Narco-Saints (2022)

Profile
Drama: Narco-Saints / Suriname (수리남)
Network: Netflix
Episodes: 6
Release Date: September 9, 2022
Country: South Korea

Plot:
A businessman who goes to Suriname to import skate to Korea ends up helping the NIS on a mission to capture an evasive druglord.

Main Cast
Ha Jung Woo – Kang Ingu
Hwang Jung Min – Pastor Jeon Yohan
Park Hae Soo – Choi Changho
Yoo Yeon Suk – David Julio Park
Jo Woo Jin – Byun Kitae

Review
This drama feels like an extended movie. Turns out it was supposed to be a movie, but they decided to make it into a short drama. To be honest, the story is nothing new, but it was an intense 6 episodes of anticipation and thrill. There were lots of double crossing, guns, gore, and drugs. Surprisingly, no nudity except for 1 short scene. The stellar cast of Ha Jung Woo, Hwang Jung Min, Park Hae Soo, Yoo Yeon Suk and Jo Woo Jin made the story more larger than life than the usual drug movies/drama.

I love that Ingu as the ML is very smart and capable, quick thinker, calm even when lying, and plays well with the big guys, even outsmarting both drug lords and NIS. HJW made Ingu work very well, and any other actor may not have made Ingu sympathetic. I love that there’s always this doubt if he is really working with NIS or getting tempted by Yohan or if he has his own agenda. That final fight scene with the pastor was a long time coming and felt satisfied seeing him punch and strangle the pastor after ruining his life. (And HJW looked so hot holding the gun lol) Ingu has been very calm and biding his time ever since he got out of prison, so seeing Ingu finally snapped and fight — I was also thinking, that is HJW that I love!! Ingu may not be as buff as the others but he made up for it with his judo moves, smart strategies and fancy suits.

Pastor was so magnetic and powerful. And weaselly enough to not get caught over the years, but he didnt seem as smart as I expected him to be. He was easily played or maybe he trusted Ingu too much and thought they could really be partners. I loved how sick it was for Pastor to create a church, get the blind believers to follow him, feed them drugs and make them dependent on him.

Byun was bad ass and it was obvious he was going to be the secret agent. That fight with the bodyguard was fantastic. Poor David and Chen Zhen.

There’s a lot of conversations so some found the episodes boring but I loved them (or maybe I was so mesmerized with HJW every time he’s onscreen) — yes, I’m completely obsessed with HJW.

Some thoughts on the ending (spoiler alert):
I wonder what happened to the girl and the rest of the cult. I wish there was a short resolution to them. Were they also arrested? Was the girl able to go back to her family?

At first, I thought the ending would be Ingu taking over the coca farm – that would have been fun for a season 2. He is so smart, he can probably do better than Yohan, but I don’t want Ingu to fight with Changho or get arrested and die. But still, I was okay with the ending since they neatly closed the drama with Ingu finally back and reunited with his family. I laughed when Ingu told his wife, “wow you got prettier!” and the wife responded with, “why did you get uglier?” HAHAHA. Ingu learned to treasure what he has and not get too greedy. And also, don’t trust the government. Like seriously, Ingu risked his life to help NIS, but NIS didn’t pay him cash like they promised. Also, interesting thing about the baseball. Yohan really did trust him and wanted him to be his partner.

Here’s fun promotion /game from the cast in case you want to get to them more:

Rating: 8.75/10 (9 less 0.25 for the unresolved cult)

From Now On, Showtime (2022)

Profile:
Drama: From Now On Showtime! (지금부터 쇼타임!)
Network: MBC
Episodes: 16
Release Date: April 23 – June 12, 2022
Runtime: Saturday & Sunday 20:40
Country: South Korea

Plot: A magician and policewoman reluctantly work together to solve crimes.

Main Cast
Park Hae Jin – Cha Cha Woong
Jin Ki Joo – Go Seul Hae
Jung Junho – Choi Geom
Lee Dong Ha – Hae Chun Moo
Jung Suk Yong – Nam Sang Goon
Ko Kyu Pil – Ma Dong Chul
Park Seo Yeon – Kang Areum

Review:
This drama had everything I love in a Kdrama – romcom, comedy, ghosts, murder, creepy killer, new found family, magic, and they managed to squeeze in a little sageuk in the story too. Whew! Too many things happening but I loved the seamless transition of each scene. The sageuk went for 2.5 episodes if i remember correctly, it was like watching a drama within a drama. 2.5 episodes were too long though, they could have kept the past life story at 2 episodes max and more time for the last episode.

Great ensemble cast, from the grumpy ML, charming FL, funny ghost gang and fanboy spirit. I loved their interactions and team work. Esp when they were showing how they did their magic tricks. The drama also showed the background story of the 3 ghosts and I was crying when they finally had to leave and enter Nirvana. I was also surprised at Choi Geom’s story – didn’t expect it all and Cha Woong was just right to get angry at his betrayal and secrecy!

I also loved the romance between Cha Woong and Seulhae, I guess sharing the past, they just knew they were meant to be together. I actually sometimes like their past selves more than their current selves because their love was just so tragic. and Princess Chunhwa was so pretty, no wonder Hae Chunmoo felt in love and couldn’t let go even after 2,000 years!

The episodic cases were light while the initial villain (Ahn Chang Hwan) was so creepy and scary. I mostly ignored Hee Soo, i think he wasn’t a good SML as he could have been. He was just there but didn’t really do much.

Yeji was mostly irritating for being too money hungry but she made up for it by helping Cha Woong in the end. Wished her character was given more chance to shine as a great shaman in the making rather than showing her being petty. I thought the boyfriend deserved a nicer girl than Yeji but Yeji also turned out to be super nice when she dropped her money hungry act.

The final episode wasn’t as much fun as I was hoping it to be since it felt rushed. The evil spirit was so annoying at this point with his obsession for Chunhwa when she was never his. And him jumping from one body to another was too much. But I got it — it made sense he jumped to Heesoo (SML turned bad), to Heesoo’s dad (he finally got the what he deserved for lying all these years), then to Seulhae (to test Cha Woong).

Rating: 8.75/10 (9 minus 0.25 for the bad guy)



Bad and Crazy (2022)

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Drama: Bad and Crazy (배드 앤 크레이지)
Network: tvN, iQIYI
Episodes: 12
Release Date: December 17, 2021 – January 28, 2022
Runtime: Friday & Saturday 22:40
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot: A detective meets a mysterious figure while getting caught up in corruption and a drug case.

Main Cast:
Lee Dong Wook – Ryu Soo Yeol
Wi Ha Jun – K
Han Ji Eun – Lee Hee Gyeom
Cha Hak Yeon – Oh Gyeong Tae

Review:
I loved the first episode, it felt very bad and crazy indeed. Not just Ryu Soo Yeol, but also the bad guys. This drama was not afraid to show grit, blood and lots of violence. The entrance of K as the mysterious figure was very interesting and makes you want to know more about him.

I’d say this drama felt like 2 different dramas merged into 1, and it’s mainly because there were 2 main cases — the first one, was about Do Yu Gon (episodes 1 to 4) and the related drug case / corruption, (episodes 5-8). The second one felt totally different vibe from the first case, and focused on the psycho therapist who has a deep and painful past with Ryu Soo Yeol. I honestly liked the second half more than the first half. Mainly because I didn’t care about the drug case, and the main guy. The captain was too menacing and invincible. He looked like a old short detective, but he was faster, stronger than the younger guys, which i thought was unbelievable.

I also though the case dragged for too long and the plot kept repeating where Ryu Soo Yeol will almost catch the bad guy, but something happens, he loses his chance, he has to kneel down and swallow his pride, then finds something new and starts again.

And that makes me go back to Ryu Su Yeol as the main character. I liked how flawed he was, like an anti-hero but you can help but cheer for him (or maybe because Lee Dong Wook looked impeccably appealing in his suits and sexy tousled hair despite the blood and dirt LOL). Soo Yeol was corrupt, doesn’t have the heart to continue fighting, gets beaten down every time. And it’s all because of his tragic past that he had to conjure K to protect him.

K is the opposite. Wi Ha Jun’s eyes and smile always looked like he was a wild man /superhero when he fights for justice, but also had this childlike wonder when he meets his crush, Hee Gyeom. I loved the bromance between K and Su Yeol and was also crying when they had to finally part. That scene where they said goodbye and when Su Yeol opened the door, he saw W crying inside was heart warming.

I also liked Hee Gyeom and Su Yeol’s team, Gyeong Tae and Jae Sun. Sometimes I wanted to scold Su Yeol for teaming up with K (which is basically himself) rather than go to this team for help. But he eventually learns to work with his team and catch the bad guys.

The psycho therapist was unbelievably great at everything, and was always one step ahead of Soo Yeol. I still didn’t quite get his motive for having a grudge against Soo Yeol so I can’t really sympathize with him. Or maybe I’m not supposed to, but he is so handsome (haha).

Overall, I still felt the 12 episodes were too long, this should have been 10 episodes, but still a fun watch despite getting frustrated sometimes with the plot.

Rating: 8/10

One Ordinary Day (2021)

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Drama: One Ordinary Day (어느날)
Network: Coupang Play
Episodes: 8
Release Date: November 27, 2021

Plot: A college student wakes up and finds the girl he spent the night with is dead.

Main Cast:
Cha Seung Won – Shin Joong Han
Kim Soo Hyun – Kim Hyun Soo
Kim Hong Fa – Park Sang Beom
Kim Shin Rok – Ahn Tae Hee

Review:
I almost missed watching this drama because it wasn’t hyped by people, but I’m glad I did because this was a great drama! I loved the transformation of Hyunsoo from being a naive college student to a man forced to grow up fast in order to survive. Hyunsoo didn’t say much throughout the drama but you can feel his desperation and loneliness though his eyes and his tears (although sometimes the crying was OA).

I love Shin Joong Han. He really tried his best to defend Hyunsoo, it’s just that police and prosecution already made up their minds and it’s hard to investigate all the possible suspects alone In just a short time. Still he was able to do it. Better late than never. I wish he finds a magic solution that will cure his atopic dermatitis!

I hated the prosecutor and chief of police! I know they really thought they had the right person and I’m glad they still had a conscience and let Hyunsoo go. What I didn’t like was they made it seem like they were the one who investigated and found the killer and didn’t even apologize to Hyunsoo. One got promoted, the other got an honorary retirement. How about Hyunsoo and his family? How can they move on after this? How about Joong Han who was the only one who believed in Hyunsoo and sought justice? He is still stuck in the same 3rd rate position (although I’m sure he will continue fighting for justice).

Do Ji Tae was such a memorable character! He was so hot lol and was almost like a mentor to Hyunsoo. The ongoing fight with Dooshik was repetitive but was shocked with what happened in the end!! I almost thought that Hyunsoo might takeover from Do Ji Tae and be the new lion of northern prison.

I didn’t watch the BBC drama so I don’t know how closely they followed it and if the ending is the same. I don’t think he jumped, I think he spent the day thinking about his life and what to do now. Can he resume being a normal college student? Did Do Ji Tae’s death left a big impression on him? Will he follow Joong Han and become a lawyer defending innocent people like him? The possibilities are endless. Again he didn’t speak much so we don’t really know what he’s thinking. I’d like to believe he will come out of this a better stronger person and less naive.

I saw that BBC had two seasons. Hope there will be S2 with Kim Yoo Jung (though not sure if she is really ready to do something different than her usual sageuks)!

Rating: 9/10