VOD film review: The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil
Roxy Simons | On 25, Nov 2019Reading time: 2 mins
Director: Lee Won-tae
Cast: Ma Dong-seok, Kim Moo-yeol, Kim Sung-kyu.
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In the dead of night, a white car cruises the neon-lit streets of Seoul, bathed in an ominous glow. The hidden figure inside carefully watches people walking drunkenly home. Deciding on who will be his next victim, his choice is made when he speeds up to hit another car from behind, both vehicles screeching to a halt. The unsuspecting driver steps out to inspect the damage, demanding the man clad in black gives him his insurance details. “There’s no need to take photos,” he claims, as the other driver turns around, before stabbing him repeatedly and leaving him for dead.
With even more victims left in this cold-hearted man’s wake, it’s going to take a special kind of person to catch him and bring him to justice. Enter Tae-seok (Kim Moo-yeol), a stoic, no-nonsense cop who is sure there is a link between the many unexplained deaths across the country. He’s determined to catch the mysterious killer (Kim Sung-kyu), no matter what it takes – and that, it turns out, means asking for help from ruthless gangster Jang Dong-soo (Ma Dong-seok). Having survived the killer’s blade, and seen his face, the mafioso is keen to get his revenge, while the cop wants to catch him with the law. Despite their conflicting objectives, the unlikely duo decide to work together to find the serial killer Kang Kyung-ho.
Ma Dong-seok can transform into characters with ease and his strong presence and stature makes him the perfect menacing gangster. He takes on the role with glee; his strength and power are evident the moment he strolls into a room or raises his fist against someone. Kim Moo-yeol, meanwhile, is the embodiment of a cool cop, with his hard-boiled stare and blunt attitude; although his character is not given much to work with, he delivers a strong performance. But it’s Kim Sung-kyu who is the stand-out character of the trio, as his transformation into the eponymous devil sees the actor adopt a dark persona and threatening smile that sends chills down your spine.
Debuting in Cannes Out of Competition programme, The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil is an intense, action-packed flick that hardly ever lets up, as Tae-seok and Dong-soo race against the clock to catch the killer. While based on true events, it’s hard to know how much was exaggerated for the silver screen. With the hard-hitting fight scenes and questionable morals, it’s almost a necessity to suspend your disbelief while watching the film, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining. With such an incredible cast it’s no wonder this film is a wild ride.