ANOTHER PUBLIC ENEMY
Reviewed by: Rees Savidis
What's it about
Public Prosecutor Kang (Kyung-Gu Sol) brings his own flavor of justice to the faces and groins of many-a-gangster as he fights his way from the mean streets of Seoul to the fancy greens of its golf-courses. Bribery, embezzlement, murder and much Kung-Fu ensue. How high up is the corruption stacked? Public Prosecutor Kang’ll find out!
Is it good movie?
Much like ’48Hrs’ has ‘Another 48Hrs’ and ‘Stakeout’ has ‘Another Stakeout’, Korean crime-saga ‘Public Enemy’ has, you guessed it, ‘Another Public Enemy.’ While it (Another Public Enemy) is an easy film to follow, I couldn’t help to shake the feeling that something was getting lost in translation – no pun intended. There is quite a lot happening here – some of it interesting – but the film’s success is marred by being heavy-handed and, oft-times, far too goofy when tonally, it’s playing itself as serious. ‘Another Public Enemy’ is certainly a well made film; it just tries so hard to be important, that it shoots itself in the foot and comes off as boring and hammy in the process.
Although I seldom find myself championing Asian cinema (take now for example), I have discovered a bit of a fondness for the work the Korean’s have been doing over the last few years. Films like ‘Oldboy’ and ‘Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War’ have really opened up my mind and, in-turn, introduced me to some truly exciting filmmakers (Chan-wook Park and Je-gyu Kang respectively). Personally, I feel those films work (and how) mostly in part because the directors in both cases presented the stories with their own unique vision firmly in place. Unfortunately, much to the detriment of ‘Another Public Enemy’, Director Woo-suk Kang seems to have foregone putting any sort of personal stamp on the film, opting instead to channel some discount version of Michael Mann.
I said at the top of this review that ‘Another Public Enemy’ was a well made film, and it is. Even though it failed to work for me on a storytelling level, Director Kang knows how to shoot a movie and the cinematography by Sung-bok Kim serves him – and the film – quite well. Also, as a point that is meant to be neither positive nor negative (though I am leaning more towards the positive for the belly-laughs it conjured), I haven’t heard a score like the one composed for ‘Another Public Enemy’ since I saw ‘Delta Force 2’…in the theatre. Rock on Jae-Kwon Han!
Video / Audio
VIDEO: We get a nice, clean 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer.
AUDIO: We get three flavors to choose from; Korean Dolby Digital 5.1, Korean DTS 5.1 and Korean Dolby Digital 2 channel stereo. They all sound fine, but my Won is on the DTS track.
My Korean isn’t what it used to be, so the bulk of the extras on this DVD edition seem rather pointless considering there is no English translation – save for the commentary. At any rate, here’s what you get:
Making of ‘Another Public Enemy’: From the looks on the faces of the folks involved in bringing ‘Another Public Enemy’ to fruition, I’d say they had a blast. Of course I’d only be guessing.
Behind The Scenes – Car Crash: Not to be too spoilery, but there is – as you may have surmised from the header – a car crash in ‘Another Public Enemy’. It’s a damn good one too. Here we get to see how it was pulled off. Again, there are no subs or translation present, so the viewer is left to gather what they can from a series of smiles, frowns and hand-gestures.
Commentary with Director and Cast: Subtitles! Finally, I can understand what the filmmakers are talking about. The mood is light and jovial as Director Woo-suk Kang and his cast members talk affectionately about the making of ‘Another Public Enemy.’
The rest of the disc is rounded out with a trailer for ‘Another Public Enemy’ as well as a smattering of trailers for other Tartan Asia Extreme films coming to DVD. They are: ‘Oldboy’, ‘Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance’, ‘Heroic Duo’, ‘Doppelganger’, ‘H’ and ‘R-Point.’ Good stuff.
While Director Woo-suk Kang success from a visual stance is relatively secure, it’s his prowess as a storyteller that damages ‘Another Public Enemy.’ Had the film found a better balance with tone and pacing, it may have wrung-up a few more points with me. As it stands, it’s an overlong mess.