SOLID POLICE WORK
Neighboring police stations of Mapo and Seodaemun are pitted against each other in the endless battle to catch the most criminals. The two police chiefs Jo Joon Goo (Joo Jin Mo) and Lee Yong Gap (Lee Han Wi) have hated each other since their days at the academy. Chief Jo’s star detective is Hwang Jae Sung (Park Joong Hoon), who repeatedly uses any means necessary in order to catch criminals even if it means snatching them from Seodaemun District’s hands. Lee Yong Gap brings in Jung Ee Chan (Lee Sun Gyun) to trump them. At first, Detective Jung is reluctant to exude more energy than necessary in order to catch criminals.
The fact that these bad guys are behind bars is good enough for him. Until his girlfriend gets pregnant and he finds out the top apprehender of the city receives a cash prize of 30 million Won (approx. $30,000). For Detective Hwang, he’s received this award before and he aims to stay on top as he looking for a promotion and trying to prove that you don’t need to graduate from a prestigious police university in order to be a great cop.
When the city of Seoul becomes seized over a serial rapist terrorizing both these districts, the two teams must work together. Will their lust for the prize money and status put lives at risk?
The first half of the movie is comedic what with the antics they pull. The first action sequence always cracks me up. Here we see how the two stations work. They are vastly different in the way they dress and the tactics they use for catching criminals.
Honestly, in terms of the comedy, Doctor Ko (Im Won Hee) stole the show. A crazy but harmless guy that visits the police station to confess to crimes he didn’t commit. Often accompanying them with stories about the methodical steps and the mental process he went through in order to “commit” them. He’s the neighborhood loon that everyone obliges because he’s so harmless. The Seodaemun cops enlists his help in order exact revenge on the Mapo jerks that stole one too many cases from underneath them.
The movie takes a serious turn in the second half as our two protagonists’ lives are changed by the case of the serial rapist that continually eludes capture. I felt that the two parts transitioned smoothly even though we were given a time jump. Here is where the world of gritty police work is illuminated as Detective Hwang and Jung must team up together to solve the case.
Casting Park Joong Hoon is not breaking any barriers. He always plays the cocky detective. However, he does it well so that’s why he keeps getting type casted as that character. While I feel that Lee Sun Kyun has more of a range, this is a good role for him as he’s quite funny playing a station rookie who quickly becomes the master in the game of one-upmanship.
Awhile back, I criticized Korean TV for being unable to produce a solid crime drama. This movie had what those dramas lacked. True, it’s not the same when you are producing an episodic series. However if those dramas consistently followed the formula that this movie followed on a drama basis, it wouldn’t be breaking any barriers but at least it would have been entertaining and solid storytelling. Formulas work. Just look at Law and Order. It’s going strong after 20 years. Here is something where all the elements work. You’ve got the comedy, you’ve got the buddy cops and you’ve got the gritty drama.