The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Review: Bad Guys

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THE SHORT VERDICT:

Slick, dark, and appropriately fierce, Bad Guys is a short little series that packs a pretty big punch.

Everything is carefully and beautifully filmed, and for the most part, Bad Guys manages to hit that sweet spot where the writing is complex enough to be interesting, yet simple enough to be accessible to the average viewer. Add a pretty excellent cast to flesh out the interesting premise, and Show is a winner in almost every checkbox.

My beef with the show is that it gets too melodramatic at parts, which detracts from its unique brand of cool, and instead places it closer to standard kdrama fare than it needs to be. The cinematography also feels less deliberate as we get into the later episodes. Despite its shortcomings, though, Show remains an interesting and engaging watch.

Gritty and disturbing at times, yet heartening and uplifting at others, Bad Guys manages to be badass with heart.

Bad Guys OST – Reason

THE LONG VERDICT:

From the very first time I laid eyes on this show’s teasers, I’d been intrigued about this show’s premise. I mean, forming a team of “top criminals” to catch other criminals? How cool is that?? I wanted in, like, immediately. 

Happily for me, Show didn’t disappoint. Not much, anyway.

I came into the show hoping for a good amount of badassery, and I got badassery by the truckload. In fact, the first four episodes even exceeded my (already pretty high) expectations, they were so good.

To be sure, Show’s got some flaws, and I didn’t love it consistently or equally all the way through. But when all is said and done, I liked a lot of things about it.

THE EXECUTION

A lot of what I liked – and didn’t like – about the show lies in its execution. And what I liked, I liked a lot. Which is why I thought it necessary to give the loving spotlight where it’s due.

Pluses

Dark Beauty

This show is a curious combination of being starkly gritty, yet arrestingly beautiful at the same time. The quality of the cinematography is razor sharp, and you can literally see every pore and wrinkle on our team of bad boys. And yet, it all looks beautiful.

I love that combination, of grit and polish. There’s just something that feels so bold about it, like, yes, here’s every pore and every wrinkle and every physical flaw that you could spot, but you can’t deny its beauty.

Admittedly, things get violent and sometimes, they also get really bloody, but that’s no surprise, given the show’s subject matter and premise. What I can say is, the blood and gore doesn’t feel gratuitous (unlike Vampire Prosecutor 2, for example); instead, when Show serves up blood or violence, it always feels integral to our story.

Here’s a sampling of screenshots, to show off the dark beauty in the show. There’s often a play of lights, shadows, and angles, which just adds to the very deliberate aesthetic.

One of the things that I really, really liked were the fine touches provided by the camera angles, as well as the editing. This showed up more in the beginning of the show than at the end, so I didn’t feel its presence consistently. But when it was there, I really appreciated the finesse that it added to the show.

[MINOR SPOILER]

Perhaps my favorite instance of this is this scene in episode 2, when Tae Soo (Jo Dong Hyuk) stops in a deserted walkway and tries to imagine the scene as the crime had taken place.

The sequence starts with the camera focusing on Tae Soo’s face as he contemplates the walkway in the daylight.

And then the camera zooms in to his iris, where we see the walkway reflected as it is, in the day. As Tae Soo blinks, the reflection in his eye changes to a night scene; that’s our visual cue that he’s re-imagining the crime scene.

The camera zooms out, and this time, the color palette desaturates as the camera pans around him so that we are aligned with his line of sight; we see his imagined version of the crime, as he sees it.

As he imagines it, he sees himself playing the part of the killer, trailing the woman, stabbing the woman, and crouching over her body.

When his thought sequence ends, the color palette saturates again, and we see Tae Soo in the present, pondering over his thoughts.

So very polished, and clearly, so very thoughtfully conceptualized and executed as well.

Gorgeous.

[END SPOILER]

Narrative & Pacing

From the get-go, Bad Guys serves up fast-paced intensity, and by the end of episode 1, I felt very nicely engaged.

Narratively, we get hints of backstory for the bad boys, and all almost immediately too; this made me curious to know more about each of them. Combined with the dramatic tension provided by the Case of the Day, this made for a very engaging balance for most of the show’s run.

I really liked how, in the midst of dealing with the Case of the Day, the moments of personal story shine through, sometimes when I least expected it.

[SPOILER ALERT] Like how in episode 3, Goo Tak (Kim Sang Joong) is unable to bring himself to check whether the victim is still alive, because of the memories of the moment when he’d checked the vitals of his dead daughter. It’s a poignant moment, built so organically into the narrative. I liked that touch a lot. [END SPOILER]

Tone

The Badassery

As I mentioned earlier, this show has no shortage of badassery (clearly, this is a word I will be using often in this review!). What I like about it is, all the fighting feels organic to the story and characters, and is well-executed and appropriately impressive.

There’s a distinct ease and, well, nonchalance with which our bad boys bring out the badass moves, like this truly is a walk in the park for them, and just another day in their regular lives.

[SPOILER ALERT]

We see it very quickly in episode 1, when Tae Soo and Woong Chul (Ma Dong Suk), who’ve quite literally just met, go together to get information that they need.

Facing a big warehouse full of gangster minion, Woong Chul eyes Tae Soo and casually asks, “Me?” and Tae Soo doesn’t even look back at Woong Chul, and simply answers, “Me.”

And just like that, it’s decided that Tae Soo will front this particular take-down. Tae Soo saunters casually into the warehouse, ahead of Woong Chul.

Our bad boys are clearly outnumbered, but that doesn’t stop them from completely kicking everyone’s ass, and in style too.

With all the minion taken down and groaning on their backs, as a final touch, Tae Soo flings a hammer in the direction of Head Minion, landing it squarely into the notice board behind Head Minion.

Tae Soo cracks his neck from side to side, then evenly looks Head Minion right in the eye. “I won’t ask again. Where is Yang Yu Jin?”

So. Bad. Ass.

[END SPOILER]

The Funny

Despite the predominant mood being of the tough, badass variety, Show injects little spots of humor to balance it out, which I welcomed very much. Even better, sometimes that humor appeared when I least expected it, which just made it all the funnier.

Right away in episode 1, we get a few shots of funny.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Woong Chul, having just very fiercely beaten the information he needed out of a gangster type, suddenly sticks out his tongue at the guy, and grins.

Ha! I nearly bust a gut, I so did not see that coming.

Again in episode 1, we also get a very cute exchange between Tae Soo and Woong Chul, when Tae Soo corrects Woong Chul’s repeated, mistaken use of the phrase “Jack and the Beansprout.” Pfft.

[END SPOILER]

The Heart

There are times in the show where beyond the fierce moves and tough talk, the conversation turns to “softer” things, like helping people, and justice, and hope.

I really like the fact that beyond the gritty badassery, the show has heart. I like even more, that this show of heart doesn’t at all detract from our characters’ combined edginess, since the little moments of thought-provoking statement are delivered with such smirk.

It’s a tough balance to achieve, and Show manages to keep that balance quite nicely most of the way through.

Minuses

Focus, Tone, Melodrama

As we progress through the episodes, there is a distinct shift in the focus of the show. From the cases of the day, the focus turns to cases that actually involve our trio of bad boys.

While I appreciate the sentiment, and am also interested to know more about the boys, I felt that the way it was handled was rather uneven.

Given that the show’s premise was that Team Crazy Dogs was formed in order to solve crimes that were too difficult for regular police to solve, I would’ve liked to see that element sustained through to the end.

In episode 5, all we see are our bad boys wrapping up a drug bust operation, before we get into more personal stuff. I would’ve preferred to see how our boys took down the drug ring, instead of being given just a glimpse of them finishing up.

Instead of keeping the focus on difficult-to-solve cases, the cases thereafter take on a very personal nature, and somewhere in the middle-ish stretch, things get melodramatic. And that, honestly, is my one big disappointment with the show, that it got overly melodramatic.

I felt that this made the tone of the show feel rather uneven, and more importantly, took us into more standard and clichéd kdrama territory, which definitely took away from this show’s cool factor, I felt.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Just for the record, here are some of the things that I found overly melodramatic:

  • Jung Moon’s (Park Hae Jin) persuasion of the shooter in episode 5;
  • Woong Chul’s conversation with his Hyung-nim about not being able to sleep at night because of all the crimes that he’d committed;
  • The whole arc involving Woong Chul and his Hyung-nim, from Hyung-nim threatening him, to Woong Chul surviving, to Woong Chul saving him, to Hyung-nim getting killed anyway;
  • Goo Tak’s entire backstory about his dead daughter. The unveiling of the backstory in episode 9 was played ultra melodramatic, and despite a committed delivery by Kim Sang Joong, I didn’t feel emotionally hooked by it.

Maybe it’s just me, y’know.

It’s very possible that other viewers found these arcs perfectly engaging. For me, though, the heavy-handed melodrama was too stark a shift, after episodes of cool badassery. Essentially, it didn’t feel organic enough to capture my heart.

[END SPOILER]

THE CHARACTERS

Despite my beef with the show’s shift in tone, I really liked the characters; in particular, the mad dogs. And it was the characters and their relationships that kept me invested through to the end.

I really liked that every member of Team Crazy Dogs looked and felt appropriately intense and badass, and just a little bit mad, each in their own ways. I thought that fit the Crazy Dog label nicely.

Here, I’d just like to give the quick spotlight to each of the main characters in this show.

Kim Sang Joong as Oh Goo Tak

Wearing a steely calm, a deadened gaze, and speaking with a consistently sardonic drawl, Kim Sang Joong is pretty great as Goo Tak, the rogue cop whose idea it was in the first place, to gather Team Crazy Dogs together.

Goo Tak is as tough and scary as each of his team members, if not scarier. His methods can be ruthless, and more than once, his actions and decisions left me gaping at his apparent heartlessness and cruelty. Despite his hardened outer shell, though, Goo Tak betrays a soft core that shows itself at times, albeit gruffly.

Kim Sang Joong plays that duality well, moving effortlessly between being a cruel hardass rogue, and revealing his softer side when teaching his mad dogs to actually enjoy saving people. Kim Sang Joong delivers each facet of Goo Tak’s persona with a sardonic ease, and makes that odd duality feel organic in spite of its, well, oddness.

[SPOILER ALERT]

All in all, I thought Kim Sang Joong gave a great performance, and the instance where that first really landed for me, is in episode 3, where we see a flashback of Goo Tak with his daughter in happier days.

In the flashback, he looks so bright and cheerful that he looks and feels like a completely different person.

And then we see Goo Tak, still in flashback, soon after his daughter’s death, and it literally feels like the light is gone from his eyes.

That’s when I thought, “What a great contrast, and what a great performance.”

[END SPOILER]

Ma Dong Suk as Park Woong Chul

Ma Dong Suk is fantastic as Woong Chul, the bulldozer who’d rather let his fists do the talking, but who’s slightly slow on the uptake at times, and who (mostly inadvertently) brings some nice laughs.

Woong Chul is basically a big grizzly bear with a heart, and Ma Dong Suk, with his imposing build, naturally furrowed brow and gravelly voice, is perfectly cast.

[SPOILER ALERT]

The thing I loved most about Woong Chul’s character, is how we become acquainted with his feelings and his conscience as we delve deeper into the episodes.

From being the gangster who single-handedly took over the Seoul underworld with his fists, we see how, by episode 5, it’s actually become important to Woong Chul, for the perpetrators to be brought to justice, even if he’s not the one bringing them to justice. I love that spot of growth, that to him, it’s become more than merely a way to reduce his own jail term, but a real fight for justice. That he believed, in that moment in episode 5, that this was the last thing he could do before he died, just made it all the more meaningful and poignant.

And even though I found Woong Chul’s arc with his Hyung-nim to be on the melodramatic end of the scale, I liked how we saw his loyalty, and beyond that loyalty, his love for his Hyung-nim run so deep.

I just loved Woong Chul being a sentimental softie underneath it all.

[END SPOILER]

Park Hae Jin as Lee Jung Moon

When I’d read that Park Hae Jin had originally been cast in Shin Sung Rok’s Creepy Brother role in You From Another Star, I’d really wondered whether he’d be able to pull off Creepy. After all, I’ve always had him in my mind as Adorable Puppy, ever since his very endearing turn in Famous Princesses (2006).

Well. Here in Bad Guys, Park Hae Jin proves that he does have the capacity to play creepy.

On the upside, Park Hae Jin is suitably cold and unreadable as Jung Moon. On the downside, by mid-series, I got bored with his delivery. We basically don’t see much more than the same cold and unreadable expression on Jung Moon, all series long, and I felt that that was a pity.

Still, in the context of our story, I felt Jung Moon was an interesting character.

[SPOILER ALERT]

His memory lapses form a fundamental piece of the overarching mystery from the very beginning of the show, and even Jung Moon himself isn’t sure whether he’d actually killed the victims.

I liked the reason that Jung Moon gave for accepting the mad dog assignment. “[I want to know] If it’s true that I killed people, then if it’s possible for me to save people. If it will stir my heart if I save people. Because I wanted to know that. That’s why I’m doing this.”

I found it believable – and at the same time, interesting –  for his character, that he would accept a place in Team Crazy Dogs, to know himself.

In spite of my finding that the story hinged too heavily on this mystery, Jung Moon’s search for the truth felt poignant to me. It must have been so frustrating to be unable to remember the truth, and yet be punished so heavily for the elusive missing memory.

For this reason, I found Jung Moon a sympathetic character, in spite of wanting more from Park Hae Jin’s delivery, as well as from his character’s treatment by the narrative.

[END SPOILER]

Jo Dong Hyuk as Jung Tae Soo

Out of the entire team of Crazy Dogs, I found myself liking Tae Soo the most, as a character.

On the shallow end of the scale, I love that Tae Soo is the coolest – and arguably the most formidable – of our mad dogs. He’s the most balanced in terms of smarts, skills and strength, and often manages to keep a cool handle on things even when the others don’t. And I love that on quite a few occasions, it’s his steely confidence and nonchalance that gets through to whomever the mad dogs happen to be dealing with, when others’ efforts fail.

Still on the shallow end of the scale, Jo Dong Hyuk looks fantastic.

Not only does he boast excellent muscle definition, he’s even wearing a non-blurred-out tattoo. I don’t know how he does that. I guess Tae Soo’s so slick that he even managed to circumvent Korean broadcasting guidelines? 😉

On top of the hot bod, his fight moves are the most stylish, and he takes down anyone in his path with an effortless panache which I found quite mesmerizing.

Oof. So! Badass!

To top it all off, Tae Soo’s got a sense of humor, and when he smiles, the fierceness melts away, and we get glimpses of melty cute.

Squee!

Moving on to the not-so-shallow end of the scale, I really liked Jo Dong Hyuk’s portrayal of Tae Soo. Despite Tae Soo’s badass veneer, I found Jo Dong Hyuk’s delivery to be subtle and sincere. I thought that subtlety really suited Tae Soo’s character, because as skillful and badass as Tae Soo is, he’s also the quiet, speak-only-when-necessary, thoughtful type. Jo Dong Hyuk made Tae Soo’s every reaction nuanced and thoughtful, and I liked that a lot.

While this held true throughout the show, I felt that this heartfelt sincerity shone the most during Tae Soo’s personal arc.

[SPOILER ALERT]

The Crazy Dog journey for Tae Soo is essentially a journey of realization, of coming-to-terms, and of healing and repentance.

From a top-notch contract killer who worked alone, we can see Tae Soo warming to the concept of working with the other bad boys. Out of the 3, I felt like Tae Soo was the first to show signs of actually liking the team.

In terms of repentance, we get glimpses of regret with Tae Soo’s lingering connection with Park Sun Jung (Min Ji Ah), the widow of his last victim through most of the show, but his inner agony is only voiced in episode 7 in his face-off with long-time comrade Jong Seok (Jang Sun Ho).

“The sadness of taking someone precious away from them, the agony… the sense of guilt of taking a life of someone dear to them. I… I found out what those emotions felt like, so I just can’t kill anymore.”

Much as Tae Soo regrets his past, it is only with Jong Seok’s death that he finally manages to empathize with Sun Jung’s deep pain of losing someone dear, and of feeling all alone in the world.

His eventual, final apology to Sun Jung is delivered with tears, make-no-excuses unflinching detail, and a deep sorrow that I found heartbreaking and very tragic.

So much pain and regret, and yet no way to fix it. So very sad.

And yet, I see this step by Tae Soo to be an important one, in his personal healing journey. In the absence of forgiveness, which he doesn’t seek, there is closure. Closure both for her, as well as for him. And closure is what I think will enable them both to move forward.

[END SPOILER]

Kang Ye Won as Yoo Mi Young

In the course of this show’s run, I came across a fair bit of viewer sentiment, that Mi Young was an unnecessary character that could’ve been dropped from the show with no loss to our narrative.

While I didn’t like nor hate Mi Young’s character, nor Kang Ye Won’s delivery of her character, in my opinion, I actually thought Mi Young as a character had a distinct use in our story.

In the earlier stretch of the show, Mi Young serves as a barometer. Her incredulous reaction to the formation of the team and the rest of the developments is closer to a normal person’s – closer to our reactions, as viewers. I think that contrast, between her incredulity and Goo Tak’s nonchalance, helps to emphasize just how different and daring an experiment it is, to form Team Crazy Dogs.

Essentially, I think the show needed someone outside Team Crazy Dogs. Someone who was different, and who could not be part of them, to be near them, to bring out that emphasis.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Additionally, in the final leg of the show, Mi Young eventually became an instrument through which Team Crazy Dogs managed to nail Prosecutor Oh (Kim Tae Hoon) for his crimes.

Plus, when all was said and done, we also needed her to be on the outside, not in jail, in a position to help Team Crazy Dogs come out to work their badass magic again. I’d say that’s definitely pretty useful. 🙂

While I wasn’t too crazy about Mi Young’s stiff-upper-lip characterization through much of the show, I have to say that my favorite Mi Young moment, hands-down, was when she came out of nowhere in episode 4, to give smug organ trafficker overlord Madam Hwang (Lee Yong Nyeo) a mean right hook, when Goo Tak couldn’t bring himself to hit a women.

Augh. So satisfying.

Maybe that’s one more reason to have a woman on the team? 😉

[END SPOILER]

TEAM CRAZY DOGS

I think perhaps the best part of the show was seeing Team Crazy Dogs come together, all suspicious and wary of one another, and over the course of the show, actually come to care for one another, no matter how grudgingly.

I found the treatment of the boys’ entry into Team Crazy Dogs quite realistic, at least, in the area of characterization.

[SPOILER ALERT]

For one, I thought it very apt, and quite entertaining, that Woong Chul and Tae Soo began their acquaintance by first eyeing each other suspiciously, and then very quickly, coming to blows.

It reminded me of how two strange alpha dogs might behave when faced with each other; immediately, the question of the alpha between the two needs to be established. I thought this worked so well with the mad dog metaphor.

I also found it amusing that Goo Tak had to keep reining in his mad dogs, from the very beginning, and I thought it made a lot of sense. Each of his mad dogs are extremely strong and efficient, and they have little interest in things like discipline and teamwork. It’s no wonder that things like teamwork and discipline were hard to establish from the get-go.

In the early episodes, as each mad dog kept going off on his own, I was quite amused at the idea that if they just kept tracking one another down and getting their sentences cut each time they did so, that they might soon be walking free. Heh.

Perhaps one of the things that impressed me the most about our mad dogs, aside from all the nifty fight moves, is how extremely useful they were, when it came to getting inside the killer’s head. Time and again, our bad boys demonstrate their skill and experience in psychoanalyzing killers, and I had to think how much more on point they were, compared to regular police investigators.

As a quick example, we have Jung Moon pointing out in episode 2, that if the killer had been captured, that he’d have looked angry because that meant that he would’ve lost to the other serial killer, whom he was trying to beat in terms of body count.

Another example is in episode 7, when Tae Soo quickly and effortlessly lists all the clues to the stabbing, that point to it being professional work. He knows, coz he’s been a professional himself.

I mean, it’s all pretty macabre and yet so spot on. This is why getting bad boys to beat crime had me so intrigued.

On the teamwork front, I loved seeing the mad dogs go from a fractured, independent working style, to eventually coming together to work as a team. Often, that teamwork is facilitated by catalysts like the boys being thrust into death-or-life situations where they are seriously outnumbered. Those were the moments when teamwork was forced to the forefront, and I really enjoyed seeing not only the resulting teamwork, but also, the resulting show of care, under duress.

During these scenes, another thing that struck me, is how lightly our boys seem to hold their very lives. Like in episode 4, when they are dangerously outnumbered by all of Madam Hwang’s minion.

The risk is really high, and they could literally die at any moment throughout the operation, but they jump into it with sardonic wild abandon anyway. It’s bemusing and cool and scary, all at once.

As much as our bad boys show that they hold their own lives lightly, we eventually see that they start to value the lives of their teammates.

We see it in Woong Chul’s continued reluctance to kill Jung Moon, even under threat of his own life, and how he chooses instead, to save Jung Moon.

We see it, too, in the reluctance of both Woong Chul and Tae Soo to kill Goo Tak and Jung Moon respectively in episode 10, after having been fed lies by Prosecutor Oh.

Despite their very experienced and seasoned backgrounds in killing people, and despite the lack of resistance from Goo Tak and Jung Moon, both Woong Chul and Tae Soo are unable to go through with it.

Tae Soo even begs Goo Tak to give him a reason not to kill him, while Woong Chul can’t shake off his gut feel that it’s not right.

We see a similar-but-different dynamic in episode 11, when, after Goo Tak realizes the truth, he apologizes deeply, then hands Jung Moon his own gun, giving Jung Moon the freedom to kill him if he so wishes.

Like the other boys, Jung Moon can’t bring himself to do it.

And I think that’s essentially what distills the eventual relationship between our bad boys. They’ve gotten to the point of being able to put their lives in one another’s hands, literally, with guns and knives.

That’s like a trust-fall on steroids, man.

[END SPOILER]

BACK TO TONE

Now that I’ve talked about the show at large, I thought it’d be apt to go back to tone for a bit. Coz while I’ve talked about the pluses and minuses of the tone, I haven’t mentioned some of these things, which I think fall into a more neutral sort of zone.

See, this show, while being engaging and even a little uplifting, is also dark and disturbing, and can get hard to watch. It basically puts the spotlight on the darker edges of society that most of us prefer not to think about, and being confronted with it can be quite uncomfortable.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Here’s a quick list of a couple of things that I found uncomfortable to watch:

  • The unrelenting spotlight on the human trafficking trade in episode 4. It’s undeniable that such black markets exist, and such practices exist. These aren’t just random things that a scriptwriter dreamed up.
  • Not just the spotlight on the organ trafficking per se, but the manner in which the characters talk about it. They talk about organ trafficking in a chillingly casual manner, as if they’re talking about picking up the morning paper, and I find that plenty disturbing.
  • The Heartless City-like world in which this drama exists. Dirty cops are a given, and we even get a dirty SWAT team. I found the idea of a dirty SWAT team particularly disturbing, coz aren’t they the elite force to call when things go really wrong?

While part of me reveled in the seamless way this world felt matched to the world of Heartless City (review here), and wished for Baksa to make a crossover appearance (seriously, how fantastic would that have been?), I can’t deny that it’s sobering and disturbing to be faced with the fact that there really is such a dark and disturbing side to the world in which we live. That daily, there are people being trafficked ruthlessly for money. That maybe, there really is a dirty SWAT team somewhere, among the dirty cops that do exist in our world.

On top of this, all the internal attempts of coup d’état made this drama world feel extra unstable and dangerous. By extension, that sense of instability carried over a little bit, to my perception of the world in which I live. And I began to think that maybe, the world in which I live might not be as stable as I’d like to think.

[END SPOILER]

THEMES

In its own badass way, Show raises some thought-provoking questions and themes.

Like, what constitutes truth? What constitutes justice? And what constitutes culpability?

[SPOILERS THROUGH THE END OF THE REVIEW]

In episode 4, Goo Tak’s moral lesson to the IT staffer manning the CCTV console is thought-provoking. Even though the IT guy says he’s just a staff and doesn’t actually get involved in organ trafficking, Goo Tak’s point is that he’s equally culpable because he allows it to happen.

Which begs the thought-provoking question: if we’re not actively doing something against all the bad stuff in the world, does that make us culpable for standing by and letting it happen on our watch?

The reveal in episode 10, that Goo Tak is not certain of what he remembers, totally puts in question everything the show has revealed up to that point. At the same time, this poses the question of what constitutes truth. Is there such a thing as an objective truth, or is all truth tainted by our perception and memory of it?

And of course, there’s the reasoning of Big Bad Prosecutor Oh, who considers all of his dirty deeds a process of meting out true justice where the courts have failed to do so. Which raises the question: what is justice? Who gets to decide what constitutes justice?

All thought-provoking questions, which I found very interesting to chew on.

THE ENDING

While Prosecutor Oh turning out to be the real psycho and the true Big Bad wasn’t completely unexpected, I thought the show did a good job of making his entrapment plausible, and wrapping up loose ends.

I particularly liked the way the team lured Dr. Kim (Nam Sung Jin) out to the car; I thought it was pretty genius, and I love it when the team looks smart.

At the same time, I found the truth chilling. It’s so twisted, that Prosecutor Oh was using Jung Moon as a scapegoat, and in such a calculated, deliberate, pre-meditated way. The man may think he’s meting out justice, but I think he’s evil.

Overall, I found the show and its ending a little – sometimes a lot – more melodramatic than I felt was absolutely necessary, but the story gets tied up quite tightly, and the ending is open enough.

And in the end, Goo Tak’s words to Mi Young summarize quite nicely, our bad boys’ collective road to redemption:

“We’ve decided to live like people, even if we only get to live for one more day and die. If there’s a crime we’ve committed, we’ll boldly accept punishment, reflect, and receive forgiveness. That’s how we live a new life. Isn’t that what it is to be nice? Heaven will acknowledge us if we’re not bad guys.”

In terms of a sequel, I don’t think the show needs one, in that this ending feels satisfying enough. But I honestly wouldn’t mind another season of watching these mad dogs solving crime together. Coz this time, they would’ve already worked through all their angsty backstories, and would be able to focus more on kicking underworld ass, while nurturing some long-overdue bromance.

Now, that’s a show I would like to see. 😉

THE FINAL VERDICT:

More melodramatic at times than necessary, but so polished, gritty and badass, that it’s still all worthwhile.

FINAL GRADE: B+

VISUAL TREATS:

Short trailers

Here’s a quick trailer that gives a great feel for the badass vibe of the show:

And just coz I can, here’s an additional (gratuitous, for me anyway) trailer featuring just Jo Dong Hyuk, mostly coz he’s quite mesmerizing without his shirt 😉

Longer Glimpses of Badassery: MVs

Here are a couple of MVs which I consider only moderately spoilery, particularly if you don’t understand Korean. There are snippets of dialogue used as voiceovers in both MVs which could be potentially spoilery if you understood them, so fair warning.

On the upside, you get a glimpse of Team Crazy Dog’s brand of badassery as they declare war on crime, on their own terms. Be warned, though, that there’s a fair amount of blood in these MVs. It’s one thing to have these bloody scenes (& the fight scenes too, for that matter) show up more spaced out in the show, but quite another to have it all spliced together tightly into an MV. The effect can feel like it’s a little too much, but you just need to keep in mind that it’s not as overwhelming when you’re actually watching the show.

Enjoy:

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

10 thoughts on “Review: Bad Guys

  1. I liked Bad Guys a lot but it wasn’t instant love like with VP. 🙂 I don’t know what made S1 of VP hit so hard and the love did not diminish on repeat viewings either. It also carried over to S2, which wasn’t really quite as engaging. Bad Guys is probably more in line of TEN, though I think TEN still has the edge and is somehow more ‘my thing’. Forever sad panda that S3 of either has not materialised yet. 😦

    The best part of Bad Guys was definitely The Team – I love Teams. *g* Wouldn’t mind a second season.

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    • Yes, I’d have to agree with you about VP having more of an instant love effect on me, more than Bad Guys. I somehow have a bigger soft spot for VP. I think that might have something to do with Yeon Jung Hoon being so awesome as our vampire prosecutor! 😉 I still haven’t seen TEN, despite having every intention of checking it out (need more drama hours, seriously!), so that might be part of the reason that I took to Bad Guys a little more than you did, since I couldn’t compare with TEN & all. I didn’t like how melodramatic this got at times, but I definitely wouldn’t mind checking out a second season of this bad boy team working together, grudgingly combining their badassery to fight crime! ^^

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      • You might have something there – I think Yeon Jung Hoon was born to play the smexy Proz. 😄

        TEN is… much more psycholgial, it messes with your head. It’s also more cerebral and nowhere near as ‘action’ as Bad Guys. The TEN guys tend to use their brains rather than their fists. 🙂 Though there are ‘monsters’ a-plenty in TEN too. The first episode is 2 hours long and looks like a full movie, it’s visually rather stunning.

        Who doesn’t need more dramahours?!

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        • YES. I can’t imagine anyone else in the role, and also, I find it hard to see him in any other role, actually! 😄 Yeon Jung Hoon IS the smexy Proz!

          TEN sounds really interesting, actually.. Plus my mum really liked S1, which makes me more curious about it. I just need more drama hours to actually get to watching it! I’ve got so many dramas on my “Ooh! Wanna watch!” List – which just keeps growing – that I’m always falling more and more behind! 😄 Someday, TEN, I will appreciate you! *punches air idealistically*

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  4. “Maybe it’s just me, y’know.” Nope.

    I actually managed to find someone who didn’t like “Bad Guys”, but their review pointed out what allegedly didn’t work which was actually what I enjoyed about the show and you worded everything perfectly. I do think that if the show hadn’t been produced, it might have let go of the overmelodramatic aspect. When you’re running out of time, you go straight to the point, especially with so many fight scenes that take days to shoot.

    For once, while I agree it’s a bit sad that the one case-a-week didn’t live on while we were expmoring the backstories, I must say that I couldn’t imagine another way it could have been done. I guess it hapeens to you too. While watching a drama, you sometimes think “naaaah it should have been this or that”… Well, I can say about “Bad Guys” that it could have been more this, less that but I have no idea of the how… That’s how I know the drama really worked for me no matter what.

    Tae Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo… the kind of character who makes me want to say oppaaaaa

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    • Aw, yay that you feel the same way about Bad Guys, Sunny!! I think this show actually fell under a lot of people’s radars, so a little more Bad Guy love in the house is always welcome! And you’re very right.. while it’s easy to point out what I didn’t think worked so well for the show, it’s actually really hard to offer a solid, detailed alternative that would’ve worked better than what was served up. Like, I didn’t think it needed to get so melodramatic, but then, what would our narrative hook be? If Show had just used the premise of Team Crazy Dogs without the melodramatic backstory, would it have worked? Would it have engaged us as much, with the characters? All interesting questions that I don’t have the answers for.

      I do think Bad Guys did well, all things considered. And TOTALLY, Tae Soo was absolutely my favorite of the bunch! We have similar – and very good! – taste, my friend! 😄

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