DETECTIVE K Korean box-office smash Detective K, a genre mash-up of comedic buddy flick and tense detective thriller, is hugely enjoyable until it lays bare its Christian proselytizing, all cherry-on-topped with lots of Christian victimhood. The title character, played by Kim Myung-min, is a suave (even when bumbling) servant of King Jeong-jo, whose 16th-century court is riddled with corruption. When the detective is sent on a mission that seems a degrading waste of his talent — to investigate the virtue of an ordinary widow — he quickly becomes entangled in a maze of intrigue that circles back to the king's court. Armed with a dog-whispering sidekick, and blessed with the ability to scan a room and intuit pertinent events that have transpired in it, the detective soon is going up against an ice-cold villainess who's not quite what she seems, and a powerful politician with secrets of his own. Throw in some well-staged (though not especially mind-blowing) fight sequences and fine ensemble acting, and it's all good — at least until director Kim Suk-yoon becomes so heavy-handed in handling the issue of Christianity that the film winds up an infomercial for the religion, complete with syrupy strings playing on the soundtrack as poor believers are beaten by soldiers. (Ernest Hardy) (CGV Cinemas)

LA Weekly