the gangster the cop the devil

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The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil

Theatrical release poster

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Revised RomanizationAk-in-jeon
Directed byLee Won-tae
Written byLee Won-tae
Produced byWon-seok Jang
Seo Kang-Ho
StarringMa Dong-seok
Kim Mu-yeol
Kim Sung-kyu
CinematographyPark Se-seung
Edited byHeo Sun-mi
Han Young-kyu
Music byJo Yeong-wook


B.A. Entertainment

Distributed byKiwi Media Group

Release date

  • May 15, 2019 (South Korea)

Running time

109 minutes
CountrySouth Korea
Box office$25.8 million[1]

The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil (Korean: 악인전; Hanja: 惡人戰; RR: Ak-in-jeon) is a 2019 South Korean action thriller film directed by Lee Won-tae. The film stars Ma Dong-seok, Kim Mu-yeol and Kim Sung-kyu. In the film, a gangster and a cop join forces đồ sộ catch a serial killer, but face challenges from their respective enemies at work.[2][3][4][5]

The film was released theatrically in South Korea on 15 May 2019, and was also screened in the "Midnight Screenings" section at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival as well as at the 2019 Fantasia International Film Festival.[6]


After a man's xế hộp is hit by a stranger, the stranger kills him as he takes pictures of the damage đồ sộ submit đồ sộ his xế hộp insurance. Jung Tae-suk is a cop who goes through the crime scene and suspects it đồ sộ be the work of a serial killer, but his commanding officer does not believe him. Jang Dong-soo is a crime quấn who, while on his way trang chủ after a meeting, is hit by the same killer, who tries đồ sộ kill him as well. A brutal fight ensues, leaving both of them injured. Finally, the killer escapes after hitting Dong-soo with his xế hộp. Dong-soo is admitted đồ sộ the hospital, and his henchmen assume that the attack was committed by a rival gang, whom they counter-attack.

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However, Dong-soo believes the killer was not a rival gang thành viên as his moves seemed đồ sộ be random and purposeless. Tae-suk visits Dong-soo at the hospital and asks him đồ sộ cooperate sánh that the police can catch the killer for him, but Dong-soo refuses. Instead, Dong-soo orders his men đồ sộ find the killer. Using a sketch and Dong-soo's memory of the killer's license plate, they manage đồ sộ find his xế hộp and a knife. Dong-soo eventually informs Tae-suk of the findings, and they decide đồ sộ team up đồ sộ catch the mysterious killer. Dong-soo agrees đồ sộ provide manpower and cover expenses — but on the condition that the killer belongs đồ sộ the one who finds him first. Dong-soo wants đồ sộ kill him for revenge while Tae-suk wants đồ sộ arrest him in order đồ sộ solve five connected murder cases and eventually get promoted.

Meanwhile, Dong-soo orders his right-hand man, Kwon Oh-sung, đồ sộ kill his rival Heo Sang-do with the killer's knife that already has traces of blood from the killer's previous victims. An enraged Tae-suk gets into a fight with Dong-soo upon learning what he has done as the killing is confirmed đồ sộ be the work of a serial killer, causing the case đồ sộ be transferred đồ sộ the major case squad. Dong-soo attends Sang-do's funeral; the killer also turns up and informs Sang-do's second-in-command that Sang-do was killed with the killer's knife, but by someone else. When Tae-suk and Dong-soo kiểm tra the killer's xế hộp for any evidence, they are attacked by Sang-do's henchmen. A fight ensues, resulting in the death of Sang-do's right-hand man while in a fight with Tae-suk.

Dong-soo gets him buried and clears the scene. Tae-suk gets assigned đồ sộ investigate a kidnapping case and, while solving it, spots the killer. A chase ensues, but the killer is able đồ sộ escape. Through forensic test, Tae-suk discovers the killer đồ sộ be a missing person. He informs Dong-soo about this and lets him hear a voice clip đồ sộ confirm the missing person is the killer. Later, Dong-soo helps a high school girl by giving her his umbrella but soon learns that the girl has been murdered and his umbrella was found at the crime scene. Dong-soo and Tae-suk and their men start looking for the killer in the area where the girl was murdered and eventually find him in a xế hộp. In the ensuing chase, the killer manages đồ sộ kill Oh-sung but is finally captured and incapacitated by Dong-soo. Dong-soo takes the killer away đồ sộ torture and kill him, but Tae-suk tracks them down and crashes his xế hộp into the hideout just as Dong-soo is about đồ sộ kill the killer. Tae-suk hits Dong-soo with his xế hộp and arrests the killer.

The police have no conclusive evidence against the killer, Kang Kyung-ho. As a last resort, Tae-suk asks Dong-soo, the sole survivor of the attacks, đồ sộ testify. Simultaneously, Tae-suk threatens đồ sộ release a tape of Dong-soo's confession of having Sang-do killed. During Kyung-ho's trial, Dong-soo arrives đồ sộ testify and provides decisive testimony. Dong-soo successfully predicts the existence of a stab wound on Kyung-ho's body toàn thân, previously inflicted by Dong-soo during their first encounter. Dong-soo also provides misleading evidence framing Kyung-ho for Sang-do's murder. The court sentences Kyung-ho đồ sộ death; however, Dong-soo is also arrested due đồ sộ his illegal activities.

Tae-suk is finally promoted while Dong-soo is sent đồ sộ the prison where Kyung-ho is kept: The condition which Dong-soo had requested Tae-suk fulfill in exchange for the testimony followed by his arrest. Spotting Kyung-ho, Dong-soo gleefully enters prison. While Kyung-ho is showering, he is confronted by Dong-soo with a rope in his hand and a smile on his face.


  • Ma Dong-seok as Jang Dong-soo[7]
  • Kim Mu-yeol as Jung Tae-suk[8]
  • Kim Sung-kyu as Kang Kyung-ho (K)[9]
  • Choi Min-chul as Kwon Oh-sung
  • Heo Dong-won as Choi Moon-sik
  • Yoo Jae-myung as Heo Sang-do (special appearance)
  • Yoo Seung-mok as Ahn Ho-bong
  • Oh Hee-joon as Kim Dong-chul
  • Cha Soon-bae as Supreme Court Justice
  • Park Bo-kyung as Victim's wife
  • Lee Eun-saem as High school student



Principal photography began on July 31, 2018, and wrapped on November 18, 2018.[10]


The Gangster, the Cop, The Devil was released in South Korea on May 15, 2019. The film will also be shown out of competition in the Midnight Screenings section at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.[11]


Critical response[edit]

The film received positive critical reviews. On review aggregator trang web Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a score of 97% based on 34 reviews, with an average rating of 7/10. The critics consensus states, "An odd couple cop thriller with a twist, The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil tells its entertaining story with a blend of humour and hard-hitting action."[12] On review aggregator trang web Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 65 out of 100 based on seven critics, indicating "generally favourable reviews".[13]

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Leslie Felperin of The Guardian stated "Although its final act shreds credulity, and the structure is a bit wonky, this pulpy crime thriller from Korea is still a real kick in the head. Like sánh many of the genre that hail from Seoul and its suburbs, this one punches well above its weight with an inventive reworking of well-worn plot tropes and slick production values."[14] Jessica Kiang of Variety commented "Korea has dominated the midnight-movie/genre slots at international festivals sánh thoroughly of late that it's hard not đồ sộ view Lee Won-tae's "The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil" in terms of its shortcomings in comparison đồ sộ the likes of Train đồ sộ Busan, The Age of Shadows, The Wailing and sánh on. But what this fun, slick but slightly forgettable hardboiled actioner lacks in terms of the energy, originality and inventiveness of a true Korean genre classic, it almost makes up for as a showcase for the burly charisma of star Don Lee, aka Ma Dong-Seok."[15] Cary Darling of Houston Chronicle added "Director/writer Lee Won-tae, for whom this is only his second feature, keeps the pace moving swiftly with this cats-and-mouse game, showing off an energetic sensibility that heralds a new voice on the South Korean film scene. It's no wonder that "The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil", which was invited for a midnight-screening slot at the recently concluded Cannes Film Festival, has been picked up by Hollywood for an English-language remake with Sylvester Stallone producing."[16]

David Ehrlich of IndieWire noted "In broad strokes, this premise has already been explored đồ sộ death, but "The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil" breathes new life into it by elevating at least two of its three major characters far above their archetypes."[17] Michael Leader of Little White Lies wrote "While not wildly original – Asian crime cinema has mined these uncommon team-ups and ethical ambiguities for decades – The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil pulls off its familiar twists and turns with style and verve. An expansive, electric-neon aerial shot at the start of the film places us firmly in Michael Mann territory, and the machismo of the film's protagonists spills over into director Lee Won-tae's amped-up aesthetic, from flashy scene transitions and montages đồ sộ generous helpings of slow-mo, crunchy fight choreography and a driving rock soundtrack throughout. The film is slick, stylish and consistently entertaining, but it would be nothing without its headline lead performances."[18] Richard Whittaker of Austin Chronicle wrote "Yes, it's xế hộp crashes and fight sequences and dry jokes, but it's a mix that will make you wow, wince and guffaw in just the right amounts, all carried off with a gritty style. It may lull a little in the final act, but that's just setting up one of the decade's low-key finest payoffs."[19] Ben Travis of Empire wrote "There's not much going on beneath the energetic surface, but for the most part The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil is a fast-paced, entertaining thriller buoyed by two engaging leads".[20] Trevor Johnson of Time Out gave the film three stars out of five, commenting "This muscular South Korean crime thriller is neon-lit catnip for fans of the genre... A solid, if not quite exceptional, time-passer".[21] Jason Gorber of /Film gave the film 6.5 point of 10, stating "As it stands, this is a movie with a great idea and pretty decent execution, one where the fists fly, the cars crash, and you actually care about the characters involved. With a bit of tweaking, especially with regard đồ sộ the Devil character đồ sộ make him (or her!) more chilling and compelling, there's the opportunity đồ sộ up the ante even further and craft a magnificent film. For now, we've got a great bit of genre fun, a movie that at once evokes the rich history of this kind of film with its iconic character types, yet does sánh with enough originality and confidence đồ sộ make The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil a powerful tale of its own".[22]


On 5 May 2019, it was announced that Sylvester Stallone and his Balboa Productions partner Braden Aftergood will produce the US remake of The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, with Ma Dong-seok reprising his role and producing the film under BA Entertainment.[23][24][25]


  1. ^ "The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  2. ^ "K-Movie Entertainment Signs Sales for THE GANGSTER, THE COP, THE DEVIL". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  3. ^ Bona, J. J. "Gritty New Trailer for 'The Gangster, The Cop and The Devil' |". Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  4. ^ "'The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil' gets standing ovation at Cannes". The Korea Times. 23 May 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  5. ^ Foutch, Haleigh (16 July 2019). "'The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil' Review: Ma Dong-seok Steals the Show (Again) | Fantasia 2019". Collider. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  6. ^ PATTERSON, ADAM (18 July 2019). "Fantasia 2019: THE GANGSTER, THE COP, THE DEVIL Review". Film Pulse. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  7. ^ 헤럴드경제 (2019-05-24). "마동석의 이유 있는 선택 '악인전'". (in Korean). Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  8. ^ "영화 '악인전', 마동석‧김무열‧김성규이 꼽은 명장면&명대사 공개!". 뉴스포인트(NewsPoint) (in Korean). 2019-05-22. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  9. ^ 수정: 2019.05.24 00:07, 입력: 2019 05 23 15:25 (2019-05-23). "'악인전' 김성규, 칸 영화제 인증샷 공개". (in Korean). Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  10. ^ "KoBiz - Korean Film Biz Zone". (in Korean). Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  11. ^ "Cannes Film Festival: Terrence Malick, Pedro Almodovar, Ken Loach and Xavier Dolan in Competition". The Hollywood Reporter. 18 April 2019. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  12. ^ "The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  13. ^ "The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil". Metacritic. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  14. ^ Felperin, Leslie (14 November 2019). "The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil review – pulpy thriller packs a punch". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  15. ^ Kiang, Jessica (3 June 2019). "Film Review: 'The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil'". Variety. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  16. ^ Darling, Cary (4 June 2019). "'Gangster' should make Don Lee a star". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  17. ^ Ehrlich, David (6 June 2019). "'The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil' Review: A Decent Korean Crime Thriller With a True Star Turn". IndieWire. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  18. ^ Leader, Michael (15 November 2019). "The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil review – Slick Korean crime drama". Little White Lies. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  19. ^ Whittaker, Richard (June 21, 2019). "Movie Review: The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  20. ^ Travis, Ben (11 November 2019). "The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil". Empire. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  21. ^ Johnson, Trevor (11 November 2019). "The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil review". Time Out London. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  22. ^ Gorber, Jason (7 June 2019). "'The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil' Review: Excellent Premise, Decent Execution [Cannes]". /Film. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  23. ^ Hyo-won, Lee (5 May 2019). "Sylvester Stallone đồ sộ Remake South Korean Thriller 'The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  24. ^ BECHERVAISE, JASON (15 May 2019). "'The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil': Cannes Review". Screen Daily. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  25. ^ Howard, Kirsten (13 November 2019). "The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil review". Film Stories. Retrieved 19 December 2019.

External links[edit]

  • The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil at AllMovie
  • The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil at IMDb
  • The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil at HanCinema
  • The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil at the Korean Movie Database