Ma Dong-seok, also known as Don Lee, is a star action hero who has made a huge impact in the Korean movie industry. After gaining international recognition with his role in Train to Busan, he has continued to stun audiences in Korea with his starring role in the Crime City franchise as the tough detective, Ma Seok-do. The franchise’s three movies, The Outlaws, The Roundup, and No Way Out, all highlight Ma’s immense physical presence and impeccable form when delivering devastating blows to his enemies.
One of the factors that make the Crime City franchise so successful is the synergy between Ma’s action style and his massive, tree-trunk-like biceps. Director Lee Sang-yong knows how to make the most out of Ma’s stunning physique, with each movie’s introduction scene showcasing Ma’s imposing figure and commanding presence. The camera follows him as he strides forward to deliver justice with his fists or palms, resolving situations with ease. Ma’s charming personality also adds to his character in the movie, making him an affable and lovable character despite his hard-hitting cop persona.
In No Way Out, Ma proves that he still has what it takes to be an action star with his smooth movements and impeccable form. Despite his age and size, he moves with surprising quickness and hits harder than any other action star in the business. Director Lee accentuates Ma’s punches by following the action with the camera and amplifying every blow with top-notch foley work. The combined effect of sound and camera movements makes it feel like Ma is slugging the bad guys with a truck, not his fists.
The Crime City franchise’s action scenes are brutal and thrilling, but it also has the traditional trope of “good cop restrained by pesky human rights concerns.” Nevertheless, the movies are immensely enjoyable and reward viewers with stunning fight scenes and one of the best action series in recent times. You don’t need to watch the previous movies to enjoy No Way Out, but it’s a good idea to watch them to experience the fantastic action and watch Ma Dong-seok punching fools. His physical presence and acting skills make Crime City a recipe for success that continues to captivate audiences.