When it’s an action movie round First released in South Korea in 2022, it marked the second film in an Asian franchise, but also had an explosion in popularity. round It became the highest performing South Korean film since the COVID-19 pandemic and managed to reach 10 million views in Korea during its first month in cinemas. In 2023, the third film in the franchise, Roundup: No way, was released worldwide. It was also successful at the box office.
But if there’s one recognizable aspect of the entire franchise, it’s it without meThe performance of the protagonist Ma Seok-do. Lee, who also goes by the South Korean name Ma Dong-seok, has been a massive force in the Korean entertainment industry since he rose to prominence after appearing in the 2016 zombie movie. Train to Busan. with a fourth round A movie on the way in 2024, it seems unstoppable.
MovieWeb spoke with Don Lee about it Roundup: No way After its release in South Korea and the United States.
Evolve with every movie
Roundup: No way It sees Ma Seok-do in a new setting compared to the previous films. A police detective who tends to use his fists, Ma Seok-do has run into a variety of troubles in previous films, but in this one, he’s put to the test when the crime ring he’s after becomes international. When asked about how the character has changed over the years, Lee mentioned how he tried to keep Ma Seok-do’s appeal consistent, while allowing the character the opportunity to “grow as a detective”.
In the first film in the franchise, OutlawsDon Lee explained that Ma Seok-do approaches situations without a calm and level head. He describes this as being “like a gangster”, and what he does not think before resorting to violence. Lee added, “I think, in Outlaws (범죄 도시 1), Ma Seok-do also showed the side like a gangster, not a detective.” But in the third movie, Roundup: No wayHe believes that Ma Seok-do is able to show that he is more like a detective and thinks his way through situations, using his fists whenever the situation calls for it rather than proceeding blindly.
Lee was actively involved in this development of the character, and the more comical elements of the series. It is to explain,
“Normally, I’m interested in making people laugh. We don’t aim to make a comedy movie, but I think Ma Seok-do also has the ability to bring humor even into dangerous situations, like Bruce Willis from Die hard. I was actively involved in editing the script, and participated in countless meetings with directors and writers to build the character.”
He finished with this: “I usually come up with hilarious ideas a lot. I want to avoid forcing a smile and I tried to really make the line that this character would say. In this franchise series, it’s important not to be fake.” Lee has been increasingly involved in the production process throughout the franchise, especially with the most recent film.
Mixing action and boxing with acting
Originally, Lee wanted to become a boxer but eventually became an actor. However, this did not stop his former love of boxing and now being wise to enter his career. “I have been working in the film industry for more than 20 years. I have devoted my experience and knowledge gained during the process of creating this fictional universe and the characters in it to round serial.” Then select me:
“This series is like the sum of my entire life. It took me 20 years to create this character, Ma Seok-do, who combines the acting and boxing skills that I have devoted my entire life to. In the process, I can learn how to build a fantasy world, communicate with staff, and create Lots of characters. I’m still working hard to create the next project.”
As it turns out, he’s still training with professional boxers to maintain his skills. “I always do boxing and fencing with professional boxers. Since applying boxing techniques to action movies is not easy, I have to constantly train to create authentic and believable action scenes. Heo Myung Haeng, our martial arts director, and stunt team,” said Lee. The stuntmen in this movie have been working with me for 20 years.
The franchise was an opportunity to implement boxing further, as the choices in which techniques to use were deliberate. This is what he told me about it:
We’ve already used boxing to create action scenes in previous movies as well, but in this series, we’ve tried to evolve the shows to be more technically detailed and fun to watch. Although we don’t actually punch a star in the face, there are shots where we need to punch each other’s bodies. […] These are kinds of tricky actions, but I did my best to make it sound real and fun for the audience.
round The franchise has been a huge hit in South Korea, which was unexpected considering how well the second movie did compared to the first. Ma has been the heart of each of these films and has become one of the few consistent characters to appear through them. Few Korean films have managed to become such a franchise, especially on a global scale round A series to follow in the future.
When asked about the series’ popularity in recent years, Lee expressed his humility. “I am grateful for the passion and support from this large audience,” he said. “I could not have anticipated it at all and was very surprised by the box office success. [I] We sincerely hope that many viewers can relieve their stress through our movie! I will do my best to make the audience feel a lot of satisfaction and joy.”
This will not be the end round Although, as he confirmed this with us:
“I am preparing for the following [movies in] round Fifth and sixth series. I am also currently working with some Hollywood studios and directors to produce various films and TV series. I’m working on a remake of my previous Korean movie The gang, the cop, the devil in Hollywood. At the same time, I’m also waiting for the next project with Marvel Studios.”
Roundup: No way It was released in theaters on June 2, 2023.