.

“When the trailer for the sequel was released some time ago, a lot of the comments that I read on YouTube or social media said that the audience was happy to see the actors reprise their characters. I believe that the most critical element in a film turning into a film series is how beloved the characters are. If ‘Confidential Assignment 2’ reaps commercial success, I believe that it can become the drive for a third film, although nothing has been specifically discussed yet.”