The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil review – pulpy thriller packs a punch

A maverick cop and underworld boss join forces to catch a killer in this gripping mix of carnage and car chases in Korea

Although its final act shreds credulity, and the structure is a bit wonky, this pulpy crime thriller from Korea is still a real kick in the head. Like so many of the genre that hail from Seoul and its suburbs, this one punches well above its weight with an inventive reworking of well-worn plot tropes and slick production values.

Supposedly, this was inspired by real events from a decade ago, but, while the 2005 setting is mentioned, it’s barely relevant. Writer-director Lee Won-Tae posits an unlikely alliance between rule-averse but goal-oriented cop Jung (Kim Mu-yeol) and seasoned crime-world kingpin Jang to catch murderer K (Kim Sung-kyu).
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