Public Enemy Review

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Kang Choel-gu is the corrupt maverick cop who is shaken up when he is attacked and connects it with the brutal murder of an elderly couple.


The maverick cop with a predilection for corruption and violence has become such a movie staple that it's difficult to uncover new angles without lapsing into caricature or excess.

Unless, of course, you combine both these shortcomings and turn them to your advantage, as Seol Gyeong-gu has done in this abrasive, but often hilarious South Korean crime story.

Anything that Seol's lumbering ex-boxer can do, cynical yuppie Lee Seong-jae can match, especially if it prevents him being arrested for the murder of the parents who dared to stand in the way of a career-making deal.

Director Kang Woo-seok makes evocative use of the urban settings and packs proceedings with punishing set-pieces, but the pace slackens occasionally and buffoonery sometimes slips into Seol's antics. However, the quirkier asides featuring his colleagues and criminal sidekicks keep things ticking nicely until the much-anticipated showdown.