“The Roundup: Punishment” Reviews, Characters and Storyline

“The Roundup: Punishment” (Korean: 범죄도시4; Crime City 4) is a 2024 South Korean action crime film helmed by director Heo Myung-haeng and featuring Ma Dong-seok, Kim Mu-yeol, Park Ji-hwan, and Lee Dong-hwi. Serving as the fourth installment in The Roundup series and a sequel to “The Roundup: No Way Out” (2023), the movie was showcased in the ‘Berlinale Special Gala’ segment at the 74th Berlin International Film Festival, screened on February 23, 2024. Upon its theatrical release on April 24, 2024, in IMAX and 4DX formats, the film garnered acclaim from critics.

Demonstrating strong box office performance, “The Roundup: Punishment” secured the top spot at the South Korean box office upon its debut, drawing 821,631 viewers, marking the most successful opening for a Korean film in 2024. Surpassing 10 million admissions within a mere 22 days of its premiere, it became the fastest Korean film of the year to achieve this milestone. As of May 14, 2024, it stands as the second highest-grossing Korean film of the year, having amassed a box office gross of US$69 million along with 10 million admissions.



In the Philippines, Baek Chang-gi, a former member of the Korean Special Forces turned leader of an online gambling syndicate, eliminates his subordinate Jo Sung-jae for attempting to flee. Promised a larger share by casino administrator Chang Dong-cheol if he takes down a rival establishment, Baek orchestrates a violent raid on the competitor’s servers, but Chang reneges on their agreement. Feeling shortchanged, Baek returns to Korea to confront Chang.

Jo’s murder prompts Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency investigator Ma Seok-do to collaborate with the Cyber Investigation team. They uncover Jo’s employment history and cloud-stored data, leading them to a money laundering operation where they apprehend manager Choi Yu-seong. Realizing they are dealing with an online gambling syndicate, Ma seeks insight from Jang Yi-soo, a former industry player. Jang reveals the Emperor’s Casino’s attempts to monopolize the online gambling market. During a meeting with Chang, Baek discovers his involvement in a cryptocurrency venture under QM Holdings, with President Kwon as the public face. Chang instructs Baek to accompany Ko to bribe an exchange representative. Growing impatient, Baek kills Ko and coerces the representative to accept the bribe. Concerned about Baek’s unpredictability, Chang orders Kwon to eliminate him.

Despite facing setbacks, Ma persists in his investigation with Jang’s assistance. They orchestrate a fake casino operation to bait the Emperor’s Casino into an incriminating raid. Working with the PNP, they retaliate, uncovering the data trail leading back to Korea, confirming QM Holdings’ connection to Emperor’s Casino. In a climactic showdown, Baek conspires with Kwon to eliminate Chang and seize control of the syndicate. As the police intervene, Ma confronts Baek before he escapes, bringing the saga to a dramatic close. In the aftermath, the team pays tribute to Jo, while Jang faces arrest for impersonating an officer, concluding a tale of betrayal and justice.

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