• The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil (Well Go USA) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Well Go USA
    Released on: October 1st, 2019.
    Director: Lee Won-Tae
    Cast: Don Lee, Kim Mu-yeol, Kim Sung-kyu
    Year: 2019
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    The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil – Movie Review:

    In Won-tae Lee’s 2019 film The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil a man named Jang Dong-soo (Ma Dong-seok, a.k.a. Don Lee) is the gangster, Jung Tae-suk (Kim Mu-yeol) is the cop (a homicide detective, specifically) and K (Kim Sung-kyu) is the devil - except he's not really a devil in the literal sense, he's a serial killer.

    K has an interesting, and admittedly clever, strategy that he employs while going about his business. He follows people in his car until they’re out in the middle of nowhere and rear-ends them. This gets them to stop and get out of their vehicle, at which point, he stabs them. Without going too far into the plot points that make up the bulk of the narrative, after Jang is attacked and he Jung wind up forming an uneasy alliance and working together to bring K to justice and put a stop to his killing spree. Jang needs to do this not just because he wants revenge, but to keep up his status as a bad ass mobster not to be messed with.

    Does it go as planned? Of course not. But it does get interesting and occasionally quite humorous as Jung and Jang use their respective resources and tactics, which are of course very different from one another, to hunt down K – but what will they do once they catch him? They agree that whoever catches him keeps him, but it can’t be that simple.

    At the same time, The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil is quite a tense picture. Director Lee Won-tae, who also penned the screenplay, does a great job of pacing the picture and of staging some impressive action set pieces. The story owes a bit of a debt to Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad And The Ugly but while that influence may be clear, it definitely goes into enough unique directions on its own to stop short of qualifying as a remake.

    The movie also looks very good. The gritty cinematography does a nice job of capturing the locations and while the scene where K goes after Jang on a dark and stormy night may seem like a serial killer movie cliché, it’s well-shot and quite gripping. There’s good use of shadow and light in this sequence, with K hidden beneath a rain slick and looking quite ominous despite the fact that he’s quite a bit smaller in stature than his would-be victim.

    The performances in the film are very strong across the board. Kim Sung-kyu is effectively creepy as K. He’s a smaller guy but he moves fast and comes across as very clever, possibly smarter than the two men after him. Kim Mu-yeol plays the no-nonsense homicide cop really well. He’s an intense guy, hell-bent on getting his man and doing his job. It’s Don Lee, however, who really steals the show. If you enjoyed his work in Train To Busan and The Good, The Bad, The Weird you’ll enjoy his work here too as he brings that same level of intensity to the role. If he’s a bull in a china shop, so be it, he’s a blast to watch and the best part of a generally very solid movie.

    The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil – Blu-ray Review:

    The AVC encoded 2.39.1 widescreen 1080p high definition picture on this 25GB disc is excellent. Detail is strong and colors are reproduced beautifully, although the color scheme does definitely lean towards the darker side of things. Black levels are nice and deep throughout the presentation. Generally speaking, the transfer excels in areas of both detail and texture. There are no issues at all with dirt, debris or visual detriments of any kind and the disc is well authored, showing no noise reduction or heavy edge enhancement. Outside of some slight shimmer here and there, the movie looks excellent in high definition.

    The main audio option on the disc is a Korean language track provided in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio with removable subtitles available in English only. The lossless track here is a good one, with a lot of impressive channel separation throughout the movie. The score is spread around perfectly with some nice pans thrown in for dramatic effect while bass response is consistent tight and strong. All in all, this is a nice, well directed mix that does a fine job with the movie. A Korean language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix is also included.

    Extras are pretty slim. We do get a quick three-and-a-half-minute making of featurette that is over before you know it and a two-minute piece called The Characters that just kind of explains who the characters in the movie. Aside from that, there’s a teaser trailer and a theatrical trailer for the feature included here and, before the main menus load, trailers for a few other Well Go USA properties.

    The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil – The Final Word:

    The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil is a better than average thriller with some nice tension and decent action scenes. The cast elevates this one and the film’s sense of humor is strong. While Well Go USA’s Blu-ray is light on extra features, you can’t knock the audio or video presentation. Recommended.

    Click on the images below for full sized The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil Blu-ray screen caps!