Jo Pil Poster


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.

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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 of 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.

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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.

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Where to watch Jo Pil-ho: The Dawning Rage
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