Sunday, 14 January 2018

Black (블랙) [KDRAMA Review]

"Black" is a Korean crime and supernatural drama which does many things right, but equally as many things bad. Let's take a look at the 2017 drama starring Song Seung-Heon as "Black" and Go Ara as "Kang Ha-Ram".

Each episode runs for over an hour, leaving ample time to introduce new characters and tie up lose ties. That being said, the show doesn't always use the hour and something to make a good show.

The plot is solid, straight up until the later episodes when it loses the, well, plot. The first focus of the show was that of a detective show. Of course, supernatural events are tossed in there for good measure but the initial thought is the show will be an interesting crime show. That's not entirely the case. Although the show does start of with the main characters trying to prevent deaths from occurring, it soon loses the "fun and exciting" aspect, turning the show much darker

Unfortunately, "Black" suffers from the cliches all other romantic Korean drama series suffer from. The main female lead is already smitten in Song Seung-Heon's character, and without spoiling, the show tries to focus on them and their romance. It doesn't seem right in a series like this, where murders occur constantly and there's danger around every corner. Instead of being implemented in a good way, it seems rushed and misplaced.

Of course, despite a weak ending and misplaced romance, the show does offer a good plot for the most part. There's the occasional mistake, which makes you confused. Due to the mistake, the story doesn't make complete sense. The editing is well-done and it keeps you on your toes. It shows how powerful editing really is and how you should be careful not to trust anything at face value. Just because the show makes you think it's character A on the other side of the phone, it might also be character F.

In addition to the editing, the plot twists and changing of allegiances is done flawless. There's certain times we hate a person, only to sympathies with them later on. Of course, this doesn't mean they're not A-holes, but the actors are that good. There's several times this has happened; the mom of Go Ara's character, the brother of Kim Dong-Joon's character and so on. There's certain plot twists which still leaves a bad feeling in my mouth and the big reveal towards the end still makes me think, "how could she do that to him?". In my opinion, that shows the potential of the series and how effective the plot twists actually are.

Most of the events in the show are re-visited through the eyes of other characters. This is also a good way to get a perspective on the events and to get the "full story". It leaves you with a sense of "aha" and a good feeling to know how things really happened. Despite this, the drama is confusing with a bunch of names and their history to keep in mind.

Before the review is wrapped up, Song Seung-Heon's acting needs to be praised. He plays two characters, "Black", and "Han Moo-Gang". It's not easy to play one character but to play two in the same show takes skills. His acting truly shines because you believe he's the character - not that the other character is playing him.

 Go Ara's character isn't bad, but she's a typical character who has "no plans on dying", yet stupidly rushes straight after a killer and gets, surprisingly, almost killed. In the show she's also seen randomly rushing into a coma ward after her mom, yelling some angry words at her, then rushing out and moping. She's not the worst female character, but she's certainly not a remarkable one and is quite stereotypical of a "strong female character" - headstrong and can't think before acting.

"BLACK" isn't suitable for children. The series touches upon sexual assault, blackmailing, murder, kidnapping, pedophilia and more. The show is out on Netflix and finished airing on December 10th.

Do I recommend the series? Yes. However, the ending is bad and doesn't do the show justice. Between 1-10, the drama series gets a 7.5. The low rating is given due to the ending pulling the show down, mixed with the occasional cheesy bits which just doesn't fit.

Disclaimer: This review reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of

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