The labyrinth-like story begins with Han Jae-ho (Sul Kyung-gu), the “leader” of a prison, meeting a new inmate, Jo Hyeon-soo (Im Si-wan), who impresses him with his fighting abilities and his cockiness. Han recruits the young man, with the latter becoming one of his most faithful henchmen, even standing by him when he loses the throne from a bigger gangster than him. The two of them continue their collaboration outside of the prison, with Han bringing the young man into his syndicate.
The organization is headed by Go Byeong-cheol (Lee Kyung-young), who runs fishing company as a front to smuggle drugs in cooperation with the Russians. Soon, a number of truths are revealed. Jo is actually an undercover cop whose loyalties are jeopardized the more he hangs out with Han, whose boss fears his rising power and actually wants to kill him. And this is only the beginning in a spiral of treacheries, switching loyalties, and secrets that threaten everyone.
The fact is that Byun Sung-Hyun penned and directed an elaborate story, which retains the agony for the whole 120 minutes of the film, with a number of shuttering plot twists that are presented in a very timely fashion. However, the timeline, with the almost constant flashbacks, makes the narrative unnecessary complicated, and the film a bit difficult to follow. Furthermore, I felt that the story went a bit overboard in a number of instances, particularly during the ending, although this aspect actually fits the general aesthetics, which are not based on realism, but on entertainment.
In that fashion, the movie features impressive fighting scenes in a fitting brawler style, humor in the most unexpected moments, a rock-like soundtrack, plenty of violence, and an obvious effort to draw from Im’s impressive looks, all in accordance with the rules of mainstream films. The slapping/fistfight in the prison and the scene where everybody is laughing are great samples of the aforementioned, and are among the most impressive sequences in the film.