I’m bailing early, again. Hmm.
The thing is, I’d liked Bad Guys quite a bit, and was genuinely curious to see what this spin-off would bring to the table, with its similar premise and different cast of characters. Would it be just as cool and gritty as Season 1, while being similar-but-different, and would the bad guys be as interesting, I wondered.
Just one episode in, and I just don’t think this one is for me, y’all. I mean, I barely made it through the episode. Eek.
THE BETTER STUFF
This is a hard section for me, because, well, I really didn’t like episode 1 much at all. But for the record, this is what I’ve got:
1. I have a great deal of affection for Kim Moo Yul because of his impressive turn in My Beautiful Bride, and it was rather nice to have him on my screen again.
2. The teasers didn’t lie; Joo Jin Mo looks absolutely arresting in this. He emanates So Much strong male charisma and swagger, without have to say very much at all. Very impressive.
3. Ji Soo looks good, for the few seconds that he appears in episode 1; leaner, scruffier, and promisingly badass.
Clearly, any goodwill I have for this show is mostly actor-driven, heh.
THE STUFF THAT DIDN’T WORK FOR ME
So. My expression while watching episode 1, is probably kinda similar to the expression that Kim Moo Yul’s wearing in the still above, ha. Basically, I felt as confused and bemused as he looks.
The directing is pretty stylized, which is not a bad thing per se. This PD definitely has a style that he’s gunning for, with all the intersplicing of clips. In the case of episode 1, we get a more traditional timeline, of Jin Pyeong (Kim Moo Yul) experiencing his first day at work, interspliced with random-feeling clips of various murders and crimes. The overall effect, for me, was more confusing than intriguing, unfortunately.
Also, the set-up is such that everyone around Jin Pyeong basically doesn’t bother to tell him anything, and gets annoyed when he asks basic, reasonable questions, like, where they’re taking him, and why. That irked me, and quite a bit. I disliked that the withholding of information was being served up as cool and edgy, because it’s not. It’s presumptuous and really annoying, to me anyway.
Additionally (and this is a biggie, for me), there is a truckload of violence in episode 1. There is so much fighting, and slashing, and hitting, and bleeding, and stabbing. With so little context provided, all of this violence felt like it was inserted for its shock value, rather than for an actual narrative purpose. I didn’t like that much at all.
This heavy-handedness with the blood and violence gave me flashbacks to Vampire Prosecutor 2, and not in a good way. Basically, VP2 had felt try-hard and excessive with its use of blood, gore and violence, and it had all felt to me, like Show had been trying to shock its audience into thinking that it was cooler than the first season of Vampire Prosecutor. Which – in my opinion – it wasn’t, by far.
I got the same vibe here, unfortunately.
To top everything off, PD-nim uses A LOT of very shaky camerawork, which literally gave me a headache before I even reached the end of the episode. I also didn’t care for the fact that the lighting in the bulk of the scenes was very dim.
DECIDING ON GOODBYE
I randomly peeked at several other episodes, and the general directing style seems to be largely the same as what I sampled in episode 1.
I’m pretty sure that if I’d hung in there with this one, that I would’ve probably found some nice teamwork and camaraderie nuggets among the team of bad guys. But I just can’t bring myself to. The bottom line is, even if I can get past the violence, I can’t stomach the shaky camerawork. I arbitrarily picked a scene in episode 8, which wasn’t even a fight scene, but a scene of two characters just standing there and talking to each other, and I could feel the camera floating. Did not like.
Sorry, Show. I think you’re just not for me. Even though you do seem to have a handful of charismatic leading men, I’m pretty sure I’d be happier just breaking up with you.