Known as Bad Police in its native South Korea, Jo Pil-Ho: The Dawning Rage is a tale of a corrupt cop who finds himself dealing with even worse corruption. It’s not the most original of concepts. Still, writer/director Jeong-Beom Lee (No Tears For The Dead) pulls it off with flair and a few twists.
We know Jo (Sun-Kyun Lee) is a dirty cop from the start, we first see him overseeing the robbery of an ATM. We also quickly learn Internal Affairs is onto a real estate scam he’s involved with. Things get even worse when a desperate plan to rob a police warehouse results in the building mysteriously blowing up. But Jo’s accomplice was already dead when the blast occurred.
Now he’s caught between the cops and the underworld. Forced to team up with a high school girl named Mina (Jeon So-mi, Manhole) to solve a conspiracy and maybe save his life.
Jo might be a bad cop, but next to the film’s real villains he’s not so bad. Compared to corruption that stretches through the police and courts and into the boardrooms on a mega-corporation, a few robberies and scams are nothing. What are a few beatings compared to a trail of dead witnesses?
Jo Pil-Ho: The Dawning Rage is a thriller, not an action film. However, there are some well-done fight scenes to break up the drama. There’s also some fairly brutal beatings and murders. Song Yeong-chang as the corporate criminal and Park Hae-jun as his lead enforcer are a particularly slimy and brutal pair. Evil enough not just to work up the audience but to make it credible when Jo puts bringing them down ahead of self-preservation.
The final confrontation it all leads to is satisfying, although we’ve seen it more than once by now. And for once it’s a very fitting resolution. There really wasn’t any other way for Jo Pil-Ho: The Dawning Rage to play out and stay both satisfying and believable.
Jo Pil-Ho: The Dawning Rage is available on Netflix with a variety of options with regards subtitles, dubbing, etc. There are even versions with audio descriptions for the blind, something I don’t think I’ve encountered before.
Official English Dubbed Netflix Trailer