Jo Pil-ho: The Dawning Rage

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Jo Pil-ho: The Dawning Rage
Jo Pil-ho Poster.jpg
Directed byLee Jeong-beom
Produced byKim-Jho Gwangsoo
Screenplay byLee Jeong-beom
Edited byNam Na-yeong
Distributed byWarner Bros. Korea
Release date
  • March 20, 2019 (2019-03-20)[1]
CountrySouth Korea

Jo Pil-ho: The Dawning Rage (Korean악질경찰; formerly known as Bad Police or Bad Lieutenant) is a 2019 South Korean action film directed and written by Lee Jeong-beom. The plot revolves around the eponymous protagonist played by (Lee Sun-kyun) who is a corrupt homicide detective coated in a thin layer of skeeze, has to fight an even worse society than the one he is part of: the layer of corruption above the corrupt.[2][3][4][5] This is director Lee's fourth film after No Tears for the Dead that released in 2014.


Jo Pil-ho is a corrupt homicide detective who helps his partner Gi-chul escape after a robbery. Jo is often suspected by the officers in Internal Affairs but they haven't been able to find any evidence against him yet. When Jo's money gets tied up in a suspect real estate deal, he decides to rob a police warehouse with the help of a hesitant Gi-chul. However, something goes wrong and Jo rushes closer to the warehouse, which soon explodes, knocking him down unconscious. The next day, at hospital, he is questioned by the officers who suspect his involvement in the explosion. His wife hides his cellphone from the officers, which he destroys to clear evidence against him. In the meanwhile, Gi-chul's phone is retrieved from the spot by Kwon who decides to get it recovered. Gi-chul's corpse shows his head was split and his death wasn't caused by the explosion. Upon not finding his phone, Jo secretly takes the keys to his home and visits it to find the money missing. Viewing the CCTV footage, he realizes a girl he had met some time ago might be involved in the theft. Through the father of a deceased female officer named Ji-won, Jo learns the girl's name in Mi-na and she was friends with Ji-won. Ji-won's father asks Jo to bring back his daughter's tracksuit from her so that he can burn it.

It is soon revealed that those behind the explosion including Kwon are trying to cover up a multimillion-dollar scandal involving the largest corporation in Korea. Jo tracks Mi-na, gets into a fight and then "arrests" Mi-na and her ill friend. She reveals Gi-chul had sent her a video, but later tazes him and escapes after the car stops. The next day, the prosecutor tells Jo that he needs to retrieve the video in exchange for getting his name cleared. Jo finds Mi-na's phone in his car but finding it locked, visits her house and finds the money. He is about to escape, but is met by Kwon, who has been able to locate Mi-na's address through Gi-chul's recovered phone. A fight ensues, leaving Jo knocked unconscious. Mi-na enters and is also knocked down by Kwon, who is about to kill her with a knife having Jo's fingerprints. However, Jo grabs Kwon and jumps from the flat, falling on the ground. Somehow, he and Mi-na manage to escape. Mi-na agrees to unlock her phone if he helps his friend get operated. Following this, Jo views the video and contacts the prosecutor, who also asks him to bring in Mi-na in exchange for a promotion. Jo beats up a man wanting to rape Mi-na, thus getting closer to her. He takes her and her friend to his home, where his wife feeds them and Jo asks Mi-na to give him the tracksuit for Ji-won's father but she declines.

Jo takes her to meet the prosecutor but is attacked by Kwon and his men. It is revealed that the prosecutor had been working with Kwon and his boss' corporation. Jo is asked to hand them over the real phone from where he copied the footage to his phone, but he refuses to do so. Kwon threatens to kill Mi-na, making Jo reveal that there's no other copy than a copy he has hidden at his office. However, Mi-na has a change of heart and commits suicide. Jo is then taken to meet CEO Jung Yi-Hyang, the real man behind the whole conspiracy. He offers him money in exchange for the video. The next day, as Jung is to address a scholarship event, Jo decides to visit him at the venue and manages to secretly bring along a wooden gun which he assembles to kill Jung, but is captured, cuffed and thrown inside a tank. Jo manages to escape and gets into a violent fight with Jung's henchmen including Kwon, resulting in Jo getting severely injured and shooting down Kwon with the wooden gun. He then proceeds to shoot Jung in the head before getting shot by officer Kim whom he had called before assembling the gun.

However, Jo survives and everyone involved in the conspiracy is arrested. Jo himself is punished with severe charges, and while being taken by cops, hallucinates Mi-na smiling at him.


  • Lee Sun-kyun as Jo Pil-ho
  • Jeon So-nee as Mi-na
  • Park Hae-joon as Kwon Tae-joo
  • Song Young-chang as Chairman Jeong I-hyang
  • Park Byung-eun as public prosecutor Nam Seong-sik
  • Im Hyeong-gook as Ji-won's father


It was released on May 3, 2019 on Netflix streaming.[6]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Herald Review - 'Jo Pil-ho: The Dawning Rage' is enraging". The Korea Herald. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  3. ^ "Dirty cop battles dirtier business tycoon in 'Jo Pil-ho: The Dawning Rage'". The Korea Times. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  4. ^ "Stream It Or Skip It: 'Jo Pil-ho: The Dawning Rage' on Netflix, a Gritty Korean Bad-Cop Drama". Decider. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  5. ^ "Jo Pil-ho: The Dawning Rage". Common Sense Media. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  6. ^ Jo Pil-ho: The Dawning Rage. Netflix.

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