Going by the Book – Offbeat Korean Crime Film

(For SI blog reader Guruji)

In a long life, we’ve watched many kinds of rape scenes in movies.

In Hindi films from the 1970s, we watched Prem Chopra and Ranjeet smacking their lips as they fall upon the helpless girls, and then in the 80s we witnessed the suave cold-blooded Raj Babbar rape the two sisters in Insaaf Ki Tarazoo. We’ve also seen the crude, garish rapes in Tamil movies featuring Satyaraj et al.

But never have these old eyes fallen on a rape like the one in the Korean film Going By the Book.

The short-rape scene in the Korean film is what we’d call nonpareil.

If pressed, we’d say it belongs to the push-up genre of rapes and makes for one of the hilarious moments in the 100-minute movie.

More than Gore

Their fame in the violence genre notwithstanding, Korean films are not all about blood, decapitations, gore and revenge.

Nice as bloody films like I Saw the Devil, The Chaser and The Man from Nowhere are, Korean filmmakers also put out other movies.

Movies like Going By the Book, for instance.

We watched Going By the Book (2007) on Netflix Instant Play the other day and considered it a decent film.

Directed by Ra Hee-chan, Going By the Book is a crime film, albeit an unconventional one.

Since Sampo town is hit with a wave of bank robberies the new police chief Lee Seung-man decides on a novel drill to restore public confidence in the police department.

When the chief picks a traffic cop Lee Seung-man to play the robber, it’s clear this drill is going to be like no other.

You see, Jeong Do-man is a serious, dedicated cop who goes so much by the book that he doesn’t hesitate to issue a ticket even to the new police chief on his first day in town!

Previously on the crimes investigations department, Jeong Do-man has been demoted for investigating corruption allegations centering around the Governor.

Jeong Do-man prepares and goes about his new assignment with the same fastidiousness that is his hallmark, much to the irritation of his senior colleagues.

As the drill continues, the ‘robber’ makes the police force and the SWAT team look grossly inept and provide for some interesting comic moments.

Much of Going by the Book is filmed inside the bank or just outside its doors where the police and the SWAT team have gathered.

Jeong Jae-yeong who plays the robber, Son Byeong-ho as the police chief and the rest of the cast do a good job.

But the script by Jang Jin and Lee Gyu-bok could have been a lot better. It tends to drag on occasion and the last 20-minutes or so was a bit of a letdown with ‘dead’ cops driving the getaway bus.

Also, it seemed odd that given the initial focus on the spate of bank robberies so little attention should be focused in that direction, except in a clumsy way toward the end.

Despite these inadequacies, SearchIndia.com still recommends Going By the Book for its offbeat crime story, the comic touches and the decent acting.

Related Posts:
Korean Films Reviewed by SearchIndia.com

One Response to "Going by the Book – Offbeat Korean Crime Film"

  1. tiramisu   December 3, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Have another Korean recommendation for you…it’s available on Netflix instant.

    Castaway on the Moon” – another first rate Korean production.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Added Castaway on the Moon to our NFLX Instant queue. Will watch in a couple of days.

    A Korean film that we’re eager to watch is The Yellow Sea, directed by Hong-jin (the same guy who put out The Chaser). Not out on DVD or NFLX Instant Play yet.

    Another decent foreign (Chinese) film we watched recently on Netflix Instant is What Women Want featuring the two big Asian stars Andy Lau and Gong Li. Decent but not spectacular. A remake of the Hollywood film of the same name starring Mel Gibson.

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