‘Punishment,’ the Fourth Instalment of Don Lee’s ‘Outlaws’ Korean Action Franchise, Starts Production

Production has started on “The Roundup: Punishment,” the fourth film in Korea’s smash hit “Outlaws” action franchise – even before the third film has been completed or released.

The new film stars and is produced by breakout Korean American star Don Lee, known locals as Ma Dong-seok, who previously appeared in Marvel’s “The Eternals.”

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Distributor ABO Entertainment said on Friday that “The Roundup: Punishment” will focus on Lee’s brutal cop character chasing after the country’s most notorious online gambling syndicate.

The franchise started in 2017 with “The Outlaws,” directed by Kang Yun-sung, which saw a merciless gangster from China pitted against Lee’s fist-wielding detective. It earned $42 million from 6.88 million admissions.

The first sequel, “The Roundup” is the highest grossing film in Korea this year, with a $98 million haul, earned from 12.7 million admissions. The total was enough to beat “Top Gun: Maverick” and represent one of the few bright spots of 2022 in Korean theaters. With a new director, Lee Sang-yong, the film sees Lee’s character travel to Vietnam to extradite a suspect, but he soon gets out of his depth. It was banned in Vietnam on the grounds of excessive violence.

The third film in the franchise “The Roundup: No Way Out” began shooting in July this year and is to be released in 2023. It has recently emerged that a fourth film will be turned around quickly.

“THE ROUNDUP: NO WAY OUT (범죄도시3) has wrapped production!!👊🏻 We are concurrently shooting THE ROUNDUP: PUNISHMENT (범죄도시4) which we will also finish strong! I also appreciate your excitement and support behind #MenofPlastic which is set to release in theaters nationwide on 11/30. Thanks!,” said Lee this week on Instagram.

In “No Way Out” Lee’s Ma Seok-do character once again teams up the Regional Investigation Unit, this time to chase down the activities in Korea of a group of Japanese Yakuza gangsters. His detective allies are played by Lee Beom-su (“Operation Chromite,” “The Beauty Inside”) and Kim Min-jae (“Peninsula,” “The Battleship Island”). Other roles go to Jun Suk-ho (“Miss & Mrs. Cops,” Netflix series “Kingdom”) and Ko Kyu-phil (“The Cursed: Dead Man’s Prey,” TV series “Crash Landing on You”) as characters who become unlikely allies of Ma Seok-do.

Some casting details for “Punishment” have been revealed. Kim Moo-yul will play the centerpiece villain. Actors Lee Dong-hwi and Lee Joo-bin also star and Park Ji-hwan returns.

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