It’s safe to say that Filipino cinemagoers will soon be able to watch more Korean titles on the big screen. But before it happens, let us feast our eyes on The Roundup, which commercially screens exclusively in SM Cinemas starting today.
“The Roundup’s performance in the local box office will determine which titles we would bring next to the country,” television host and entrepreneur Grace Lee told the press shortly after the successful screening of the movie at Cinema 1 of SM Megamall on Monday evening.
Lee is the CEO of the content production and distribution company, Glimmer Inc., which made the Philippine screening of The Roundup possible. The comedy-action film, which stars Don Lee (a.k.a. Ma Dong-seok), is this year’s top-grossing big-screen title in South Korea.
Since its local premiere in May, the homegrown action-comedy (and sequel to the 2017 blockbuster The Outlaws) has become the country’s biggest draw since the pandemic began, attracting over 2 million moviegoers on its first weekend. For three consecutive weekends, it continued to set records, becoming the first Korean film since 2019 to reach more than 10 million admissions.
Screen actor Don Lee of the 2021’s Marvel Hero Eternals and 2016’s Train to Busan won over the audience while portraying no-holds-barred cop Ma Seok-do, who stops at nothing to catch criminals. He ups the ante in The Roundup and shows what his character is really made of.
“You can fully expect upgraded action and Ma’s comedic chops in this sequel,” said director Lee Sang-yong.
His co-stars Choi Guy-hwa (Capt. Jeon), Heo Dong-won (Oh Dong-gyun), and Ha Joon (Kang Hong-seok) all return as Major Crimes Unit members, as well as Jung Jae-kwang who plays rookie Kim Sang-hoon.
Not only that, one of The Outlaws’s most memorable characters, Jang Isu of the Isu Clan, played by Park Ji-hwan returns to add comic relief to the film.
The most welcoming aspect of The Roundup is the fact that filmmakers and casts of the first film came back onboard. New actors joined the crew and an introduction to the new villain played by Son Sukku.
The most impressive addition to the cast who plays an unbelievably vicious villain Kang Hae-sang, from the current popular series, My Liberation Notes, has been making a name for himself with various projects in recent years. He takes on the challenge of becoming a memorable villain who could make a lasting impression on the audience for years to come.
After deciding that the pandemic will not subside anytime soon, even though it became difficult to shoot there, the director and core staff moved to Vietnam and began the production. Despite the takeover of COVID-19 in Vietnam, filmmakers of The Roundup together with the local crew went out of their way to create this film and even the virus couldn’t stop their passion as they used ingenuity and creative solutions to wrap the film.
“I wanted to show the type of action the audiences were waiting for that feels so satisfying,” said director Lee, who wanted to fill the film with never before seen action sequences.
“Encouraging good and punishing evil isn’t something that can be felt easily in our modern society, but I wanted to express that with this film,” the director carried on.
Expanding the world of The Outlaws was discussed since the early stage of the development of this film, and he earned actor Don Lee’s trust with a tight narrative.
“Perhaps because we’ve worked together before, Lee took care of everyone on the set. He was a trustworthy ally and someone I could rely on,” ended the director.