'The Policeman's Lineage' review: undercover and overcaffeinated

A sleek young cop follows a suspected senior officer in “The Policeman’s Lineage,” an undercover thriller that gets confused and slack o...


A sleek young cop follows a suspected senior officer in “The Policeman’s Lineage,” an undercover thriller that gets confused and slack off just when the pursuit should heat up. Park Kang-yoon (Cho Jin-woong), is a top investigator who rubs shoulders with high rollers and argues with informants to make tough arrests, and Choi Min-jae (Choi Woo-shik), the scrupulous son of a policeman killed, is assigned to Park’s team to look for any signs of corruption.

There’s always potential in a mole’s double life, as the risk of discovery gives every twist an extra thrill of suspense. Min-jae boldly snoops around Kang-yoon and plants bugs, as the older officer takes him on his rounds, throwing money at high-stakes poker tables and speedboat races.

But the film never quite hits its stride, skimming through plot points that aren’t exactly cohesive, while hokey flashbacks to Min-jae’s father sap the momentum. As Park, Cho plays his cards close to his vest, keeping us guessing, but Choi (who played the wealthy family’s tutor in “Parasite”) puts on a devoted front that isn’t particularly powerful or memorable.

Director Lee Kyu-man hovers the camera tensely over the scenes, but only a few action sequences pack a lot of punch. There is a more sinister tension in brief scenes with older statesmen of the criminal underworld, who have chilling self-assurance. But an ongoing debate about whether the end justifies the means in police work never ignites, and the film vilely culminates in a plot involving a machine that injects drugs into the cafe.

The line of the policeman
Unclassified. In Korean, with subtitles. Duration: 1h59. Rent or buy on google play, Vudu and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.

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Newsrust - US Top News: 'The Policeman's Lineage' review: undercover and overcaffeinated
'The Policeman's Lineage' review: undercover and overcaffeinated
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