With the recent successes of Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite and Netflix’s Squid Games there has been a huge spike in interest in Korean cinema and TV. The quality of the ‘South’s’ film output comes as no surprise to those of us who had been enjoying it for decades. The likes of Memories of Murder, I Saw the Devil, The Wailing, Poetry and Oldboy have demonstrated the undoubted talent within the country. The Roundup epitomises much of what is good.
Four years after the events in Garibong district, the Geumcheon Police’s Major Crimes Unit have been assigned a much easier task. They must simply travel to Vietnam and repatriate a Korean criminal who fled there. The muscular and uncompromising Ma Seok-do (Don Lee) and his despairing captain Jeon Il-man (Gwi-hwa Choi) are assigned the task. It soon becomes clear that something is not quite right about the suspect’s willingness to hand himself in.
Following on from the 2017 hit The Outlaws, The Roundup doesn’t require any prior knowledge and builds on its good work. We’re once again treated to the odd couple of Ma and Jeon, but this time it’s just for fun. Sang-yong Lee raises the bar with the violence, producing even more brutality and mayhem. However, it’s the rich vein of dark humour which makes The Roundup so compelling. It’s no wonder it has been so popular at the Korean Box Office.
The Roundup opens in US cinemas from 3 June.