- K-Cinema Library
Apr 10, 2018
- Writerby Pierce Conran
2010｜119 MIN | Crime, Drama
DIRECTOR RYOO Seung-wan
CAST HWANG Jung-min, RYOO Seung-bum, YOO Hae-jin
RELEASE DATE October 28, 2010
CONTACT CJ Entertainment
Tel : +82-2-371-5500
Fax : +82-2-371-6340
After the poor reception of his passion project Dachimawa Lee (2008), action maestro RYOO Seung-wan boiled down his strengths and injected them into his next project The Unjust (2010). A cop, a prosecutor, and a gangster engage in a typical macho dance but in RYOO’s hands, the tension between the characters is elevated to an explosive level as he delivers his most mature work to date and one which would set him up for future box office glory.
A serial killer targeting elementary school students is on the loose in Seoul and once his kill tally reaches five, even the president feels compelled to weigh in on the investigation. When the search for the killer begins to stall, a plot is hatched among the top brass in the police to find a patsy for the crimes.
Detective Choi (HWANG Jung-min), who has been prevented from moving up the ranks, uses this as an opportunity to get what he deserves. He teams up with a gangster (
YOO Hae-jin) to pin the murders on a suspect. The only thing standing in his way is the ambitious public prosecutor Ju (RYOO Seung-bum), who wants to be involved in every aspect of the investigation.
Working from a script by PARK Hoon-
jung, who also wrote KIM Jee- woon ’s I Saw the Devil (2010) that same year and has become a successful director in his own right with films such as New World (2013), RYOO for the most part avoids the fisticuffs that dominate his other films and instead uses the kinetic energy usually reserved for his choreography to heighten the stakes in the backdoor dealing that occurs between several layers of corrupt cogs.
Characters spit their dialogue and furiously dance circles around each other as every exchange seems to be on the cusp of an explosion. The occasional moments when that pent-up energy is released in a physical exchange, RYOO’s longtime collaborator, legendary choreographer JUNG Doo-hong, crafts brief but brutal bouts that punch the narrative forward.
The Unjust marks RYOO’s evolution as a director as he parlays his strengths into a tried-and-true narrative that would appeal to a Korean audience. He was rewarded for his effort, as he welcomed his biggest audience to date with over 2.7 million viewers around the Chuseok holiday in late 2010.
Central to the film’s success is HWANG Jung-min as the detective, working with RYOO for the first time. Playing a flawed but relatable character, HWANG offers a winning performance that both he and RYOO would build on for their next collaboration Veteran (2015), which also featured The Unjust co-star YOO Hae-jin and would ultimately welcome well over 13 million viewers. The pair partnered once again for last year’s big-budget World Word II prison escape drama The Battleship Island (2017).