Two policemen use different methods in their investigations but soon form an uneasy alliance in this tense South Korean thriller in the vein of The Corruptor.
Choi Min-Jae is a righteous police officer who is a third-generation cop in the force. When his father died when he was a teen, Min-Jae had promised to uphold the law and go by the book. After being a key witness in an unlawful arrest in which the arresting cop beat up the perpetrator, his actions get him suspended until Internal Affairs hires him. They want Choi to go undercover and investigate Park Kang-Yoon, who is suspected of using illegal methods to capture criminals as well. If he succeeds, he will learn the truth about his father’s death.
Initially hazed by the members of Park’s unit, Park has Min-Jae drive him to confront some passport counterfeiters. Park’s latest target is Na Young-Bin, a notorious drug dealer who is using his coffee business as a front when he plants the drugs via his coffee. However, as Park comes close to nailing Na, Min-Jae slowly begins to discover something shocking about his new partner. When Min-Jae has been caught as the mole, Park decides to prove himself, but a turn of events slowly begin to reveal everything, and it forces Min-Jae to make one of the hardest decisions of his life.
This Korean action film brings to mind the 1999 action film The Corruptor, which stars Chow Yun-Fat as a corrupt NYPD officer and Mark Walhberg as his by the book partner who slowly delves into Chow’s world. Director Lee Kyu-Maan and writer Bae Young-Ik go for the jugular from the film’s opening moments, where we see Choi Min-Jae being the key witness in an unlawful arrest then given his mission for Internal Affairs.
Parasite’s Choi Woo-Shik is excellent in the role of the righteous Min-Jae, who not only wants to do the right thing, but also has an agenda into his father’s death. His character is perhaps complex, and things get more complicated along the way as he delves more into the case with not just involving his new partner and superior but tapping into a case involving a rising drug dealer. As for Cho Jin-Woong’s Park, he knows what he’s doing but as the film progresses, we get a full understanding of why he is being seen as corrupt and how Min-Jae could be the one to either stop him or understand why and help him in the long run.
Kwon Yul and Choi’s Parasite co-star Park Myung-Hoon are quite excellent villains of the film. The former is a rising star in the drug trade industry who uses his coffee business as the front. He personifies the young, arrogant type of hoodlum seen in this genre. As for Park, he is the other major player in the drug trade, Cha Dong-Chul, who is the reason why Park has gone somewhat rogue. We learn in the third act the course of action that has led Park to become a dirty cop but there is a twist in the story thrown in that becomes completely out of left field and this leads to Min-Jae having to make a decision that will change the course of everything we had witnessed since the opening moments.
If you liked The Corruptor, then you will enjoy The Policeman’s Lineage. It is tense, action-packed, fast-paced, and has excellent chemistry between leads Cho Jin-Woong and Choi Woo-Shik. If you’re in the mood for some action and tension, check this one out.
WFG RATING: A-
Echelon Studios and Acemaker Movieworks presents a Leeyang Film production. Director: Lee Kyu-Maan. Producer: Lee Man-Seung. Writer: Bae Young-Ik. Cinematography: Kang Guk-Hyun. Editing: Nam Na-Young.
Cast: Cho Jin-Woong, Choi Woo-Shik, Kwon Yul, Park Hee-Soon, Park Myung-Hoon, Lee Won-Hee, Lee Hyun-Wook, Park Jung-Beom.
The film will be on VOD and Digital on June 7.