The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Monday, June 07, 2010

By the Book / 바르게 살자 / Ba-leu-ge Sal-ja

2007 Korean comedy that took something as totally serious as bank robbery with death & hostages and turned it into the most hilarious thing I've seen in awhile - especially from Korea!

Jeong Jae yeong plays Jung Do man, a traffic cop who ends up being assigned to a special task force created by an opportunistic police chief meant to help crack the mystery surrounding a string of daylight bank robberies occurring without effective police control in the city.

Do man timidly insists he's not the man for the job, but the new and cocky police chief insists that he is, so when the time comes for Do man to 'fake' a bank robbery so the chief can have captured on live television the police force's response, that's when the real fun begins.

Do man is like the movie title suggests: a man who goes strictly By the Book; even handing out traffic tickets to city officials who break the laws since they presume to be above them.
Do man doesn't care, though, because regardless of who you are, the law is the law.

Before the day of the 'fake' robbery, he studies religiously by renting movies about bank robberies, news footage from past bank robberies ... even reading up on the psychological aspects of the criminal mind in order to do his job to the best of his ability.

It isn't that the police chief or Do man's comrades DON'T know what he's like - it's that the chief thinks he's the ideal candidate while the others keep shaking their heads in dismay, wondering "Why him?"

Everyone at the bank knows what is about to happen, and a few of Do man's comrades are there posing as customers, the cops, and so-forth.
Do man is the master-mind behind the heist, so he is in control from the word go.

In just under two hours, he manages to pull the perfect heist, even 'fake' killing a few people and raping a loud-mouth teller by first doing push-ups at her feet, and then hanging a 'raped' sign about her neck so she can't 'play the game' anymore.


What was supposed to be a ten-minute occurrence ends up taking an entire day to unravel, with the police ending up looking much worse on camera thanks to the ever-vigilant and ever-faithful Do man.

He is always a step or four ahead of the cops, and its his ability to outwit them that has the entire town in an uproar, not to mention the fact the men inside the bank have grown frustrated with his regimented style and want to go home to eat.

Jeong Jae yeong is an amazing actor and not half-bad to look at, either.
Throughout this movie, it was difficult to decide what was serious and what was a joke.
Even when he did something hilarious, it was his deadpan expression and serious eyes that made me feel a tad on the uncomfortable side for giggling at him.

Its my understanding he's a late-comer to the movie/drama world, and the fact that he won an award for his performance in Silmido back in 2003 makes me want to see more of what he's done.

The list is long, so I hope I can find them at

Check this one out, as I'm sure you'll like it, too.


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