THE GANGSTER, THE COP, THE DEVIL (2019) Reviews and overview

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‘Don’t let the Devil win’
The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil is a 2019 South Korean action-thriller feature film about an unlikely alliance between a crime boss and a police detective as they attempt to catch a serial killer.

Written and directed by Lee Won-tae (Man of Will), the movie stars Ma Dong-seok [aka Don Lee] (Train to Busan), Kim Moo Yul and Kim Sung Kyu.

After barely surviving a violent attack by an elusive serial killer, crime boss Jang Dong-su (Don Lee) finds himself forming an unlikely partnership with local detective Jung Tae-seok (Kim Moo Yul) to catch the sadistic killer simply known as “K”.

“Yes, it’s car crashes and fight sequences and dry jokes, but it’s a mix that will make you wow, wince and guffaw in just the right amounts, all carried off with a gritty style. It may lull a little in the final act, but that’s just setting up one of the decade’s low-key finest payoffs.” Austin Chronicle

“It’s the stuff of countless films through the years, with two mismatched “partners” learning to work together, but with some nicely staged set pieces and an especially winning performance by Ma (who also goes by the westernized Don Lee), the film is unexpectedly engaging quite a bit of the time.”

“The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil is a film that could push harder and dig deeper […] But even without that fine-tuning, Lee delivers a thrilling crime actioner, bolstered by his eye for livening up the scene with pops of color, some brutal fight scenes, one very solid car chase, and another commanding performance from Ma.” Collider

“These days you can’t swing a stick without hitting several top-notch South Korean crime thrillers, but The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil is one that sits near the top of the heap in an already impressive batch of contemporaries. The high-quality visuals, frenetic action and killer premise make this well worth a look…” Film Pulse

” …another entry in what is becoming a stunningly long list of Korean thrillers that mesh action, intrigue, charismatic and strange characters, suspense, and visceral violence of the highest order. Oh, and by the way, the audience will erupt in a chorus of laughter a dozen times.” Goomba Stomp

“A wily mix of genres and spoof-edged amusements keep it playful and intermittently thrilling, even though this South Korean actioner sometimes feels like it’s losing its grip on a very good setup. So there’s room for improvement when Sylvester Stallone’s Balboa Productions remakes the film…” The Hollywood Reporter

” …it’s bad enough that the convoluted bureaucratic element sucks the life out of things between set pieces, the worst part of it is that it leaves “the devil” with nothing to do but skulk around and wait to get caught. Kim cuts a menacing presence in the role of K, but there’s nothing under his sharp homicidal scowl…” IndieWire

“South Korea has always demonstrated a clear comparative advantage when it comes to producing serial killer thrillers, but GCD takes the genre to new sinister heights. Lee Won-tae came up with the mother of all high concepts and his execution barrels forward with the energy of a runaway freight train.” Joe Bendel, J.B. Spins

“Amidst the typical investigative montages and Se7en inspired sprawling-yet-precise notebooks of a serial killer, Lee stages some impressive action as well. There’s at least two top-notch car chase sequences, and one on foot that takes us into the surprisingly tense environment of a karaoke parlour.” The Reel Bits

“Don Lee (Train to Busan) headlines this thoroughly engaging high-concept action thriller which, as the title suggests, brings together a gangster and cop to take down a sadistic serial killer. What it lacks in substance is compensated for by Lee’s entertaining performance, more than a little reminiscent of his macho roles in the enormously successful Train to Busan and The Outlaws.” Screen Daily

The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil was released in South Korea on May 15, 2019.

The movie was released on Blu-ray by Well Go USA Entertainment on October 1, 2019.

Technical details:
110 minutes

A Hollywood English language version, produced by Sylvester Stallone’s Balboa Productions, has already been announced, with Ma Dong-seok set to repeat his gangster role.


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