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)

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

Yaksha Ruthless Operations (2022)

Profile:
Movie: Yaksha: Ruthless Operations (야차)
Release Date: April 8, 2022
Genre: Spy / Action
Distributor: Netflix

Main Cast
Sol Kyung Gu – Yaksha/Ji Kang In
Park Hae Soo – Han Ji Eun
Hiroyuki Takeuchi – Yoshinobu Ozawa
Yang Dong Geun – Chief Hong
Lee El – Hui Won
Song Jae Rim – Jae Kyu
Jin Young – Jong Dae
Lee Soo Kyung – Moon Ju Yeong
Kim Jong Man – Ryeon Hui

Review:
“Justice has to be preserved by any means necessary.”

This movie is about a prosecutor being sent to Shenyang to investigate the Korean team but he ends up in the middle of a war between Sokor, Nokor and Japanese spies.

Sol Kyung Gu is so cool in this movie while Haesu’s straight laced character started off as clueless (how many times was he fooled throughout the movie?). But he later learns and joins hands with Yaksha to defeat the enemy. The story was confusing because we didnt exactly know what was happening but it all makes sense later on.

The betrayals were predictable, same with using chemical factory as the final scene so they can blow up the factory 😆. But still enjoyed watching.

Rating: 8/10

Squid Game (2021)

Profile
Drama: Squid Game (오징어 게임)
Network: Netflix
Episodes: 9
Release Date: September 17, 2021
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot
Players compete in dangerous children games for a chance to win billions of money.

Main Cast
Lee Jung Jae – Sung Gihun
Park Hae Soo – Cho Sangwoo
Jung Ho Yeon – Kang Saebyuk
Wi Ha Joon – Hwang Junho
Heo Sung Tae – Jang Deok Soo
Oh Young Soo – Oh Il Nam
Kim Joo Ryung – Han Min Nyeo
Tripati Anupam – Ali
Lee Byung Hun – Host

Review
Much have been said about this drama so I’m not going to dissect and analyze the drama in detail. I loved the six games and how each game levelled up the intensity and danger. I had no clue what the story was all about since I was able to avoid spoilers when this first came out. So when the first game started, the red light green light and shots were fired, I was as shocked as the contestants!! I think this was the perfect game to start it all. I felt as tense as everyone and was praying that they all get to the finish line safely! I honestly probably would have died in the first game! 😅

The second game, honeycomb was a little boring. I remember shouting at my TV, just lick the honeycomb so it will melt! I was so surprised when Gihun did exactly that!! By then I knew I couldn’t trust Sangwoo! He didn’t even bother to tell his neighbor/friend or help him even when he knew what the game was! A lot of people hated the thug but I actually liked him haha! (or maybe because I’ve watched Heo Sung Tae in variety shows and I know he is the exact opposite of his villain characters).

The third game, tug of war, was probably my favorite. It reminded me of when we used to play this game in high school! and the minute I saw they will be playing the game at such high place, really just amped the brutality of the drama.

Fourth game the marbles, had me crying. They’ve somehow built a bond the past few days. and knowing one of them had to die so the other can live was a tough pill to swallow. Sangwoo totally betrayed Ali (though I think Ali was too naive), even Gihun ending up betraying the old man to live. Saebyuk only came out alive because the other girl sacrificed herself. I was so stressed every single game, but knowing that the main leads won’t die until the very end made me a little less stressed.

And that’s the downside of this drama. I thought that the main lead mostly passed the levels because of luck or through someone else. Green light, Ali held him up. Honeycomb he barely made it. Tug of War, they were saved by the old man and Sangwoo. Marbles, he didn’t know it back then but the old man saved him. Glass bridge, yup, Sangwoo again. I honestly thought Sangwoo if we were to judge the perfomance of each other, Sangwoo deserved the money. He was strategic but he’s not the lead so in the end he lost against the “morally nice” guy.

Also Saebyuk, the actress became instantly famous for this role and I’m scratching my head why. Her character didn’t do anything memorable either. She barely spoke a word, had the same look on her face the entire time. Like Gihun, she also was lucky the whole time and made it to the last game because of Gihun and Sangwoo. But I’m not hating on the actress, it’s the character I’m wondering why is popular.

I wasn’t sure what was the message the writer wants to tell us. At one point I thought the lesson of the show was to learn to share and not be too greedy. Or find a way to work together and get out alive not kill each other and they will all get the money. But I was wrong both times since I realized there could only be one winner.

I was so disappointed at Gihun! After all the blood sweat and tears, Gihun sat on the money for a year and didn’t use them because he felt guilty and morally wrong to spend the money that killed lots of people! Hello!! He should have kept his promise to the people who had to die for him to live. At least pay off Sangwoo’s debts, give money to the mother, and get Saebyeok’s brother out of the orphanage. Live a better life. Go see his daughter and be a good father. Use the money for a good cause. Create a foundation that will help people like him so they won’t be desperate enough to join this dangerous game.

Another disappointment was the reveal of the main guy. I was already suspicious of him since there was a scene where the VIPs arrived and the host said the owner can’t join because he is busy and even though we only see the owner’s back, you can definitely see the white hair peeking from his mask. But his final conversation with Gihun in the abandoned tower was weird. His explanation didn’t make sense. Why go through all of that and kill hundreds of people every time just for the fun of it? So that he can feel something? BS.

Other things that were not explained and maybe a prequel like what they did with Kingdom Ashin of the North would be good. Like how did Inho become the host? And I didn’t realize that Inho was older than Junho. All throughout the drama, I was wondering who the host was. I thought the english was so familiar but I couldn’t remember the actor. So when I saw it was Lee Byung Hun, it was a facepalm moment to me!! Speaking of Junho, I thought he was there to save the day, like he will collaborate with Gihun and crack the case. Turns out, he had a separate story that didn’t feel connected with the rest. How was he able to go around the house without getting caught and without eating, showering, pooping, peeing and survive? And the whole organ transplant thing was another plot that wasn’t explored. And the VIPS were cringy and horrendous.

Overall, this was fantastic drama except for the final episode.

Rating: 8/10