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‘The Roundup: Punishment’ Review: Beefy International Treasure Don Lee Goes Places and Punches People and What More Could We Want?

Jessica Kiang The shortest distance between two points is popularly believed to be a straight line. But if one of those points is the chin, cheekbone or torso of some sneering and/or psychotic Korean gangster, the shortest route is actually the arc described by either one of Korean megastar Don Lee‘s fists, here playing the fists of Detective Ma, protagonist of the ludicrously watchable “Roundup” series. “The Roundup” and “The Roundup: No Way Out” the first two sequels to 2017’s “The Outlaws,” seemed to inch a little closer each time to the platonic ideal of star-driven action-franchise purity.

Now, with Lee (aka Ma Dong-seok) and his fists directed by Heo Myeong-haeng, a stunt choreographer who worked on Lee’s breakout “Train to Busan,” the fourth episode gets closer still. “The Roundup: Punishment” minimizes unnecessary originality, while gloriously maximizing the opportunities for Lee to crack wise, or look aggrieved and a little bored, as though he’s just remembered he needs to do laundry, all while his meaty forearms land a flurry of sledgehammer punches so rapid their recipients, often quite literally, do not know what hit them. This, truly, is cinema.

To date, Detective Ma’s appealingly tight-knit Metro Investigations squad have taken on loansharks, kidnappers and drug peddlers. This time out, the knife-murder of a young Korean national puts them on the trail of an online gambling racket run through the Philippines by ruthless, blade-happy sicko Baek (Kim Moo-yul). Baek’s boss, a weak-chinned piece of work called Chang (Lee Dong-hwi), not content with raking in and laundering zillions though his casino empire, is looking to launch his own cryptocurrency.

All of which cyber-skullduggery provides plenty of jokes at the expense of befuddled digital dinosaur Detective Ma. Ma might hear mishear the “cloud” of “cloud storage” as “crowd” and imagine that a mob of people will somehow be involved in syncing his contacts to a new phone, but he’s no dummy: It takes a smart guy to know what he doesn’t know. So after adding a couple of cybercrime experts to his task force, he settles down to errands more in his wheelhouse, such as pulling gates off their hinges,