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)

Today’s Webtoon (2022)

Profile:
Drama: Today’s Webtoon (오늘의 웹툰)
Network: SBS
Episodes: 16
Release Date: July 29 – September 17, 2022
Runtime: Friday & Saturday 22:00-23:10
Country: South Korea

Plot:
This drama is about a webtoon publishing team trying to find ways to increase their sales or risk getting disbanded within a year.

Main Cast
Kim Se Jeong – On Ma Eum
Daniel Choi – Seok Ji Hyung
Nam Yoon Su – Goo Jun Yeong
Park Ho San – Jang Man Cheol
Ha Do Kwon – Heo Kwan Young

Review:
“We’re all creating our own stories each day. Some days, you feel like you took a wrong turn. A few days later, you realize you’ve managed to turn it into your path. And some of us persevere and keep trotting along each day even if we falter from time to time in order to achieve our longtime dreams. Sometimes we have to make a choice at crossroads. Every day, we are creating our own stories because life is like a full-length book. Just like today’s webtoon, where a new story begins every day.”

I love the first half because the workplace issues and challenges are so relatable. I would love to have On Ma Eum in my team because she is passionate, diligent and optimistic. However, sometimes she is too emotional. Great job for the editors to see her potential even though she didn’t have experience. I think her love her webtoons was a good skill to have that set her apart from the others. To be honest, if I were to choose between Jun Yeong and Ma Eum for the intern/contractual role, I would have chosen Ma Eum.

On the other hand, Gu Jun Yeong was a terrible character for most of the story. He was super moody and always felt like he was above Ma Eum and everyone else in the team. Like who the hell are you to act that way? You’re a new hire, who has no working experience or even no knowledge webtoons, but you think the work is beneath you. Instead of learning from the team and sharing his skill that made his the best hire, he just sulked all day. And the worse is he was even helping the enemy ruin his own team!! WTH!! I can’t believe the writers tried to pair him and Ma Eum together. No way, Ma Eum deserves a guy so much better than Jun Yeong! I prefer Ji Hyung over Jun Yeong as Ma Eum’s potential boyfriend. Maybe even Sin Dae Lyug (once he gets better). He did redeem himself in the end and grew more mature so that’s okay.

I love both editors, they were great mentors and support to the team. In that episode when Ji Hyung was choosing whether to leave or stay, I thought, if I were in his position, I most likely would have made the same decision because I want to stay and complete the year before I move. I also like to know I left the team in good hands or else I wouldn’t feel good about moving on. And also, PD Kwon and his story. I agree too that we don’t always have to work long hours — as long as you get things done, then the company shouldn’t hold it against you if you went home on time. I wish the girl editor also had her own story.

However, I also felt that the editors gave the 2 rookies too much free hand in handling their artists. That’s why in the second half of the show, they, Ma Eum kept making mistakes one after the other. Although it’s good to let the rookies handle the issues and learn from them, Ma Eum shouldn’t have kept significant problems to herself, but instead escalated them to her bosses. When reputation or lives are stake, the editors should step up and take over.

I love the different webtoon artists – loyal Gangnam and his crazy girlfriend, the senior and very respected Mr Baek who continues to learn and upgrade his skills despite his age, and Oh Yoon who wanted to try something new. Special mention to dimpled Donghee and his story in episode 7. It was brave of him to try to achieve his dream of being a webtoon artist, but he is even braver for facing the truth and letting go. I wish Pomme had a better storyline other than the stalker which was unnecessary – I was hoping Pomme and Jun Yeong would get together. There was also Go Seul Ah and her dream of becoming a webtoon artist at her own time.

Finally, a chunk of the story was spent on Sin Dae Lyug and I thought it was too long that it got boring. It was so obvious that he needed help/therapy so I was frustrated that Ma Eum didn’t do anything much to help him. He dislikes touching, yet Ma Eum continued to do it, or even let others do it (she could have warned people or intercepted their touches). She also never tried to ask him if he was okay or if he needed help. Instead, she mostly cared about whether he can submit his episode on time. The editors also didn’t advice or do something too. I also didn’t like how it was just so easy to resolve his issue with just an apology from his mom. It didn’t justify chaining him and traumatizing him forever and coming back because she’s sick.

Last, Director Heo should have been fired earlier. I honestly don’t know what his gripe with Man Chul. Is it just because his deal with Youngtoon didn’t push through before? If yes then it was such a shallow reason for trying to harm the entire team. I also don’t know how he gets to do whatever he wants and bypass the MD by making a deal all on his own. I know this is a drama so it’s very unrealistic to even be so disrespectful of you own boss.

Rating: 8/10


Extraordinary Attorney Woo (2022)

Profile
Drama: Extraordinary Attorney Woo (이상한 변호사 우영우)
Network: Netflix, ENA
Episodes: 16
Release Date: June 29 – August 18, 2022
Runtime: Wed. & Thu. 21:00

Plot:
This drama tells the story of Woo Young Woo, who has autistic spectrum disaster, and how she navigates her way in her work and personal relationships.

Main Cast
Park Eun Bin – Woo Young Woo
Kang Tae Oh – Lee Jun Ho
Kang Ki Young – Jung Myeong Suk
Jin Kyung – Tae Sumi
Joo Hyun Young – Dong Geurami
Ha Yoon Kyung – Choi Suyeon
Joo Jong Hyuk – Kwon Minwoo
Jeon Bae Soo – Woo Gwang Ho
Baek Ji Won – Han Seon Young

Review:
Woo to the Young to the Woo! Park Eun Bin made WYW so cute and charming while being fierce at work. No wonder she has a lot of support from loyal friends and her dad. And she even managed to get the most popular guy in the office to fall in love with her. But of course, this is KDrama. In real life, sad to say, she probably wouldn’t be treated so nicely by her colleagues. Still the way they depicted WYW made me think how I should also treat people with disabilities and to show more consideration and support for them moving forward. I’m also curious to find out if there really is a genius autistic like WYW?

It’s a role reversal where the male lead is the candy girl, meant to be the support for the female lead and he doesn’t need to do much but to look pretty and support WYW. I hope they also give Junho a meatier storyline in S2. Like handling his own case at work, and exploring more stories of his relationships with his family, friends, and other colleagues that is solely about him and not relating to WYW. I want to know more about him and what makes him tick and thrive.

Another character I love is Ms. Spring Sunshine Suyeon. She is always nice to WYW and defends her when Minwoo and other people are mocking her, or putting her down. And even though she sometimes gets overshadowed by WYW, she doesn’t mind and instead even helps and supports her. In S2, I hope she is also able to show her legal brilliance and win cases too. And I’m curious to know more about her relationship with her father. Her only fault is liking Minwoo, which I really don’t understand.

Kang Ki Young has always played the funny sidekick or bestfriend/neighbor. His role as Jung Myeongsuk is slightly different because he is serious here, although once in a while his comedic skills still show. Myeongsuk is one of the nicest and most supportive bosses in Kdrama Land. At first I thought he would be the one that would hinder WYW to succeed, instead he is one of WYW’s mentors, to the point where WYW even visited him on the day of his surgery hoping he won’t die, and visiting him during his recovery. Was surprised at his illness, but it’s a big wake up call for him to live a better life (and to the viewers who have a similar lifestyle as him!). I hope he gets better and be happier (with his ex-wife) in S2!

I also like Dong Geurami and Hairy guy. Not sure how they are able to keep their restaurant afloat with zero customers (maybe Hairy guy is really rich?). And WYW’s dad sacrificed a lot for his daughter. A tiny part of me wishes he gets back with WYW’s mom but I think they despise each other so much it won’t happen (plus Sumi is still married and no way will she get into a scandal or relationship that will potential ruin her ambitions).

Speaking of Tae Sumi, Jin Kyung the actress has been playing villain characters in the past few years. I loved her when she played the nice characters and she’s scary when she plays the villain. Here, she plays a complex character of being a villain to WYW’s family because she abandoned them for her ambitions, yet I feel that she is also a good person. She is a respected attorney and boss in her company, and she seems like a good mom. I hope in S2, we get to know her and her son more and we get more interactions with WYW. It’s not too late to form a mother-daughter-sibling relationship. I think WYW can be a strength to Tae Sumi’s ambitions and she can also be a good influence to the younger brother.

My friend said she thought the format of the show was boring and repetitive but since this is a legal drama so I already expected episodic cases every week and not the slice of life kind of storyline.

The last episode was a little underwhelming maybe because we all know there’s going to be season 2. Season 1 didn’t go out with a bang, but it opened up so many possibilities and more stories to explore in the next season. I want to know why WYW’s boss seems to hold a grudge against Tae Sumi while she seems oblivious to her dislike. Will the boss turn out to be the villain and Sumi the good one? I also want to see the nice pro bono lawyer in season 2. I almost thought WYW will resign and work for her by end of season but I think WYW has a lot more to learn in Hanbada before she can leave and open her own practice.

The only downside to his drama is Minwoo (the character, not the actor). He was so awful to WYW throughout most of the show but suddenly the writer made him nice in the end, and justifying his behavior because he is poor and needs to take care of his family. Everyone knows he wrote against WYW in the bulletin board, but no one knows he tried to make WYW quit or that he also sabotaged one of the cases. He got off without getting any “punishment” for his bad deeds and even became part of the good team. And I don’t understand why 2 girls are fighting over him – are the girls too shallow? Geurami only likes him for his looks, while Suyeon started liking him just because he was nice to her in Jeju. She just shook off all the hateful things he did to WYW? If Minwoo is going to continue being part of the good team in S2, I don’t mind, it’s just that his character development was so rushed and he never apologized to WYW. They can introduce a new villain attorney that will keep WYW in her toes.

Rating: 8.5/10 (9 minus 0.5 for Minwoo)

Money Heist Korea Part 1 (2022)

Profile:
Drama: Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area (종이의 집: 공동경제구역)
Network: Netflix
Episodes: 6
Release Date: June 24, 2022
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot: A professer recruits unsavory men and women to take over Mint, which holds the North and South Korean money. The team tries to outwit the N and S police before they get caught!

Main Cast
Yoo Ji Tae – Professor
Kim Yun Jin – Sun Woo Jin
Park Hae Soo – Berlin
Jun Jeong So – Tokyo
Lee Won Jong – Moscow
Kim Ji Hoon – Denver
Jang Yoon Ju – Nairobi
Lee Hyun Woo – Rio
Kim Ji Hoon – Helsinki
Lee Kyu Ho – Oslo
Park Myung Hoon – Jo Young Min
Lee Joo Bin – Yun Misun
Kim Sung Oh – Cha Moo Kyuk

Review:
I didn’t watch the original so I won’t be comparing the Korean version against it.

The production is very high class like most Netflix productions, the tension is high, and the main cast were the ‘bad guys’ in this drama, yet I wanted them to get out alive and spend their money.

I like how they are able to outsmart the cops each time, although they are ‘cheating’. I like how the professor thinks of their plans and how he always finds the right solution to their problems. In the short background, the professor was even approached to be part of the Nokor Sokor team before. So what happened since then? Does he have a grudge and is getting his revenge? Or is this part of a bigger plan with the potential presidential candidate to win the elections?

I like Berlin, although he is slightly unhinged. Tokyo seems to be one of the main characters, but she is so-so to me. I find Rio so immature and Denver is dumb. I also like Moscow but his character is the type that gets killed in the middle. I wish Nairobi is more charismatic. It’s just too bad that no one stands out to me. Maybe because we don’t see a lot of their background history to actually care for them.

I love Misun, she is so pretty, I don’t understand why she would like Yeong Min the d-bag, he is not enough handsome and he’s crazy. Will Misun join the team eventually?

I feel bad for Woojin, being played by the Professor. She seems so good at her job, but she wont be able to win if the Professor knows all their plans. What happens when she finds out the truth?

Hope they release part 2 soon!

Hope they release part 2 soon!

Rating: 8/10