Don Lee Returns for Korean Action Sequel ‘The Roundup: No Way Out’

South Korea’s biggest blockbuster of 2022, The Roundup, is already getting the sequel treatment.

A new, third film in the series, The Roundup: No Way Out, reuniting director Lee Sang-yong and Ma Dong-seok (aka Don Lee), officially began production late last week, the sequel’s sale agent K-Movie Entertainment tells The Hollywood Reporter. 

The new project continues the gritty action adventures of Lee’s beefed-up detective Ma Seok-do after he has joined the Regional Investigation Unit to face a new crime conspiracy. Korean leading man Lee Joon-hyuk (Along with the Gods) joins the franchise to play the new film’s villain, Joo Seong-cheol, while Japanese actor Aoki Munetaka will co-star as a yakuza character named Riki.

The Roundup franchise began with the 2017 film The Outlaws, which introduced Lee’s hard-nosed detective Ma Suk-Do as he battled to maintain control over Seoul’s Chinatown district amid fierce battles between rival gangs. The film was well received by both critics and genre fans, earning $53 million.

The sequel, The Roundup, was directed by Lee Sang-yong and took the action to Vietnam, where Don Lee’s detective decamps to extradite a suspect but instead gets entangled in the pursuit of a serial kidnapper and murderer. Released in May, the film has become South Korea’s biggest commercial hit of 2022, earning over $100 million and setting a new high-water mark for the country’s post-pandemic theatrical box office (Top Gun: Maverick is in a distant second place in the country’s annual rankings, with $38 million).

Additional confirmed cast for The Roundup: No Way Out include Lee Beom-su (Operation Chromite, The Beauty Inside), playing the Regional Investigation Unit’s inspector Jang Tae-soo, and Kim Min-jae (Peninsula, The Battleship Island) as Ma Seok-do’s righthand man. Actors Jun Suk-ho (Miss & Mrs. Cops, Kingdom) and Ko Kyu-phil (The Cursed: Dead Man’s Prey, Crash Landing on You) have also signed on to the project to play a pair of unlikely allies to Ma Seok-do.

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Like its predecessor, The Roundup: No Way Out is produced by Hong Film, B.A. Entertainment and Big Punch Pictures with ABO Entertainment handling distribution in Korea.

The film will continue shooting until November, with a target release date already set for 2023.