A Violent Prosecutor ("Geomsawejeon")
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At a bird sanctuary at risk of redevelopment as a resort, gangsters infiltrate a demonstration by environmentalists, sparking a brutal brawl with the cops. Among the arrested is the lowlife Lee, who badly injured a policeman and is now a key piece in the case against those responsible. Lee is grilled by Prosecutor Byun Jae-wook. Byun has a visceral hatred for hoodlums, and no reservations about expressing it with his fists. When Lee is found dead in the interrogation room, all fingers point at Byun, who’s soon sentenced to 15 years in the slammer. Except Byun didn’t kill Lee. And he’s not the kind of guy who’s going to let prison walls get in the way of his revenge. With help from a devious young con man he connects with behind bars, Byun is going to throw the book at the bad guys behind it all. And it’s going to hurt.
Let us now review the evidence regarding A VIOLENT PROSECUTOR, the rough, tough, rambunctious legal thriller that ransacked the South Korean box office earlier this year. Exhibit A: Hwang Jung-min (VETERAN, THE UNJUST, BLADES OF BLOOD), ever the surly bastard as Byun. Exhibit B: Kang Dong-won of SECRET REUNION, HAUNTERS, and this year’s fest pick THE PRIESTS, deft in his sly comedic style. Exhibit C: Lee Il-hyung, a veteran of several major Korean productions, assumes the director’s chair for the first time — and pulls the caper off like a seasoned pro, keeping things tense, fierce and funny the whole way through. A VIOLENT PROSECUTOR lays a groove, makes its move and muscles its way forward to its exciting conclusion. Case closed!
— Rupert Bottenberg