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Public Enemy Returns Review

Public Enemy Returns Poster

The 9th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival started on Wednesday, October 9th. More than 140 films from 17 countries in 7 days, to a movie lover like me, this could easily be an early Christmas. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to watch all of them, so I hand-picked a few to watch. The first movie to watch is a 2008 Korean movie titled Public Enemy Returns, which is the third installment of its franchise. The original Public Enemy was released in Korea in 2002, and it was a huge success. However, the sequel Another Public Enemy released in 2005 was a sad disappointment. With this third installment, director Kang Woo-Suk promised to deliver an enjoyable film like the original one. Although I have never watched the previous two installments, but I was certainly excited to watch Public Enemy Returns.

I was definitely not disappointed when the credits started to roll at the end of the movie. To Hollywood movie viewers, this may be a very unique film, mixing comedy with action and thrill. But personally I think this is a prevalent style found in many Korean movies, which has proven to be a successful recipe. While watching Public Enemy Returns, its style reminded me of two other enjoyable Korean films: The Host and Memories of Murder. In Public Enemy, maybe there was not too much thrill, but comical moments can be found throughout the film, which provided laughs between bloody fighting and killings. Personally, I think these comical effects in the movie are crucial. Besides making the movie funnier and therefore much more entertaining, they also make many characters more lovable, finally they provide emotional gaps so viewers are not overwhelmed by the drama.

In debt and out of money, Kang Chul-jung is tired of being a cop and looking to retire. But his boss gives him one last case, an investigation of the president of Geo Seong Enterprises, Lee Won Sool, and some recent murders.

I definitely recommend this movie if you can get access to it. Besides its revelation on gang-related problem among Korean teenagers, it is certainly a fun and entertaining film to watch.

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