Monday, November 17, 2008

Public Enemy Returns (Kang Woo-Suk, 2008)

Kang Woo-Suk's Public Enemy Returns (2008).

In Kang Woo-Suk's third part of the Public Enemy trilogy, Sol Kyung-Gu once again plays the character of Kang Cheol-Jung, the corrupted, ill-tempered police officer from the first film who grew a conscience when a company executive killed his parents over money. This time he's less corrupted but with the same bad temper when he goes after a crime boss who uses teenagers to do his dirty work and to take the blame when the police get too close.

Compared to the previous films, Public Enemy Returns is a lot closer in tone to the first film, it has the same slapstick humor and excessive violence. It doesn't build much suspense, similar to just about every other Korean thriller, but the story is still engaging enough not to get tired and the acting by Sol Kyung-Gu and Jeong Jae-Yeong and supporting actors like Lee Mun-Sik and Kang Sin-Il, keeps the film entertaining through out.

Public Enemy (2002) was one of the first Korean films that I really liked and Public Enemy Returns could have been made at the same time between 2000 and 2004, before Korean cinema got into a slump. There still are some good films being made in South Korea and maybe Public Enemy Returns and films like The Chaser (Na Hong-Jin, 2008) and Big Bang (Park Jeong-Woo, 2007) are the beginning of a return to form, I know I'm not the only one waiting for that to happen.