Sunday, 28 February 2016

Film Review: "A Violent Prosecutor" (검사외전) (2016).





"A prosecutor and a con-man's funny play"
and "A former South Korean Prosecutor and current Prisoner No. 3620, and a handsome con-man with 9 counts of criminal convictions". These taglines make up the premise that is A Violent Prosecutor. This crime comedy film directed by Il-Hyeong Lee. The follows Byun Jae-Wook, a short-tempered prosecutor who only pursues the truth. He is famous for his tough investigations. A suspect, under the the interrogation of Byun Jae-Wook, is then found dead. Byun Jae-Wook is arrested and gets 15 years in prison. Five tears later, Byun Jae-Wook meets good-looking con man Chi-Won in prison. Chi-Won knows about Byun Jae-Wook’s case. Byun Jae-Wook feels Chi-Won could carry out his plan outside of prison. Using his knowledge as a former prosecutor, he gets Chi-Won acquitted. Byun Jae-Wook prepares a counterattack on those who framed him. Chi-Won though looks for a chance to get away from Byun Jae-Wook.

The film stars Hwang Jung-Min as Byun Jae-Wook, Gang Dong-Won as Chi-Won, Lee Sung-Min as Assistant Prosecutor General Jong-Gil and Park Sung-Woong as Min-Woo. Hwang is a popular and award-winning South Korean actor, known for Road Movie (2002), A Good Lawyer's Wife (2003), A Bittersweet Life (2005), You Are My Sunshine (2005), Bloody Tie (2006), Black House (2007), A Man who was Superman (2008), The Unjust (2010), New World (2013), Ode To My Father (2014). Hwang gave a terrific performance as determined and uncompromising accused prosecutor. However, his performances at times falls victim of cliche and total utter nonsense at times. Gang, a relative unknown, known for films such as Romance of Their Own (2004) and The Secret Reunion (2010). Which earned him the Best New Actor and Best Actor Award at the Critics Choice Awards. His portrayal, of the handsome con-man who has 9 convictions for conning young women, had only thing to offer: look. His performance was as one-dimensional as his character. Lee (known for Seducing Mr. Perfect (2006) and The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008)) as the corrupt Assistant Prosecutor General turned politician Jong-Gil was itself nothing more than a rehash of his character in The Unjust, and a by-the-book, moustache-twirling villain with no clear motivation. Finally, Park (known for White Night (2009), New World, For the Emperor (2014) and Office (2015)) as Min-Woo was as boring and plain as the expression on his face throughout most of the film.  

A Violent Prosecutor is soulless. The cast looked thoroughly bored throughout the proceedings. They couldn't lend either conviction or gravitas to what is already a preposterous plot. Delivering no motivation whatsoever and an anti-climatic verdict made the whole film, in the end, anti-climactic. The movie becomes one more David-and-Goliath morality play. The film is slightly long and the ending is anti-cathartic. I expected a harder hitting indictment against the corrupt political power of the South Korea system. Instead, we get a middlin' courtroom drama that lacks the intensity. This is a case in which the material really is better served in a mediocre Korean Drama form.

Simon says A Violent Prosecutor receives:


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