So the year 2023 has truly kickstarted now but before the scheduled new releases start to churn out, I decided to wipe a few films off my watchlist. And first up I decided to watch and review the new South Korean film The Roundup which is the sequel to the 2017 Korean film The Outlaws. I had really enjoyed the first part which did act as a mass entertainer with some splendid action sequences that made for an entertaining watch. The film was also remade in Hindi titled Radhe and we all know how that film had fared. Yet, I did get to know only recently that The Outlaws also has a sequel. And what’s more, its sequel The Roundup had premiered on Amazon Prime which did act as a perfect opportunity to give it a go. I couldn’t get to it immediately owing to the other new releases, however post the new year an opportunity presented itself and I have happened to grab it. So then is The Roundup worth your time, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
An official sequel to The Outlaws and set 4 years after the incident in the first film, The Roundup follows the story of The Beast Cop who is tasked to extradite a suspect from a foreign land until he gets entangled in mess involving a gangster. Now the thing with such films is that you do not go into the film expecting a solid storyline. The USP of the film is to entertain the audience through its action stunts and the drama that is unfolding onscreen. And so while the plot is wafer thin here, there is never a dull moment owing to some entertaining action set pieces and a screenplay standing at 104 minutes that keeps you hooked throughout.
First things first, do not go into the drama expecting character depth or even depth from the writing point of view. It is basic surface-level treatment but really entertaining. The drama does open with the introduction of the antagonist who would be the center of conflict in the film. Soon the drama is set rolling after a spectacular opening act followed by the introduction of the protagonist. Unlike the first film, the humour here is more evident although at times a little too silly. However, it does help the audience in settling into the drama that does deliver on what it has promised – Entertainment!
The proceedings are surprisingly layered with two parallel tracks unfolding at the same time. The drama is fairly predictable but at the same time supremely entertaining and engrossing with never a dull moment. After a point, the drama does turn into a cat and mouse chase after the two plots converge leading to loads of fun. The integration of action set pieces are something to marvel at. There are atleast 3 set pieces that stand out, one of them did seem like a one take with minimum jump cuts, that did make for a compelling viewing. The subtle twists and turns with a streak of humour are thoroughly enjoyable!
The events of the second half unfold at a breakneck pace. There is constantly something or the other happening onscreen which would pique your interest. The extended final act too is layered with edge of the seat thrills packed into the drama. Yes, you exactly know how things would turn out and eventually end but full marls to the execution for involving the audience throughout. I just had one minor complaint. The stakes weren’t raised higher in the final act which would have further added a layer of intrigue. But overall, the screenplay is a fun entertainer despite a wafer thin plot.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are massy yet witty in certain portions that are packed well into this action entertainer. The BGM does pack a punch, particularly in hand to hand combat moments thereby increasing the intensity of the drama. The cinematography and editing are top notch and they do their bit in raising the bar of the drama. Director Lee Sang-yong does an incredible job in serving the viewers what was initially promises. The proceedings are engaging and supremely entertaining and a large part of the credit does go to the director for its neat execution!
The performances by the ensemble cast also pack a punch here. Choi Gwi-hwa as Il-man contributes well to a few comic moments. Park Ji-hwan as I-soo is first rate. Son Suk-ku as Kang is outstanding and a perfect nemesis to the protagonist. Ma Dong-seok as Ma Seok-do is simply brilliant with his onscreen persona and his no nonsense act. And he is brilliant in combat sequences as well. All other actors manage to do a commendable job as well.
The Roundup is a fun action entertainer, a worthy follow-up to The Outlaws which is well worth your time. Available on Amazon Prime