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STUDIO: Tartan Video
RUNNING TIME: 143 Minutes
• Feature Commentary w/ director and cast
• "Making-of" featurette
• "Behind the Scenes: Car Crash" featurette
about a tough-as-nails cop who doesn’t play by the rules and his quest to take
down a corrupt public official. I got the idea while I was watching a marathon
of every cop movie ever made."
Kyung-gu, Jeong Jun-ho.
Enemy, in which officer Kang (Sol) faces off against a brutal,
Bateman-esque killer, Another Public Enemy finds Kang as a
criminal prosecutor with a tough case on his hands. One of his former
schoolmates (Jeong) has risen to a prominant position in business and politics,
and Kang suspects that he is behind an effort to unite three dangerous street
gangs under one banner.
against the wishes of the police department, and backed up by a tentative cadre
of officers and friends, Kang sets out to take down one of the most public
people in the city, and to bust a few skulls in the process.
billed as one of the greatest Korean crime dramas, but Another Public Enemy has
far more in common with Western comedies than it does with, say, The
Untouchables. Since getting introduced to Korean cinema, I’ve been a
fan of the characteristic odd touches of humor (see: Oh Dae-su’s interior
monologue in Oldboy), but here director Kang Woo-Suk takes things a bit too
is that the plot isn’t terribly original, and so the filmmakers have plenty of
room to pad the running time with their brand of comedy. There’s just too much
of it. Instead of being used to deliver quirks in character and deepen our
affection for them, the humor verges (or lands squarely on) slapstick. The only
times real drama comes out are in those scenes that begin or end the acts, but
there’s no cross-pollination — the humor stands separate from the drama, and
ne’er the twain shall meet. The result is a bipolar film that thwarts the
audience’s every chance to get fully involved.
who don’t mind suffering through the storyline, the film delivers some fun
action sequences. There are several well-choreographed brawls, all involving
dozens of fighters. These sequences are shot with a great kinetic eye, and the
low-level wire-fu is plenty fun to watch in its own right.
Kyung-gu, who plays Kang, gives a respectable performance, but the acting
spotlight is stolen by his childhood nemesis, played by Jeon Jun-ho. Jeon has
the benefit of being given a character with some grounding and, more
importantly, some consistency. He’s an evil bastard, smarmy and genteel, and
though he can shift between a respectful conversation and a fistfight in
seconds flat, it’s a believable transition.
be one of the best Korean crime dramas — I don’t rightly know how large that
subset is — but Another Public Enemy doesn’t work well for a Western audience.
The hacked-out plot and spontaneous actions sequences remind me of nothing more
than a bottom-shelf Seagal flick, albeit with more intentional humor and
significantly less glowering.
a couple different audio options, and Tartan have delivered solidly in each.
The best, of course, is the DTS 5.1 track, which emphasizes the excellent foley
work done in post-production. The Dolby 5.1 also performs well. There is no
English dub, and the subtitles are plagued with typos, but never bad enough to
get incoherent. The video quality has no glaring blemishes — it’s just another
gold star in the caps of Tartan’s skillful DVD authors.
By way of
bonuses, you get a genial commentary with the director and some of the actors
— light on information, heavy on reminiscence — and two featurettes: a making-of
and an analysis of the film’s climactic car crash. There are also the requisite
trailers and ads for other Tartan releases.
5.6 out of 10