While a serial killer is busy randomly stabbing anyone he feels like to death, a police officer tries to hunt him down but faces blockers as his boss is covering for the main local gangster, who ends up becoming the sole survivor of the serial killer.
Amazingly, The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil is based on a true story, how much is dramatized isn’t clear, but to think the basic premise is real is quite something.
After one hairy meeting he decides to drive himself home, mainly so he can phone his boss with an update. It’s whilst on his way home that he’s rear-ended. On getting out of the car he tries to wave away the accident, but the other driver isn’t having any of it.
This is the titular Devil, Kim Sungkyu (“The Outlaws”, “Kingdom (TV)”), and he attacks Jang, which is his first mistake. Jang fights back, despite being stabbed a few times, and manages to stab the Devil back, escapes in his car, running Jang over in the process.
When Cop Kim Mu-Yeol (“Forgotten”, “Warriors Of The Dawn”), visits Jang in hospital, he can’t get anything out of him. This is partly to do with the embarrassment of Jang having been attacked, ‘reputation is everything to a gangster’, and partly because Kim is constantly harassing Jang and his business empire.
Kim convinces Jang the man who attacked him is a serial killer and Jang convinces Kim that if they work together, they’ll have more chance of getting the b*stard. Jang will provide the money and man-power, Kim just needs to run the show.
With an army at his disposal, Kim sets to work trying to identify the Devil, track him down and catch him before the gangsters do. He wants to put him through the justice system, they want to kill him.
Written and directed by Lee Won-Tae (“Russian Coffee”, “The Magician”), The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil is a different film for Dong-seok.
Yes, there’s violence and yes, he gets to flex his biceps and knock seven bells out of various folk. But it’s a subdued role, he shares the limelight very well with Mu-Yeol and the two work well together on screen.
Sungkyu isn’t the scary menace he should perhaps be. He’s good when he’s faced with his followers, but we don’t really see him other than that and when we do, he doesn’t convince of his scariness.
Dong-seok is great as the boss, he gives a commanding performance, quiet, but filled with the menace you’d expect of the leader of a large gang.
Mu-Yeol meanwhile is frantic in his role. Desperate to catch the serial killer and he will do whatever it takes, including turning to the one-man he wants so much to put behind bars.
The film has already been slated for an American remake, by Sylvester Stallone no less, with Ma Dong-seok set to reprise his role which is something, I guess.
The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil is a good film, filled with drama and tension and plenty of fights to keep those who want that happy too.