Fantasia Film Festival: The Roundup (범죄도시2) Review

The Roundup

Although I have never seen The OutlawsThe Roundup is a film you can pick up easily without watching the previous movie. In reality, you don’t even need to see The Outlaws like these characters—their loveable personalities shine brightly. At the same time, the film is full of characters you’ll immediately like when they debut on screen. 

Chief among them is Don Lee, who time and time again reminds me that he’s like a modern-day Sammo Hung. He’s funny, big, agile, and hits like a ton of bricks—just like the legendary Chinese actor. The equally entertaining Gwi-hwa Choi also adds so much comic relief to the film as Detective Ma’s captain. However, the film wouldn’t work without the fierce and engaging performance by Sukku Son. Without his intimidating performance, The Roundup wouldn’t be as entertaining as it was.

Although The Roundup seems like a simple action-comedy, the ever-expanding conspiracy at the heart of The Roundup occasionally seems to expand too quickly for the narrative to handle. The relationships between all participants come together quickly, which doesn’t give audiences much time to engage with everyone. If you’re like me and haven’t seen The Outlaws, then every one of these characters will be new to you. The connections and rapport between the protagonists will be fresh to you.

While The Roundup is an entertaining action comedy that keeps things fresh due to its hilarious characters and exciting action.

Luckily, The Roundup includes stereotypical character types that you typically see in action comedies like Lethal WeaponRush Hour, or 21 Jump Street. The movie has all the character tropes like the sleazy con man affiliated with the main character, the rebel cop who always gets in trouble with his superiors, and the straight-edge cop who isn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty once in a while. So you’ll be able to effortlessly figure out the relationship between everyone. 

The emotional attachment, though, that’s something else entirely. Kang Hae-sang is a dangerous adversary for the brutish Detective Ma and his police squad. So when he attacks our protagonists, you don’t feel that sense of dread because the attachment isn’t there. Then again, the only one who gets the most screentime is the enigmatic Don Lee. Gwi-hwa Choi receives his fair share of screentime, but he gets relegated to the back once the second half kicks into high gear. The rest of the squad is commonly used as plot devices throughout.

Thankfully, unlike The Gray Man, Kang Hae-sang has shown time and time again through the movie that he’s not a man you can easily take down. His kill count in The Roundup is pretty high, so his inevitable showdown with the powerful Detective Ma lives up to the buildup.

Overall, The Roundup is an entertaining action comedy that keeps things fresh due to its hilarious characters and exciting action. Not only does Sang-yong Lee have a knack for perfect pacing and witty quips and gags, but he also has an uncanny ability to put the action at just the right time. It’s what keeps The Roundup engaging throughout. 

Rating: 4/5 atoms

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