Public Enemy Review

Public Enemy
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.

by William Thomas |
Published on
Release Date:

25 Jul 2003

Running Time:

138 minutes



Original Title:

Public Enemy

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.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us