Public Enemy 2

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From director Kang Woo-Suk comes Another Public Enemy, a winning sequel to the 2002 box office smash. Sul Kyung-Ku returns for the follow-up, this time portraying a by-the-book prosecutor who finds himself in a battle of wits with a smarmy millionaire who thinks he’s above the law. Although slightly overlong and a bit too “on the nose” in terms of its social commentary, Another Public Enemy is an engaging film that, quite refreshingly, takes a more old fashioned approach to its heroes and villains.

In the old days, movies tended to be populated solely by obvious good guys and clear-cut bad guys. Eventually, newer generations of filmmakers came along and found such a black-and-white division to be too simplistic and began to introduce characters whose morals were painted in broader shades of gray. But even moral relativism gets a little boring when it’s overdone, and considering how ethically ambiguous the real world is getting nowadays, it’s no surprise that certain audiences might be longing for movies that feature heroes who actually stand for something. Anti-heroes may have their charm, but sometimes it’s nice to have a hero who’s willing to put it all on the line for no other reason than it’s the right thing to do.

Such a discussion leads directly into Another Public Enemy, Kang Woo-Suk’s engaging sequel to his 2002 box office hit. In the first Public Enemy, actor Sul Kyung-Ku played Kang Chul-Joong, a corrupt bastard of a detective who’d lost sight of his responsibilities as an officer, and in the end, found some measure of redemption by bringing a brutal serial killer to justice. Sul returns for the sequel, playing a character with the same name, but this Kang Chul-Joong isn’t quite so rough around the edges. Despite his low-paying salary, this Chul-Joong is an incorruptible public servant, a veritable paragon of virtue who takes his job as a prosecutor very seriously, even putting himself in harm’s way to serve the public good…LoveHkFilm

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