Another Public Enemy

Starring: Kyung-gu Sol, Kang Jun-ho Jeong and Shin-il Kang
Tartan Asia Extreme
RRP: 19.99
TVD 3597
Certificate: 18
Available 26 June 2006

Chul-joong Kang learns at a very early age, from a childhood classmate Sang-woo Han, that with privilege comes power and that power is often abused. As the two boys grow to manhood they take very different paths in life, Kang becomes a public prosecutor determined to hold up the rule of law, whilst Han's corruption only grows ever more ingrained, his soul becoming black, vicious and murderous. It is only a matter of time before the classmates clash...

Another Public Enemy is Woo-suk Kang's follow up to his 2003 Dirty Harry type film Public Enemy. This time things are a little different, Seol plays Kang as both more vulnerable and funnier this time round. In fact one of the things which did surprise me was the amount of humour in the film. Han is played, by Jung, as the epitome of the rich kid gone very bad. Both leads are well worth watching in their respective roles, though some of the supporting actors can be somewhat variable in their performances.

Another niggle with the film is its length. Ultimately, the story struggles to sustain its near two and a half hours length; it starts impressively with a well choreographed fight scene between two competing schools, and quickly settles down to a very talky middle section before picking up at the end. A judicious use of the editor's scissors would have made this a much more exciting affair, but then to be fair to the film it is more about the mechanism and politics of corruption than it is about fight scenes. Kang is an honest man fighting against the sort of institutional corruption that only large amounts of money can buy.

Not that the film, when it gets going, leaves out any of the whiz bang of an action film, which starts about an hour and a half into the film with a short but terminal car and bike chase. After that the action is satisfyingly ramped up.

The disc comes with some nice extras. First, and foremost, is a feature length, subtitled, commentary from the director, Woo-suk Kang and Gyeong-gu Seol, who played Chul-joong Kang and Joon-ho Jung who played the public enemy and lastly Shin-il Kang, who played the prosecutor Shin-il Kim. It's a nice relaxing, jokey affair which produces a nice blend of irreverence and information and is well worth dipping into after you have watched the film. As this is an action film there is the obligatory, but welcome piece on the car chase, one of the films exciting set pieces. Rather than just a promo, it's a look behind the actual making of this sequence. This is presented, subtitled, in full screen and lasts for ten minutes. Last up is the original trailer for the film as well as a bunch of trailers for other interesting Tartan releases, two of which I've seen and can highly recommend: Lady Vengeance and A Bittersweet Life and the other two are Infection and Premonition which both look good from their taster reels.

Audio options come in flavours of stereo, 5.1 and DTS, all with English subtitles. If you've got it go for the DTS as it really does a good job of demonstrating the pulse pounding soundscape.

So, not a great film but certainly one worth checking out.

Charles Packer

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