Following 2017’s movie The Outlaws, which was loosely based on real events, Ma Dong-seok heads back for a sequel with The Roundup.
Dong-seok (“Train To Busan”, “The Outlaws”) doesn’t just star in the movie, he co-writes alongside Min-Seong Kim, Sang-yong Lee and Young-jong Lee (“The Witness”, “Parallel Life”) with Sang-yong Lee also taking the reigns behind the camera.
Ma Seok-do (Dong-seok) is sent to Vietnam to simply pick up a fugitive who has handed himself in and bring him back. Because he wants a holiday his chief Jeon Il-man, Choi Gwi-hwa (“Train To Busan”, “The Wailing”), decides to go with him.
Naturally, this isn’t a simple pick-up as Ma discovers that someone has been targeting Korean tourists, kidnapping them, demanding a ransom, but never returning the people regardless of whether they get the money or not.
The man behind this evil is Kang Hae-sang, Sukku Son (“Nothing Serious”, “D.P. (TV)”), who thinks nothing of stabbing people who cross him, or those that don’t, anyone really. He is hell-bent on stabbing his way to the top.
When he and his makeshift group nab a playboy Korean with a rich daddy, things begin to go a little more south than normal as this boy’s father, Choi Chun-baek, Moon-cheol Nam (“More Than Family”, “Chip In (TV)”), decides to send some ‘mercs’ to revenge his son.
When these ‘mercs’ take the ransom money back from Kang, he travels back to Korea to get his money back and enact a little revenge on Choi for the rudeness he believes he’s shown him.
What follows is a cat-and-mouse battle across the streets of Korea with the police following the money whilst simultaneously attempting to find Choi, whilst Kang and his goons are also following the money, which is being driven around by Choi’s wife and someone that owes Ma a favour.
The Roundup is a fantastic action movie, full of brutal violence that never lets up throughout. That’s not to say it’s without a story, this isn’t a 90’s actioner after all, but you can’t ignore the action when it’s so front and centre and so good.
Dong-seok bulldozes his way through the movie, his punches exaggerated somewhat for effect. This, together with the occasional quips and looks he gives, plus some of the settings, did, at times, slightly remind me of Jackie Chan’s Police Story, which is definitely no bad thing.
But this is far more violent than anything Mr. Chan gave us and includes a Korean version of the bus scene from Nobody, though in a one-on-one scenario, which is as good as the original, something to cheer for.
It’s great to see Ma Dong-seok back in Korean movies after his foray into Hollywood who appear to still have no idea how to use foreign stars. However, rumours abound that there will be an English language version of The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil with Ma Dong-seok, so we’ll see if that happens.
THE QUICK SELL
Ma Dong-seok writes andd stars in the follow-up to 2017's The Outlaws with The Roundup, which sees him travel to Vietnam to bring back a fugitive, only to discover a deadly kidnapping ring.