Another one from the SIFF:
Public Enemy (2002)
Director: Kang Woo-suk
A disgruntled rogue cop (played by Sol Kyung-gu) seems to be completely disenchanted with his job, making little or no effort to actually find and arrest criminals. Lee Seong-jae (of “Attack the Gas Station” fame) portrays a wealthy, cold-blooded fund manager who murders his parents. After a chance encounter between the two, the cop develops a personal vendetta against the murderer and spends all of his time trying to prove that he was the one responsible for the grisly murders.
This film has often been called a Korean “Dirty Harry”. I strongly disagree, as the only similarities are that Kyong-gu’s cop is a badass who refuses to play by the rules and has a boss who adamantly defends his chronic breaking of departmental policy. What really made this movie is the stark contrast between very serious and dark scenes (murders, suicide) and delightfully comic scenes. Some of the highlights for me were the interrogation scenes between Kyong-gu and various thugs which featured much of the head-slapping often seen in Korean cinema. Seong-jae plays his role very well, often reminding me of Ben Ng’s psycho in “Red to Kill”, albeit with no apparent emotions other than rage and no remorse for his actions. The various murder scenes are done very well and played completely straight as opposed to the other wildly comedic scenes. In my opinion this is a must see for fans of Korean comedies and crime films alike, don’t miss it.
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