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Bad_Guys_(Korean_Drama)-p1

 

It doesn’t seem all that long ago when I caught this high octane, no holds barred blood and guts fest from OCN. Since then it seems to have developed something of a cult following not so much because of the whodunit side of things (which is entertaining enough) but because of the character dynamics. Detective Oh Goo-tak, a known maverick in the force, nicknamed “Mad Dog”, is tasked with grabbing the scummiest of criminal scum after the police chief loses his son to the murderous whims of a serial killer. Much to the chagrin of his “babysitter”, Inspector Yoo Mi-young, Oh Goo-tak scours the local prison(s) for his talent pool: Park Woong-cheol, a former gangbanger; Lee Jung-moon, a genius level psychopath; Jung Tae-su, a slippery ex-contract killer who, for unknown reasons, turned himself in. The cast as a whole is fantastic. It boasts the likes of Kim Sang-joong, Ma Dong-seok, Park Hae-jin, Jo Dong-hyuk and Kang Shin-il who are perfectly cast in their roles. Less impressive is the expressionless Gang Ye-won as the only female crime fighter on the team’s roster.

 

The premise of using “bad guys” (convicts) to catch other “bad guys” (unconscionable criminals that continue to roam the streets committing wanton mayhem) is made more interesting by the fact that Goo-tak is particularly selective about who he picks. As the show progresses, it’s clear that the 3 men are interconnected in some fashion and Goo-tak has his own agenda playing in the background. This entire exercise as one might expect is related to a personal grievance. It should be said too that Goo-tak lives up to his nickname often pushing the boundaries of the law in his fervour to deal out his brand of vigilante justice. Further on the title, it is an intentional part of the show’s DNA to consider how “bad guys” are made. Although the exploration of evil here isn’t profoundly philosophical, I am reminded of what Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once wrote. “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” There’s a clear acknowledgment all throughout the story that it doesn’t take much for anyone to cross the line and fall into the clutches of crime. If there’s a negative to this terrific drama, it’s perhaps the implausibility of the villain… the ultimate “bad guy” but it’s not a huge deal for me because it can be seen as part and parcel of the narrative to explore the corruptibility of evil.

 

 

With the combination of skill-sets Goo-tak puts together, the team is an overnight success and there are plenty of good action sequences to be had. They catch killers, break up crime syndicates and rescue victims of crime. Their success doesn’t go unnoticed and soon a shrewd prosecutor Oh Jae-won (Kim Tae-hoon) comes knocking on Goo-tak’s door wanting to get in on the action. Of course he too has his motives for doing this and shows an inexplicably keen interest in Lee Jung-moon, who was convicted not only of killing his own parents but a whole lot of others as well.

 

The best part of the drama for me and the most emotionally satisfying aspect of the drama would be the backstories of our favourite convicts. Not only does each character have their shining moment in the present day exploits but we are given glimpses of their past as their stories and connections unfold in the present. My personal favourite among them would have to be Tae-su’s (ex-contract killer) arc. We are given insight into why he turned himself in and where he got his start in the trade. Jo Dong-hyuk surprised me with his multifaceted performance here. Not to mention a thoroughly genuine badass.The lesson from each of their stories is hammered home repeatedly. Even “bad guys” have their limits, their loyalties and their loves. 

 

The good news too is that “bad guys” are not irredeemable. Whatever led them to commit crimes against their fellow humans, they are capable of change to the point that they can make the world a better place to live. Perhaps what they need is a miracle of second chances and in this case, a miracle in the very flawed person of Oh Goo-tak.

 

Overall, the cinematography is something to behold, resembling a big screen production than a television show more often than not. It boasts some great set pieces especially in the punishing fight scenes. The atmosphere is moody and bleak right from the word “go” and is relentless in that regard. Bad Guys plays like panels in an adult graphic novel in its harsh presentation of criminal elements and the people that inhabit that underbelly of society that’s seldom referred to in polite company. It’s there and thankfully most of us would never have to deal with it because of the unsung heroes that walk our streets and protect them.

 

Bad Guys is now available on Netflix.

 

Plot/Story: 8.5

Storytelling: 10

Cast: 9.5

Production Values: 10

Rewatch Value: 8 (I’ve watched it at least 3 times)

 

BadGuys06-00400a

 

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Currently Watching:  She and Her Perfect Husband, The King of Pigs, Reborn Rich, Under the Queen's Umbrella, Thank You Doctor

My Drama Blog

 

"Love is not an affectionate feeling but a steady wish for the loved person's good as far as it can be obtained." -- CS Lewis.

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i love this drama! My first OCN drama, and the first time I actually noticed Park Hae Jin and Ma Dong Seok. I originally tuned in because Kim Sang Joong is so relentlessly intense in whatever role he finds himself in, and he's totally outstanding here as the Mad Dog who pieces his unit of convicts together to chase down the worst of society. I agree that Kang Ye Won didn't really shine here, but there was a lot of competition for screen time.

 

The other thing that I enjoy about this drama actually is that despite the bleakness and the relentless pacing of brutal fight scenes, it's actually not as dark as I was expecting. There are moments, beats perhaps, of humor and unexpected tenderness as well. It was unexpected how much I enjoyed getting to know these flawed characters.

 

Thank you for the review!

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Thanks for writing this @40somethingahjumma . Like @stroppyse this was also my first OCN drama (and I have become a fan of a lot of their dramas thereafter) . I started watching this because I was on a Park Hae Jin fever, and was going through his works. And I was so glad I did. He played his role to chilling perfection because there were times when I wondered if we could really trust his character ,Jung Moon. Did  Detective Oh make the right call in using a serial killer to help him catch the bad guys? This was definitely a groundbreaking idea, and one of the reasons this drama was so interesting.

I too came to love Tae Soo - his back story kept me emotionally invested in this action packed drama. Loved this scene :D

 

 

 

Still one of the best OCN dramas for me ( my other favourites are Life on Mars and Tunnel) 

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Mon-Tues: Curtain Call Wed-Thurs: Love is for Suckers, Revenge for Others Fri-Sat: First Responders Sat-Sun: Under The Queen's Umbrella  C-drama: - Daily: The Love In Your Eyes

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Oooohh... nice one! @abs-oluteM One of my favourite bits from the drama. Anything in Tae-su's hand becomes a weapon.

 

One of these days I will write about my first OCN drama. Tune in next time... same Bat channel.

  • Like 1
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Currently Watching:  She and Her Perfect Husband, The King of Pigs, Reborn Rich, Under the Queen's Umbrella, Thank You Doctor

My Drama Blog

 

"Love is not an affectionate feeling but a steady wish for the loved person's good as far as it can be obtained." -- CS Lewis.

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