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OK for a starters my girlfriend hates subtitled films. One week i spent my paycheck buying all the tartan extreme collection. The best decision i have ever made. talk about value for money. From versus, to the bride with white hair, to the ramones and public enemy. The film has everything black hunour, comic scenes, a psycho killer, and one of the most unusual cops since briggs in lethal weapon, a pure loner who develops a conscience while the movie progresses. The movie trailer really made me want to watch this. As i said my girlfriend hates subtitles film but she loved this a must for all thriller and black humour fans. A little long at two hours but highly enjoyable.
Simple story here, a cop chases down a psychotic serial killer. He is the only one who believes that this respected, wealthy, family man is the serial killer, and so must bring about some under-handed methods whilst keeping the politicians off his back. What the film lacks in story it makes up for in complex relations and psychological warfare. A stroke of genius coming about once Gyu-Hwan (the killer) kills a man not related to the murder of his parents, just to tease Chul-Jung (the cop). The film begins by letting us get to know the two characters, Chul-Jung's partner shoots himself leaving Chul-Jung to be the focus of an internal investigation, while he also tries to get rid of some heroin. Gyu-Hwan is introduced ferociously masturbating in the shower, before exiting the bathroom and greeting his son. The film, like a few Korean police thrillers ('Memories of Murder', 'Nowhere to Hide') has a fantastic sense of humour to counteract the shocking scenes of violence. One scene has Chul-Jung on a stakeout, running round the streets in the rain trying to find a place to take a dump. The film can be looked at as a commentary on social status, as the cop has a bad reputation, and is tainted as he tries to do the right thing. The psychopathic serial killer, is highly respected, possibly because of his wealth. The murder scenes are at times chilling, while the fight scenes are brutal and never unbelievable (apart from a hilarious encounter in a shop between Chul-Jung and a large number of gangsters). An interesting array of supporting characters, fill in any holes that this film leaves through lack of originality, the chief of homicide, and a knife expert being among my favourites. The film seems needlessly long in places, and since we as the audience know who the killer is the investigation can get frustrating, although this may be used to reflect the anger of Chul-Jung and nobody believing him. Speaking of Chul-Jung it is very, very hard to get to like him as he is a bit of a low-life and this is a shame as it becomes hard to be brought into his world. By the end however he sort of redeems himself. The performances are wonderful from the two leads, and rather than trying to upstage each other, like good actors they play off each other and seem to be enjoying it when their character has the upper hand. It's a film that is comfortable being what it is, never wanting to push the boundaries, but offering a brilliant, tense and funny cat and mouse thriller.
Gonggongui Jeog (or Public Enemy) is simply one of the most entertaining
films I've seen in ages. Nothing particularly new in terms of theme
(wild-cannon cop chasing serial killer), but in terms of execution and
ENJOYMENT, there's no doubting this films worth.
Great characters, performances, direction, scenes, dialogue... I could go on.
If you like rough cop action (oo-er) which ooze black humour this is for you.
Loved it. 9/10
At first I wasn't sure what kind of film this was: cop film, murder
mystery, comedy? The black humour throughout is peppered with lots of
swearing and some gruesome killing scenes.
What's different about this film is the cast - the main cop Kang Cheol-Jung, his boss, and others are all eccentrics in their own right. There aren't many jokes or slapstick, but the characters themselves make you laugh.
Unlike other murder mysteries where the investigator solves the case with clues and evidence, Kang Cheol-Jung (the main cop) pursues this case because of his instinct. He has no doubt the suspect is guilty (somehow), despite the lack of evidence.
As for being quirky - there are a few scenes in this film which make you wonder "why did they include this"? One such scene involves the main villain/suspect in the movie. His character is played so well you actually start to hate the guy as the film progresses. "What a jerk!" you think. At that point you understand (perhaps) why the first scene portrays him as it does. ;-) You'll understand once you've seen the film.
This film is quite unique, unlike any others I've seen. Highly recommended.
Director Kang Woo-suk dresses up his diatribes about the social ills of modern Korea in the well- worn finery of the cop-vs-serial-killer thriller so beloved by Hollywood. Disheveled cop Sol Kyung-gu, unrepentantly violent and perpetually on the take--because, let's face it, that's just how thing's get done in Korea--relentlessly pursues a dapper, smarmy financial whiz (Lee Sung- jae, who he believes killed his parents over his father's decision to remove a large chunk of money from a big investment deal in order to save an orphanage from the bulldozers. There's no doubt Lee is guilty of the crime--we see the act in all it's squishy glory, and he further confounds the investigators by randomly killing a hapless stranger to make all the murders appear to be the work of a serial killer, but Sol knows better, and will use every dirty trick at his disposal to put this doggy down. The real target of director Kang's venomous social criticism is quite obviously the soulless corporate culture he seems convinced has poisoned Korean society and subverted traditional family values far more than corrupt law enforcement ever could, and which he views as a wellspring of self-obsessed Armani-clad sociopaths who would slit their own mothers' throats to score a big ROI, only here the metaphor isn't actually a metaphor, it's the central plot device! (I'm guessing he read "American Psycho" or at least saw the movie; certainly Lee's icy villain would make an ideal overseas pen-pal for Bret Easton Ellis' Patrick Bateman). As in TWO COPS 1 and 2, the director sides squarely with the overworked, underpaid cops, and he lovingly (and humorously) illustrates the complex, even necessary web of corruption and deception they must weave in order to maintain the status quo.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Chul-joong is a cop on the edge: under suspicion of corruption,
continually reprimanded for under-hand and over-zealous tactics and
frankly very difficult to get on with, he's also saddled with a young
family to which he is the sole parent (his wife died), and his partner
has just blown his brains out when I.A. move in to investigate some of
their dodgy cases. Chul-joong is a wild-card: a former boxer, he likes
to beat up, slap and humiliate all those who are unlucky enough to
cross him, or just cross his path. AND he's just got a new superior who
won't take any nonsense or dirty-dealing from his troop, and also likes
to punch those who deviate from his view of policemen. Oh, and he's
having difficulty moving a cache of drugs he's pilfered, but he badly
needs to because his finances are screwed. His life's a bit of a
Just when you think things couldn't get any worse, he has a nasty, night-time confrontation with a madman. When Chul-joong jumps out of a police van in the pouring rain, desperately searching for a place to take a dump, he bumps into dark assassin who slashes his face. Miffed, Chul-joong resolves to catch the SOB and make him pay. But that's easier said than done. I don't think this is really a spoiler, but if you want to approach the movie with much knowledge of the plot, stop reading here. It's made clear very early on who the assailant was: Cho Gyoo-hwan, an ostensibly sensible, affluent and domesticated businessman with a family and steady job - plus a big bank-balance and cushy life. And when Gyoo-hwan sliced Chul-joong, he did so just after having murdered his parents, in a rage after they threatened to withdraw some funding. Gyoo-hwan may look straight, but in reality he's a shifty degenerate, jerking off in the shower as he fantasises over kinky sex, and re-visiting the site of his monstrous parricide to gloat over his mum and dad's rotting corpses. Imagine Patrick Batemen from American Psycho, but with a family.
And thus Chul-joong and Gyoo-hwan, two unstable, violent men, go tête-à-tête, the former quickly convinced of the latter's guilt when the investigation gets going, yet lacking any hard evidence.
This Korean blockbuster was shipped abroad with great credo: a big money haul, some top stars, an established director, exciting, gory material and a great, in-you-face trailer. All of which should fit it quite nicely in the Asia Extreme category. But for all the beating, running, fighting and shouty dialogue, it's actually quite dull.
There are some strong elements. For one, it has several cohesive, continuous themes, such as a blackly-comic meditation on the class divide that pits slovenly cop against suited-businessman, and a gruesomely compelling odour: the film has stench. The film-makers continually emphasise smell: Chul-joong sweats a great deal, there's a gag when a murder weapon is tainted with excrement, the rotting bodies; all thrown into the cauldron that is Seoul in summer. This is a policier with foul BO - an original idea. There's also a tough view on the Korean economy, and thought-provoking contemplations on the role of police, and the nature of the thin blue line: when can you cross it ensure that justice is meted out? Throw in some knock-about comedy, a great rogue's gallery of cops and robbers, some frenetic, brutal fights and much head-banging, and you'd reckon you've got a great, noirish entertainment. Sadly, not quite so.
Director Woo-sook Kang's film all suffer from excessive length and at 140 minutes, Public Enemy just outstays its welcome; there's too much yelling and debate that cuts up the main story arch. Thus the climactic duel, when it comes, is overdue and even though brutal and stupidly bloody, not enough to compensate for the previous tracts of boredom. Equally disappointing is the lack of visual flair. The film has some great, textured 'scope photography, and a compelling use of ordinary locations that root the story in some kind of reality, but one the whole its too restricted to rather boringly lit offices and homes.
That said, the lead performances have a manic integrity. Kyung-gu Sol is the lead and stand-out: piling on the pounds, moustached and sweating like a pig, he's virtually unrecognisable. It's his performance and the antagonism with his rich rival that is the real motor of the movie - it's just a shame there's so much material to distract and detract from that.
It's still a sometimes amazing, brutish ride, and far more aggressive and dynamic than your regular Hollywood crime films. It's also worth seeing for the line: "No one should kill somebody for no reason." You said it!
During a stakeout a corrupt cop, under investigation by Internal Affairs,
has his face slashed by a mysterious character wearing a raincoat. A
connection is made between a brutally murdered elderly couple not far away
from the previous incident and this rain coated man. The cop believes the
couple's son might have involved in the murder and decides to investigate
So you have here two characters in supposedly respectable occupations (one a cop, the other a fund manager) who ain't angels. This is more obvious in the cop's physical appearance, his drug dealing and his sharing a hot bath with Korean sort of yakuza, even though the introduction of the manager character played by Lee Sung-jae (a familiar face now in the West starring in films such as Attack the Gas Station, Barking Dogs Never Bite & Art Museum by the Zoo) is quite revealing too. Masturbating and swearing in the shower in an interesting shot that completely isolates him, then we see him sharing a breakfast and playing with his wife and son in the warmth of a comfortable house. I have to say that the first 20 minutes of the film are rather interesting because the character's ambiguity still play an important role. Then all falls apart simply because of the cop's sort of rediscovery of his duty after seeing the dead bodies of the elderly couple (or is it he is only jealous at the manager's lifestyle). It all becomes a bit of a farce that w e're supposed to take seriously as the film has to make serious compromises after such a bleak beginning. "Nobody does something like that to somebody's parent without any motive" he says "for me they are public enemies". I hate to judge films by comparing them to others but Public Enemy has a too much of a Dirty Harry influence (this really put me off), a too cliché supportive boss, who is got to deal with the more bureacratic and politically correct higher hierarchies of the police department, and a array of weird characters, all criminals, that helps the cop to catch his so-called Public Enemy. The cop's trademark speech when confronting criminals really got on my nerves and not many in the audience found it funny anyway.
The good thing is about the bad guy in the movie... the text on the DVD
box told about a corrupt cop vs. a psychopath... Well, I feared the
psychopath was a serial killer with all the nauseating, fetishist
rituals stuff "a la" Seven or other movies alike. But the killer is
almost a normal guy (as much as a killer can be a "normal guy"!),
killing with a purpose... Well, the guy is seriously crazy anyway,
killing for very trivial motives, such as a man spilling his drink on
The bad thing in the movie is a kind of a scatological scene. It may seem trivial for some people, but for me, it wasted my enjoyment. Apart from that and 2 or 3 bloody sequences this is a very good movies.
The movie is a cross between "American Psycho" and "Infernal Affairs". It just doesn't do it in terms of quality of the scenario, or probably the way some actors play. Only the psycho was halfway decent. It could have been better if some of the actors just avoided to show they were acting by overdoing it, like the comical moments or some dramatic ones. The story would be good, but there were little things that prevented me to appreciate it. The ending should have stopped when the villain is done and dealt with, but there was an addition, which annoyed me. I saw similarities with the other Korean movie ("The Host"), in that I can't decide whether I should be happy or sad about the character, if not the movie.
There is no denying that it is good to see this film released in the uk around the summer blockbuster season (i saw this film in a ugc multiplex which was playing as part of a season of asian films released across the summer), but this film in particular suffers from flaws, mainly a plot that is unoriginal and scenes and situations that dont seem to stick together, the change in mood for instance, from almost slapstick comic to dark murder thriller, but that is not to say that the film is not good, there are many scenes and themes that work well, such as the contrast between the tough maverick cop and the arrogant and psychotic fund manager who has shades of AMERICAN PSYCHO'S Patrick Bateman, and the use of dark humour which seems to be present in many of the recent asian cinema releases. Overall a film worth checking out but not one to keep your hopes up high for.
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