Plenty of idioms come to mind with this handsomely suave and sinister film from South Korea. The Gangster, The Cop and The Devil (also known as Ak-in-jeon) is a mix of a crime and thriller genre, and it’s hard boiled enough to have me guess who is worse. We have Tae-suk (Kim Moon-yul), a brutal policeman going vigilante on organized crime, Dong-soo (Dong-seok Ma), a gangster who could probably put musician Psy to shame for his sense of style, and K (Kim Sung-kyu) the serial killer who made the mistake of targeting Dong-soo. When this Al Capone wannabe’s reputation is tarnished, he has to do what’s right, and the film is a twisted cat-and-mouse game where no matter who gets whose desserts, the bloody outcome is going to be more than cherry red.
Cop and thief gang up, for lack of a better term, to go after the killer. The action is intense, and the film is all fortune for lots of glory! Plenty of action takes place in the streets, and the wry black humour is sharp. Even though the slow moments drag out the film, the wait for the next bloody conflict makes up for it.
Lee Won-tae wrote and directed a very intense work which had me glued for part of the film. It’s dialogue heavy in a few parts but when we get to the brutality of man versus man (or in this case, who is truly the black goat of the woods), I feel of all the words to describe this film in a nutshell is better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.
Just be sure to leave the kids at home. This film is not for the light-hearted to go see. Lee truly steals the movie. He’s best known for the zombie-flick Train to Busan, and to see him turn Gangnam style is simply a stroke of genius in the director and costumer’s part.
The fact an American remake is coming courtesy of Sylvester Stallone and the fact Don Lee reprising his role says why this film is hot. Normally I do not care for films going for the gold twice, but this film has something for thrill seekers to like. The fact Well GO USA has this film out in theatres instead of straight to video says a lot their confidence with this work. I’m fairly sure it will hit even more film festivals before the Americanized version gets a shot.
4 Stars out of 5