By Kim Boram
SEOUL, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- Action drama "Bad Guys," aired by OCN in 2014, gained popularity with its piquant story of a group of criminals who push the limits of the law as they team up to fight crimes. The show's phrase, "Let's unleash the mad dogs again," generated a lot of buzz at that time and created a strong fan base.
Five years later, its cinematic spin-off, "Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos," directed by Son Yong-ho, comes with the same intriguing storyline and characters, along with more fascinating action sequences and humor.
The movie starts as a prisoner transport vehicle overturns on a road and high-profile prisoners escape. The police form a special team consisting of other hardened criminals to catch the prisoners.
Oh Gu-tak (Kim Sang-joong), a merciless detective, leads the team of outlaws -- Park Woong-cheol (Ma Dong-seok), a legendary fighter at a crime syndicate serving a prison sentence, Kwak No-soon (Kim A-joong), a clever con artist, and Ko Yoo-sung (Jang Ki-yong), an elite police officer sentenced to a five-year jail term for accidently killing a fleeing pickpocket during a pursuit.
They nail criminals one by one, as Woong-cheol spearheads the squad with an iron fist, while No-soon contrives the plans and Yoo-sung relentlessly chases them.
Against all odds, they finally reach the core of the enormous criminal organization after a battle royal.
The actors' performances are worth watching, as they make the story compelling and help the audience feel as if they are participating in each step of the process.
Throughout the two-hour caper movie, however, Ma Dong-seok plays the only character that stands out. His wisecracking humor jazzes up the onscreen atmosphere and his raw strength makes him the group's savior as he solves every trouble they encounter.
His familiar image as a lovable action character who is powerful and tough but friendly and warm-hearted continues in "Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos."
The other characters are too weak to make their presences felt during the film. Gu-tak, in particular, is one of the two key original characters from the OCN drama, but he plays little role in the crackdown operations due to a chronic illness.
And the storyline becomes hackneyed and corny as Gu-tak's special team rides a smooth path to success.
The director said he wanted to make a movie that thrills and delights audiences without intricacies. Moviegoers with come to theaters during next week's Chuseok holidays, the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving.
"The basic storyline of the drama is so interesting. I'm a big fan of the drama." director Son Yong-ho said in a press conference on Tuesday. "Apart from the drama, I tried to exaggerate the scale of an incident and actions in the movie."
"Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos" will open Wednesday, facing fierce competition with two other new major holiday releases -- "Cheer Up, Mr. Lee" and "Tazza: One Eyed Jack."