We're on a sort of hiatus this week; Sidey is harassing elves in Lapland, Howie is being meticulously examined by a physician, Peter is still a father to a newborn, Reegs has man-flu and Dan is old. But fear not, we bring you this rambling chat that Dan and Reegs had one night after watching the terrific Korean crime thriller THE GANGSTER, THE COP, THE DEVIL. Enjoy!
The Gangster The Cop The Devil
Dan: So this was the improtant impromptu Flomex session.
Reegs: Yeah, that was easy for you to say we watched Dan's recommendation. ,
Probably better known in English title is the gangster, the cop in the devil, it's a sort of Korean, Neo pulp thriller.
Dan: Yeah. It was, it was just something different that I'd watched. And I'd mentioned on our top fives It's free and available and BBCI player. So if you can get that if you're in the UK, then what a great movie, or just to completely go out of Hollywood cinema, you know, to to go into a different country. And I I'm really interested in that.
I'd love to be able to know. what, And if anybody else listening to this in, in Mexico, for example, or South Africa, or wherever it is Australia, Norway I'd love to know what movies are really good. There that I haven't heard of. So it'd be cool. If somebody could tell us,
Reegs: There's something about Korean cinema. It's been having a moment for a long time
Dan: It's been having a lot of moments for a long time,
Reegs: It's really permeated Western culture, and this is a, is a good one.
It's written and directed by a guy called one Ty Lee. And it's starring a guy called Don Lee, who you may remember from trained to be sad. He was kind of the heavy heavyset Korean guy who had a pregnant wife and he ends up sacrifices him sacrificing himself. That was a terrific Korean zombie movie.
This is a kind of gangster, serial killer mashup thing. It's set in the summer of 2005. And we open with a rear end. Well, w first of all, lull a rear-ender it, first of all, we get all these cool, like drone shots going through this Korean city and it's kind of blade runner S skits or
Dan: a little bit wasn't it.
That, that stylistic over the top look to it where it was a little bit cartoony or a little.
bit, I don't know, Not cartoony, but gritty There was something over the top about, it.
Reegs: we said kind of graphic novel type of static to
Dan: right. Yeah. And different colors, neon, different neons and things being used to, to light faces. and, and different shots. Yeah, really good. So we go through and hits the back of another car as they get out and investigate how bad the damage is.
Cause it's not a huge crash. We meet the the devil.
Reegs: We do.
Dan: Yeah. Yeah. And he's got a big knife with him and snug stabs this portrait to death
Reegs: Yes, it's quite a frenzied attack
Dan: right. straight into the film, you know, what again, and this soundtrack and this is good. Isn't it?
Reegs: Soundtrack is good. It's kinda moody. And it explores a few different genres. We get a kind of electro beats at some point and other times a more orchestral score. It's very dramatic during the killings.
Frenzied attack and it's filmed very inventively visually because you watch him take the guy into the car and he's just lit by the killer is just lit by the interior lighting of the car. And you can see flashes
Dan: pans round
Reegs: and the knife.
Dan: where The bloody hand is just trying to get out and reach out for something.
But of course he's Easter commons to the attack and that's it. You know, you get a few more title credits and, and. we Open up on a really day in traffic. where We begin to meet the cop.
Reegs: Yeah. June Ty suck. He's stuck in a traffic jam and he decides while he's in the traffic jam that he's going to go and bust up a local.
When I wasn't really sure
Dan: Yeah. They're like the local mafia, you know, the, the local mobsters. And they're teasing some Couples on the street and people walking by and things, and he's in this hot, hot day, hot traffic waiting to try to get
a murder case because he is a murder cop and he sees this and goes right. I'm just gonna go And bust some heads. so, I don't, you know, he's lost all his patients and he, he starts by sort of handing off in the face, a couple of these big guys and says, I'm a cop, what are you going to do about it? Marches
Reegs: ballsy. He barges into this place, slapping people out the way and just kind of being a bit like us. He's quite a big guy himself. You wouldn't fuck
Reegs: still this is dodgy territory.
Dan: So it goes down into all these. illegal. Fruit machines, like arcade machines that have, as we find out all wigged and run by the mafia to give less payouts and, and con people or their money and everything, all the engineers had done. And there's lots of turf war going on, but the
Reegs: he, he eventually gets he goes to the crime scene that we'd seen in the
Dan: eventually gets there, but before we've just met the, the gangster.
because he's Beating up this punchbag
Reegs: he say at that point,
Dan: Yeah. and he just kind of Goes on there. You know, that cop, that pesky cops back. So we know that and they do this cleverly in this film, they move the plot forward with sometimes it's just a line or two that would say that pesky cops back again. So it tells you that it's not the first time he seen him the way that his attitude is, I'll you again.
So we know there's a little bit of history already within that. And they do this as we mentioned a little bit later. on with a story with a knife.
Reegs: Yeah. There's a lot of fish,
Dan: there's a lot of stuff going on and on here that I think is clever direct and in clever cinematography and
Reegs: easy for you to say.
push the film forward.
Reegs: So the gangster boss is Don Lee, the guy from trying to be sound and he's beaten the shit out of this.
Punchbag but then they unzip the bottom of the punchbag in a body for out. It's really quite grim.
Dan: We get how kind of hardcore this guy is and meaning and because it's nothing to him. he's, you know, Partly punches guided deaf, and He's he's just going to go off and have some lunch.
Reegs: Meanwhile, detective has gone to the crime scene of the murder that we saw at the beginning.
And he's now kind of put this together with three other murders that he's noticed, and he believes it to be the work of a serial killer the same knife. He's got a lot of evidence to back up his assertion.
Dan: at. This is a hinge. Yeah.
Dan: that that is happening.
Reegs: In the meantime that turf war that you were talking about is really between Don Lee, the gangster and another gangster. Her who's kind of on the same level, they're both, they're sort of gentlemen in their own way between them despite being completely
Dan: crumble. Well, I think that the, the gangster had given her his, his first. step. And his first shop and said, look, go and go in. And he, he says, well, I'm getting a bit bigger. Well, he just said, I, you know, give you manage the, shop that I give you, you know? And and he, he suddenly had probably done really well in that and decided he wanted a bit.
Reegs: So he was kind of his mentor.
So I missed that
Dan: potentially. I think he was a little bit low and up and coming guy who had his own gang and his own people in everything. but
Reegs: Well, they show him to be a formidable physical force. And he, at this meeting between the two of them, he roughs up a couple of the underlings to show his authorities.
Like you expect him to piss on the floor and
Dan: Well, as does Jang because Jang, the gangster rips out two teeth of an underling to prove a point and then puts them in a shot glass and
the other guy
Dan: her drink it. Which he
Reegs: by her. You mean him
Dan: by her? I mean him exactly.
So for me, you know, he's got great energy. There's there's lines the punches, they hit the spot. There's, you know, the, it is over the top a little bit and you can see with the shoe in the budget of the film they were they've used. Locations more than once it at night and at day times to make it look a little bit differently. And I've watched this a couple of times.
now. So I noticed that this time when I was looking at it in a different way,
Reegs: it generally has the look of a film that is doing as much as it can with its budget. And it looks very stylish and it's really beautifully lit and it does some inventive stuff like the time lapse and that sort
the characters cause the police. Boss the cops boss, if you like, he's on the payroll of the gangster. So there's this dynamic and, and he's very the cop is
he's strong on, on his ethics. Like he sees all cops you know, gangsters the same. He wants them out as well as any murder as he wants, but he starts to change a little bit. as It becomes that the serial killer attacks, the gangster one, night just by sheer luck after this night,
Reegs: their gangster is rear-ended on the drive home from this meeting that he's had with her him, that is her.
He is rear-ended. And so obviously as the audience, we know exactly what's going to happen here, but also there's the feeling that this serial killer, who they haven't portrayed as being superhuman. Yes. Very aggressive, but not super human as suddenly, possibly bitten off more than he can chew because Don Lee Jong SU he is a big guy.
And although he gets a few stabs in early, they have a right old Rucker stone,
Dan: yeah. he's, He's he's taken by surprise a little bit, but at being a mafia kind of Don guy, he he's, he's ready for a punch in a fight.
Reegs: He stops him crucially in the, in the shoulder. And that does become important later, but the get, the devil gets away and he runs it
Dan: I only after getting in his car and, and running him over.
And we, we find out that two hour surgery manages to keep Junge alive.
Reegs: Who has been stabbed multiple times and he's in hospital now he's in the lushest looking hospital room I've ever seen.
Dan: Yeah. It's a sweet, isn't it? I mean, It's an absolute, beautiful hotel room more than a hospital.
Reegs: It's fantastic, he, he wants to get the guy himself.
Dan: Yeah. Oh yeah. He's he's absolutely.
cause the cop, what goes in there and he's bringing flowers and drinks and things, and saying, oh, you know, he wants the information. He's heard that he's just gone in he's been stabbed. He'd been potentially rear-ended, he's got his suspicions. He looks at the car. He gets that confirmed. And and you're absolutely right.
The, the bosses at the crime bosses already said, you know, this is the number plate. This is a picture of a sketch of the guy, that I've done.
Reegs: which was a scare, really good sketch. Like if I had to draw on it, like, oh, this is the guy, like he's got a face.
Dan: got it. Y okay. But no, he had, he had him down. And and so his boys, are there. that's all they're going to do. They're going to go and find this car.
They're going to go and find this guy. that's attack the boss. They've. already Started a fight with her straight away. And I mean, him because they thought this was a turf war thing. They just argued over a new agreement. And after that, the boss has been stabbed. So they've got their ass kicked by John's boys who straight away after the stabbing took it to me.
It's, it's one of the other gangs. It's not some random serial killer, but to his credit, he says, no, this is a lot colder. This was a lot more,
Reegs: well he understands
Dan: yeah, he understands violence and he knew this wasn't a gang related. one. This was something else, which is why eventually the cop and the gangsters start working together.
Strongly implied by the title, the gangster the cop and the
Dan: and the devil. They do this by sharing information. Of course. the gangster
Reegs: So the, the gangster has terrific manpower, much more manpower at his disposal than yeah.
Dan: the Two men that the cops can put on the
you know, th they go on a real look for him. They go door to door, don't they?
And they cover off blocks. It's a very organized affair. Yeah.
Dan: where they use the police maps and know how to do it. They've got forensic evidence from the car. that they've Managed to find in a few days time, they've also got the knife which was one of the points that are made about moving the, the plot on. So the knife falls out of a truck at one point and it falls at the side of the curb and the camera stays on the knife, which,
Reegs: and two or three days pass just in, in a blink of maybe five
Dan: see by the way that the, the time or the knife, if you like, which just takes a few,
Reegs: well, the blood drives on it
Dan: draws on a few leaves are over it and And you realize, oh, days have gone by. And and, and so, you know, they're a little more time is is come a long for them.
Reegs: Well, they're doing well. The gangsters, they find his car, they find his car, they know where he's been.
Dan: And yeah, they're, closing in
Reegs: and they find that on the knife, it's got the fingerprints of some of his previous
Dan: victims Yeah It's the Same knife he's used. So it's Also taken the opportunity to go then and stab her with that knife. They've got the murder, his knife, So they want to
Reegs: so he kills her.
Dan: Yeah. So he kills her over the turf war with the serial killer's knife and leaves it this time in the face of, her.
Reegs: And then it's hers funeral,
Dan: which bizarre this this bit was a little bit strange. They, we see the serial killer turn up at the funeral He's he's, it's a wait, they're all sat down Just having
Reegs: Well, he's angered by the news now because the media is going crazy about the serial killer. And he's angered by the idea now that his knife has been used to kill her.
Dan: Yeah, and, it
Reegs: and it wasn't him. And he's disgusted by this idea.
Dan: And At one point, pride spills out into him actually saying it, watching television in a restaurant, and one guy kind of looks over to him, all scared. I thought they were going to kill him off I've thought that guy was, he couldn't need to know, but he, just makes her a kind of sinister smile and laugh.
And the guy that plays this Guys Kim song que the serial killer. And I thought he was really good. He was he's just very quiet. He was, he wasn't one of those strong, massive you know, guys who was going to overtake people with power, but there was a quiet deranged kind of ferocity to him that that made him scary.
Reegs: Anime quality to him almost, you know, and it, because it's lit like that and obvious often from low angles and stuff, he's not like a huge, powerful guy, but he's angry and violent.
Dan: What did you think of the fight scenes?
Reegs: The fight scenes were good, largely. Yeah, very well. Visually communicated, you know, always establishing the geography of the scene. Not, not like Michael bay stuff where it's. Clear well staged fights. And because you made this point down, but it's, it's a, it's a decent point to bring up again that because Korea doesn't have necessarily a gun culture.
You get lots of hand to hand combat and knife fights and blunt objects and stuff. The film doesn't have loads and loads of fights in it. There's one key scene where the gangster and the cop are both fighting her's men.
Dan: Yeah, where they they've just caught around the car and there's a flood of about 20 guys come in
Reegs: and they're all dressed in sort of black and white suits.
Like they're sort of agent Smith from the, the matrix and they have a little rumble. It's a good little fight.
Dan: So th there's lots going on. Eventually there, as I say, that the fights bring out the best in the worst in, in the, in the cop and the gangster that at one stage, the cop actually kills one of the Bad guys in a fight and then he can't believe it. He doesn't want this guy to be dead. You know, he's it all up to now. It's been, people knocked out, broken, going to the hospital, but nobody had died. The gangster says, go on off with you. I'll deal with this. I kind of thought, well, he's got one up on him.
then isn't he? He's, He's got this knowledge that the cop has killed somebody and he goes and dumps that body under a big realist.
Casino that is being built And that also comes into the plot. because The gangster is losing his credibility around. He's been stabbed people. Aren't sure who's done it. And they're not investing into his casino again makes his decision to kill her and to reestablish his dominance and control
Reegs: More understandable. At least it, from his perspective. after the funeral. So they, they do at his funeral. I don't know whether we mentioned this, but the killer turns up at the
Dan: He turns up in a few leaves a note
Reegs: a note, which,
Dan: his pride is just taken too much of a, a hit that he's being blamed for this murder. So he leads note saying how was killed with my knife, but By someone else.
Reegs: Meanwhile, there's a sort of underdeveloped, really subplot sort of love plot between the cop and this
Dan: Yeah There, there wasn't any women in this film apart from her
Reegs: And her only, well, her only, the contribution really is at this point because she's the forensic
Dan: her, we don't mean him.
Reegs: No. We mean her this time, him Herve is dead long dead.
He's dead, her's dead. But she discovers that he's a missing person. So they start to get a bit more information about the person who might be the killer. We get this scene, I really think stretched credulity beyond the pale where the gangster is at a bus stop and it's raining and there's a kind of chirpy annoying school.
And he gives her his umbrella. And
Dan: But he said he puts out a cigarette. It gives her the umbrella. and you start thinking. he ain't So, so bad anymore, just as you thought that, you know, maybe he has got a heart and
Reegs: Well it's not just a heart, is it? There's been a lot of talk about moral codes and being a model citizen and that sort of thing.
That's been quite interesting. So she gets on the bus with his umbrella, which is quite distinctive. And as it pulled off, I almost didn't say this at the time, because I thought it was going to be racist, but I was like the south, the killer in the background. Then Dan looked at me as like, did you get that?
And I was like, oh yeah.
Dan: it was. Yeah.
Yeah. Cause it was it was a blink and you miss it moment? Easily to, not concentrate. on the, In the, in the back of the bus, where he was sad, but,
Reegs: rather contrived lead, it turns out that she ends up being killed and he, the gangster when they're all getting pissed with the cop as well, I think
Dan: right. Yeah.
They're, they're kind of a bonding moment between the gangsters and the cops, I'm having a drink and a meal not with any real success of having found that the killer at this point, but as it comes on the news, oh, sharp, Wait a minute, they recognize the umbrella, They know the bus route and everybody goes mad again and they start to close in then.
Reegs: Yeah. Well, no stone is unturned, both the police force and the gangsters all. Oh, well they do work together after a lot of fucking about and beating of each other and stuff. They do track him down and they just get in base. I mean, there's a huge car chase.
Dan: They say I wouldn't want give her too too much cause anybody wants.
To to to see this, but there's twists and turns in the, in the fact that eventually the, the serial killer is apprehended. There's there's a, there's a there's a race, there's, you know, a
Reegs: chance of a really good car chase
Dan: and he's apprehended, but then he, changes hands Yeah, as you mentioned earlier, yeah. he wants it.
He's got his own
Would this serial killer. If the gangster catches him, he isn't going for justice, The traditional route whereas The cop wants to take him and punish him by the law. So it takes a few twists and turns again. And, the, the prisoner changes hands quite dramatically for the last time. And eventually finds his way.
into a courtroom.
Reegs: Yeah. And in the courtroom, it really becomes clear.
They don't actually have any physical evidence to tie him to any of the crimes. So even though this serial killer guy has been a real prick and said a load of stuff in on the wind up in it, it, they haven't actually got anything to pin him on. So
Dan: We even put the timeline of the murders.
Reegs: like, oh, that one
Dan: he's toying with the police.
He's he seems Not to care for his own life, really, and just enjoys the game of winding everybody up. And
Reegs: but then we get presented with some events that we, that had followed on from previous scenes that we hadn't seen yet. And it was a conversation between the
Dan: the way that they did this a few times, they, they cut back into previous conversations. That meant what you were watching right then, and there started to make sense that as you were watching, it, like you'd already had that past as well. Because you asked
Reegs: over a scene of, of the gangster walking into the courtroom. Yeah.
Dan: And then you kind of asked the question, well, how the hell is it? Why is he doing that? And you go back into these conversations, where the gangster and the cop of have basically made a deal. And And you only find out the detail of the deal As
Reegs: as he's going on to
Dan: unfolds towards the the conclusion. Because right.
Reegs: are we not going to spoil it? Are we going to try
Dan: So are we going to try not to spoil it? We've We've done a lot of, it.
Reegs: yeah, but we have been light on some stuff.
Dan: There's a twist at the end. I would say. but not I mean,
Reegs: fuck it. No, we're just,
Dan: you're going to say it.
Reegs: well, so basically he, they agreed to pin the murder of her on him and by him this time, I mean the serial killer and in exchange for doing that Don Lee.
Don SU is the gangster is going to testify in court that he was stabbed by the guy and would then have evidence that would link him by the scars on his body
Dan: and the knowledge that he has
Reegs: that he has about the crime.
So he said he knew that the guy had been stabbed in the shoulder cause he'd done it earlier.
Dan: Of course, in the courtroom. They're trying to reduce his, the importance of his testimony because he's a crime boss himself. and.
they, they throw that out saying, well, this has nothing to do with, this crime. this is, this is a citizen, a model citizen.
Who's who's trying to
Reegs: quite a model citizen. Cause he's on his own rap for the gambling machines, which will give him a little bit of time inside which is.
A shame for him, except in the movies, closing scenes, where you see that he's been arranged to visit the same jail
Dan: That was part of the deal.
Why I'm going to jail.
I'm going to have to do time for the the gambling racket and everything put me in the same journalist, the serial killer. Who's awake. the sentence of death which is what he's got. So he does have justice in, in the fact through the law's eyes of the law that he has been sentenced. but He might not get to the the chair or however they execute people in South Korea.
You might not get that far because the gangster it comes into the shower. Doesn't he.
Reegs: And he had the sort of smile on his face that you don't really want to see from another man in the
Reegs: for all sorts of reasons, I
Dan: Yeah. Yeah. And for, once actually the, the serial killer, was just a flicker in his eye That suggested a little bit of fear. What might come rather than the the, the madness Been previous, in his eyes that he just didn't care? He was, he was reading a book on the, on the bench, and it kind of looked like, is it a Bible, Or, you know, cause there was mention of him being a devout Christian and everything earlier. So,
Reegs: I should imagine there's quite a lot in terms of symbolism and stuff.
This was really good. I mean, it does require a healthy suspension of disbelief for some of the plot events. Although it does say right at the beginning that it was based on a true story, given a simple favors
Dan: Yeah. It also
Reegs: don't know, but
Dan: I really liked the use of the neon and you pointed this out actually, because the, Th there was a green neon that was associated with.
The devil, and wherever you saw that, or the deeper you went into his inner sanctum and when they found his house and everything, There's neon green was everywhere up until then. You just got little tinges of it when you saw him when he was about, and it was a different color with a cop.
It was a different color with the, with the gangster.
So you just it very subtly it, put that in your mind.
Reegs: Yeah, this is
Dan: that was a clever way of, of just showing an extra. kind of side of feeling Really, of
Reegs: it does lots of that. It's got loads of interesting ideas visually. I said to Dan, while we were watching all this is right to be remade. And of course you've just found out it is
Dan: it is, well, we slice the loan is, is getting involved in a Remax, in his, a remake in his bell productions. So I I'd expect
Reegs: But Don Lee is reprising his role. So as the gangster, which is cool, really cool, which means I would have, I don't know that it's a cool role, a gangster. And it's multifaceted as well. So pick this one out, watch it now.
And you can be that cool hipster. Who's like, oh yeah, no, I watched the career
Dan: Yeah, this is, this is one is it's ready to go. I think there's another month. There's something left on, on the eye player. If you're in the UK, but it's worth hunting out wherever you are. think it's what hour, 40 minutes, something like that.
It's Pacey. It's got a few laughs. It, it, it generally enjoyable characters having good performances.
it's not a perfect film, but it's an entertaining one.