Choi Woo-Sik Must Investigate Cho Jin-Woong In ‘Policeman’s Lineage’

Good cop? Bad cop? In the Korean film The Policeman’s Lineage, it’s the viewers who must decide when a cop’s means of pursuing justice are justified. If the definition of a good cop involves successfully catching criminals, then Park Kang-woong, played by Cho Jin-woong, is a good cop. He makes deals with the devil, but those deals land him big convictions.

If your idea of a good cop is one who meticulously follows the rules, then Choi Min-jae, played by Choi Woo-sik, is your man. His convictions about proper police procedure don’t make him popular with his fellow officers. Some of his team members think he should overlook minor irregularities since catching criminals is more important. Min-jae’s conviction attracts the attention of Internal Affairs. They transfer him to Kang-woong’s team and ask him to report irregularities. Is Kang-woong taking bribes? Is he working with the Yakuza or some mysterious secret organization? Has he crossed the line between good cop and bad cop?

Min-jae proceeds to spy on his new boss, but its hard not to like Kang-woong or be impressed by the aura of success that surrounds him. When Min-jae dares to question an incident that circumvents the law, Kang-woong asks him, “Are you going to be a real cop or a bureaucrat?” Again, the definition of a “real cop,” like the definition of a “good cop,” is open to interpretation.

Cho has created a character that is magnetically appealing and yet ruthless, a man who can seem gentle and warm one minute, then become brutal so quickly it almost seems you imagined it. Cho’s subtle expressions eloquently convey various sides of his complex character, alternately making him seem like a superhero of a police officer and at other times like a gangster with a badge.

Playing the upright Min-jae, Choi takes on a very different role from the reclusive artist he played in the 2022 drama Our Beloved Summer. He is convincingly fierce as an idealistic young policeman, who believes that upholding the law is his destiny. Min-jae is determined to do the right thing, even if his definition of the right thing keeps shifting.

Directed by Kyu Man-lee, the film moves at a solid and sometimes dizzying pace, with a succession of cleverly cut camera angles that contribute to the sense of uncertainty. The criminal part of the plot is sometimes a little murky, but the film is not really about that. Rather, it’s about these two characters, who both want to be good cops, and who gets to define what that means. Both Cho and Choi deliver pitch perfect performances.

Cho previously appeared in the drama Signal and the films Me and Me and Believer. Choi appeared in the Academy Award-winning film Parasite and the film Time to Hunt. He also appeared in the dramas The Package and Fight For My Way. The film also stars Park Hee-soon as Hwang In-ho, Min-jae’s internal affairs connection, Park Myung-hoon as a criminal, and Kwon Yul as Na Young-bin, the criminal Kang-woong is desperate to lock away for good.

The Policeman’s Lineage was released in Korea in January 2022 and became a box office hit. It currently ranks in third place among all Korean films released this year, having earned over $5 million. It’s the second time this story has been filmed. Based on the serialized Japanese novel Keikan no Chi by Joh Sasaki, it was previously produced as a Japanese film.

On June 7 The Policeman’s Lineage will premiere on a variety of US media including Comcast

, Charter Spectrum, iTunes, Cox Cable Dish, Sling, Google Play/YouTube movies, Verizon Fios, Fandango, Vudu, In Demand, and Vimeo on Demand.

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