The Roundup : No Way Out
It is still a Wednesday and still plenty of time until 11th August when all hell will break loose in terms of the new content in the long Independence Day weekend. Till then, this little period offers me plenty of time to scout for, and review new content from across the globe. With that, I finished watching the new Korean film The Roundup : No Way Out which is essentially the third in the franchise after The Outlaws and The Roundup(Part 2). This release struck my mind out of nowhere, when last night I suddenly remembered that this film existed and was lying in my watchlist for a while now.
Just as a recap, one of my motivations to watch The Outlaws did stem from the fact that its Hindi adaptation Radhe was to release soon. And while the lesser said about Radhe the better, I had thoroughly enjoyed The Outlaws. Back then, I really did not know that The Roundup was actually a followup film to The Outlaws. After my late discovery, I ventured into The Roundup and I was amazed at the cerebral storytelling wrapped in an entertaining action flick! Since then I had my eyes on its third part which was also delayed to watch given the plethora of new releases that were builtup over a period of time. But I finally had my chance last night, does The Roundup 3 aka The Roundup : No Way Out manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
The third installment in The Roundup franchise(and a film that can be watched independently as well), The Roundup : No Way Out follows the story of our beloved cop Ma who is after a drugs trail involving two dangerous parties. Will he be able to stop them? The franchise by now does have a fixed formula on which the story is mounted. The supercop being thrown into a gang-war only to save the day isn’t very new. But the story heavily relies on presentation along with the trademark banter between the protagonist and his colleagues and superiors that formulate the narrative. The screenplay here is an out and out entertainer while also focusing on the establishment of the characters as opposed to the cerebral approach of its second part. And this leads to a thrilling watch overall!
The drama does open with the introduction of one of the antagonists who is shown to kill off supposedly an undercover cop. This sets the tone of the drama pretty well that does evoke a sense of fear in the minds of the viewers instantly. Soon, you are introduced to the protagonist and his team who are known to indulge in banter. This until, a body of a woman is discovered that sets him on a trail to expose and stop one of the major drug cartels in the country. And to be things interesting, there is another antagonist involved that makes it a three way fight!
The proceedings are interesting and compelling given that there are multiple threads etched from the main plot. It is almost like a trail that the viewers are privy to wherein the gang members across the two parties are introduced. This does make a case for a layered narrative wherein I found myself thoroughly engrossed and engaged in the turn of events that transpire. Soon with the subtle revelations between the identity of a couple of the characters, things start to pickup and it did make for a supremely fun watch while keeping me on my toes through its break neck pace.
Even though the plot is simplistic, there are no easy answers in the screenplay that branches into multiple characters of the respective gangs. But the focus is always on the main plot which is a far cry from its second part which had two unrelated events tied together in an incredible plot. The one criticism that I had here was on its final act which was simplistic and a tad underwhelming. This was a shame considering the extended climax of the second part which tied multiple action set pieces together. But taking nothing away from the journey, the screenplay here is majorly well written and makes a case for a wonderful action entertainer. And don’t miss the mid-credits scene which has a hilarious recall value!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are well written, ranging from being quirky during the funny banter and impactful during some serious face-offs between the characters. The BGM is splendid and it heightens the drama at several instances. The cinematography is excellent and it brilliantly captures the multiple combat sequences by often adding a tinge of edginess with the shaky frames that move while the characters throw punches at each other. The action set pieces are wonderful, this time focusing on the emaculate punches of the protagonist in this machismo saga! The editing is crisp for most parts of the film. Director Lee Sang-yong understands the world so well by now that he knows exactly what the viewers are looking for. And he delivers exactly that it what was an engaging action entertainer.
The performances are excellent here. All actors are wonderful to watch but the two antagonists standout from the crowd! Munetaka Aoki as Riki is outstanding and excels in his action set pieces. Lee Jun-hyuk as Joo adds a lot of intensity to his character in what was a raging performance. But it is Ma Dong-seok as Ma who delivers a knockout act with his powerful act. And his punches are getting powerful with every installment of the franchise.
The Roundup : No Way Out(the third in the Crime City Series) is an entertaining action flick that packs a solid punch!