The Roundup: Punishment trailer delivers the Ma Dong-seok punches you’re aching for

Ma Dong-seok (also known as Don Lee) is one of the most exciting action stars in the world, bringing life even to the most charmless of projects. Since 2017, he has anchored The Roundup action franchise, delivering consistent bangers that have lit up the Korean box office and the hearts of action fans around the world. And now, we have a trailer for the fourth installment — The Roundup: Punishment.

This time, Ma’s lightly veiled self-insert character Detective Ma Seok-do is taking on a cybercrime ring leading a gambling operation. The movies thrive on Ma Dong-seok’s singular combination of laid-back charm paired with his absolutely massive frame, as he lays down thudding blows (with terrific sound design) on anyone who comes in his way. (A lifelong boxer, Ma punch supercuts have been made in dedication to his prowess in this field). His strengths are on full display in the trailer, with about a dozen of the movie’s many, many hard blows, including an absolutely thunderous punch seven seconds in that sure seems like it would kill a man.

Image: Capelight Pictures & Blue Fox Entertainment

The third entry The Roundup: No Way Out released in limited U.S. theaters in June 2023, but only recently became available to watch on VOD. It’s the best in the franchise yet (although I have not seen Punishment), and was one of my favorite movies of the year (and had one of my favorite action sequences).

Punishment sees a change in the director’s chair, as former stunt choreographer Heo Myeong-haeng takes the reins of the franchise. Heo recently made his directorial debut with the fun sci-fi B movie Badland Hunters (now on Netflix), which starred Ma, and has been a long-time collaborator of the action star’s, including working with him on Train to Busan and The Good the Bad the Weird. Ahead of the release of No Way Out, Ma praised Heo’s work while talking to Polygon.

Ma Dong-seok poses after delivering a big punch in The Roundup: Punishment Image: Capelight Pictures & Blue Fox Entertainment

“As it is challenging, the coordination and synergy with the stunt team are crucial,” Ma wrote in an e-mail. “Heo Myeong-haeng, the martial-arts director, and the stunt teams in this film have been working with me for 20 years, and they understand my intentions very well. That enables us to create more realistic action scenes.”

Each of the last two movies have been huge successes at the Korean box office. 2022’s The Roundup was the highest-grossing movie in the country that year, and No Way Out was #2 in 2023. The Roundup: Punishment opens in Korean theaters April 24 before coming to North American theaters May 3, via Capelight Pictures and Blue Fox Entertainment. While you’re waiting, all three previous movies are available to stream: The Outlaws on Tubi, The Roundup on Peacock and Tubi, and The Roundup: No Way Out on Hoopa. All three can also be rented or purchased digitally, and they’re all a fun time, with each installment better than the previous.

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