Lee Sang-yong’s The Roundup reminds me of 1980s and 1990s Hollywood buddy cop action movies. The kind of movies where Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Will Smith or even Steven Seagal punch injustice while cracking wise. They travel to other countries–sometimes even Vietnam–to make things right while ignoring issues of jurisdiction and local laws because don’t you realize the lives our our countryfolk are at stake? The film’s built around Ma Dong-seok and he is a good fit for this kind of movie and action hero. Ma first burst his way through the gangway doors of my heart as the man willing to punch zombies to get to his wife in Train To Busan (2016). You might recognize him from Train To Busan, The Eternals (2021), or the 2014 OCN series, Bad Guys. The Roundup has some of the problematic aspects of these kind of action movies, though it turns them into running gags while maintaining a sincere patriotism. The Roundup might not necessarily be for you if you don’t feel like seeing crime being detected and solved in large part with punching. But, if you do want to see a movie starring beloved icon Ma Dong-seok doing some fun action movie business while wearing patterned shirts from the Aughts, The Roundup might be for you.
Read more of Carol’s thoughts about The Roundup here.