The Roundup: No Way Out is a flex for action star Ma Dong-seok

It takes a lot of moving parts to make a movie’s action work. The choreography, camera placement, and editing all have to be in sync, and you need people who know what they’re doing in front of and behind the camera. But perhaps the most important element is matching a movie’s action style with its stars’ superhuman skills. And there’s no better synergy between a modern action franchise’s fight scenes and its star than the pairing of Korea’s Crime City franchise and burly star Ma Dong-seok.

Ma is also known by the name Don Lee. He has made his career out of charm, comedic delivery and tree-trunk shaped biceps. Ma, also known as Don Lee, rose to prominence internationally with his outstanding supporting role in Trains from Busan, which led Hollywood to come calling, leading to his role as Gilgamesh in Marvel’s Eternals.

Ma Seok do, the tough detective in Crime City films has recently seen his career soar. Second entry. The Roundup, was Korea’s highest-grossing domestic movie in 2022, and the newly released third movie, No Way OutThe best of the series so far. The fourth installment is scheduled for 2024. There are many other films planned.

Lee Sang-yong, the returning director of Ma’s film, knows how to bring out all that is special about Ma. In all three Crime City flicks, Ma is introduced in a way that makes his body look jaw-dropping. The introductions all begin with scenes of chaos in public places, such as a car accident that turned into a street fight. Then the camera cuts to Ma’s imposing figure from behind, letting his shoulders take up the entire width of the screen as he strides forward to deliver justice with his palms or fists, resolving the situation so traffic can let up and he can get to work.

Ma Dong-seok holds up a handheld mirror while shaving his face at his desk in The Roundup: No Way Out.

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Ma, who became the president of the Korean Arm Wrestling Federation in 2018, is unbelievably charming — even as a hard-hitting cop, he’s affable, funny, personable, and occasionally dense in an extraordinarily endearing way. He is confident and warns everyone not to mess around with him. The size of his frame is impressive, but the smile on his face can make a whole room.

Ma’s comedic delivery, both in his words and his actions, helps elevate these movies from brutally fun action to all-around rollicking good times. In No Way OutHe walks up to a group trying out a new, dangerous drug and asks casually that they put it in a Ziploc while he snaps pictures. They robotically obey before they realize they’re incriminating themselves; such is the power of Ma’s physical presence and charisma. He reacts more with anger than any other emotion when people are trying to knock him down. It’s like he’s disciplining unruly children — who happen to be charging at him with weapons, and need to be disciplined with head-splitting punches.

Ma Dong-seok, wearing a tracksuit stands next to another burly man in a white tee shirt and two of his fellow cops in The Roundup: No Way Out. He holds out a few pieces of paper bills to the man in the white tee.

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Ma Dong-seok, looking handsome in his track suit, observes a scuffle in traffic in The Roundup: No Way Out.

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Now in his 50s, Ma hasn’t slowed down as an action star one bit. His character has aches and pains, stretching out his arms after a long fight or exclaiming “Gosh, I’m tired” in the middle of one. The character moves with surprising speed for his age and weight, and is more powerful than ever.

The Crime City films acknowledge the punches as the main attraction. Ma, who was an amateur boxer at one time, has impeccable movements and a smooth style. His fists are massive, as well as his arms. He hits harder than anyone else in the action industry today. His massive body suggests that he is a powerful actor. No Way Out director Lee also knows how to highlight Ma’s unique characteristics. Lee’s camera moves with the action and follows the punches, accentuating the blows for maximum impact. Ma’s fall of a big opponent causes the camera to shake as if it were an earthquake.

A man wearing a club shirt goes flying as Ma Dong-seok punches him in the ribs in a club in The Roundup: No Way Out.

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Addition to kinetic cameras is No Way Out’s sensational foley work, which amplifies every blow — the combined effect makes it feel like Ma is slugging bad guys with a truck, not his fists. The punches hit loud, but crucially, so do the misses — when fists or knives whiff, the air whooshes with the force and danger of the strikes. Ma is able to make contact with the target, but it sends them flying.

The series does have the tired trope of “good cop restrained by pesky human rights concerns,” including a gag in No Way Out where Ma and fellow officers come up with creative ways to cover the camera while beating someone they’re questioning. They are set in the same fantasy universe as many other police films, whereby cops will only ask questions of bad people that deserve any extralegal punishment. If you have the patience for that archaic idea, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best action series being made today.

You don’t need to watch the previous Crime City movies to follow No Way OutYou should watch them punch fools, as they are awesome. In this series his years of experience as both a movie actor and boxer are put to good use. As these movies continue to show, that’s a recipe for success.

There is No Way Out Now in cinemas. It is the first film in the series. OutlawsThe newest version of Streaming on. Viki,Free Ads on Tubi,You can rent a car on Amazon. You can watch the second movie online. RoundupThe. VikiWatch it for free on Ads Tubi, PlexThen, FreeVeeYou can also rent the item. Amazon.

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