My second movie on Day 3 of the Fantasia International Film Festival was the Quebec Premiere of the South Korean crime thriller “Akinjeon” (literally “Villain Story”) aka The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil. The film opened in South Korean theaters on May 15th and was screened out of competition in the Midnight Screenings section at Cannes on May 22nd. It then played in a handful of US theaters in June.
The film was written and directed by Lee Won-tae. It stars Ma Dong-seok aka Don Lee, Kim Moo-yul and Kim Sung-kyu.
Here’s what The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil is about (copied from the Fantasia website):
“A mysterious wave of murder strikes the city of Cheonan. Tae-suk, a brutal policeman wreaking havoc on organized crime, is the only one convinced that this is the work of a serial killer, but his superiors remains deaf to his suspicions because of the randomness of the homicides. One evening, the gangster Dong-soo is attacked and left for dead, which accelerates Tae-suk’s efforts to obtain glory by collaring the murderer, nicknamed K. It becomes imperative for the intimidating gang leader, who’s up to his neck in a turf war, to restore his credibility by finding and punishing his aggressor. Thus, an unusual association is forged between cop and crook in the form of a twisted bet. They will share their respective resources, legal for one and not-so-much for the other, in order to get their hands on the killer. The one who succeeds first will be able to do what he wants. However, K has no intention of being captured and intends to increase the cruelty of his actions, to taunt his new opponents…”
The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil is an excellent example of why I love Korean crime thrillers. The story was captivating, the characters were interesting, and the action was entertaining. It also shows a great deal of brutal physicality, several stabbings, and even has great humoristic moments. I really had a great time!
Of course, the cast is top notch to help carry the film. It starts with the most recognizable face of them, Don Lee, which you probably discovered in Train to Busan in 2016 (he will apparently have a role in the future MCU film The Eternals). He plays the gangster beautifully by being both likable and menacing. The rest of the cast does a great job too.
The print we saw tonight was provided by US distributor Well Go USA Entertainment. I assume they will release a Blu-ray and make the movie available digitally in the coming months.
Additionally, it was reported back in May that Sylvester Stallone will produce a remake of the film with Don Lee reprising his role of the gangster.
I am giving The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil a 4 out of 5 Hairpieces!
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