Organized crime dramas are always a hit, almost as big of a hit as those about serial killers and the eccentric cops who hunt them.  So what happens when these two genres intersect?  You get THE GANGSTER, THE COP, THE DEVIL, an incredibly fun romp that sits somewhere between The Departed and Ichi the Killer.

While hunting for what he suspects to be a serial killer, a detective comes across his only survivor; a crime boss.  Unlikely allies, the cop and the gangster do away with trying to beat each other to the finish line and team up to track down the stab happy villain.

The familiar themes are overlapped in a way that creates a very fun ride.  The fight scenes are intense, the gangster scenes are terrifying, the tortured cop is believable and the killer is downright scary.  It manages to feel like each of these characters was plucked from their own genre movie and placed into this one, but never feels overstuffed or a parody.

I love this movie.

There’s a moment later on in the film where the killer asks the gangster, “how are we different?”  This is reminiscent of the moment in The Departed where its gangster, Frank Costello, asks “we can become cops or criminals. Today, what I’m saying to you is this: when you’re facing a loaded gun, what’s the difference?”  In both films, this sentiment sets up that gangsters and cops have more in common than you’d think on the surface, so the switching places and duplicity of it all make it difficult to distinguish good guy from the bad guy.  The difference here is that, while in The Departed, it’s difficult to distinguish good from bad and cop from gangster, here, it’s easy to mistake who the gangsters, cops and good guys are, but there is no mistaking that the devil is the bad guy.  Though you never let your guard down, because you sense the characters haven’t either, you know exactly who to root for and which team is the winning one.

This movie manages to stay tense for the entire run time without ever feeling exhausting or overdone.  The product of such a high stakes situation with well created and acted familiar trope characters, the tension feels real and never lets up.

The film suffers a few continuity missteps and the entire finale doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if any, but I am willing to forgive that for what a great time I had watching the film.

This might not be a horror movie, but the Devil’s confessions are pure terror.  I would not sleep on this hit.  Rumour has it there is an American remake in production helmed by Sylvester Stallone, keeping actor Don Lee in his role as gangster.  Though American remakes (i.e. The Departed) can bring a lot to the table, you’d miss out to not watch this Korean film in its original form.

Lindsay Traves
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