Parents' Guide to

Jo Pil-ho: The Dawning Rage

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Violence and profanity abound in gritty Korean police drama.

Movie NR 2019 127 minutes
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This drama takes some interesting plot twists but ultimately doesn't make an impact. Part of it stems from an overreliance on profanity to create a sense of realism in the dialogue. Every expletive in the book is used. Furthermore, in a way that seems almost inevitable in movies such as these, the use of non sequiturs from the bad guys -- talk of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, for instance -- comes off as forced and trite. There are also one or two story threads too many, which is why Jo Pil-ho: The Dawning Rage is at least 20 minutes longer than it needs to be.

While there's something compelling to the lead character and his struggles with right vs. wrong (or perhaps kinda wrong vs. actually really wrong), this type of moral ambiguity has also been done to death in far too many action movies to name. The stylized grittiness often works, but when the movie gets lost in the various threads of the B, C, and D storylines, there are times when it feels like you're marking time until the next action sequence. The result is a bombastic action movie that is decent at times but overall leaves you with the impression that you've seen it all before.

Movie Details

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