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K-drama review: My Name - Netflix

My Name is a Korean neo-noir drama series produced by the global streaming giant, Netflix. The eight-part series explores the urban tale of a daughter who is driven with revenge after she witnessed her father’s death from a mysterious killer. 

Read along this Singapore news to find out about this new offering from Netflix.

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The thriller is an intricate story of what great lengths a daughter goes through for her family which is a common element in most Asian films and series nowadays. 

Emerging star Han So-hee who is known for Nevertheless and The World of the Married is delivering her first acting role since she started her career. 

She played Yoon Ji-woo, a plain student who dropped out of high school when she found out that her father is secretly a drug dealer. Her world turned upside-down when she saw her father getting killed in front of their door, she is forced to witness the murder while helplessly looking through a keyhole.

When she lost her faith to the police because they were unable to find her father’s killer, she enlisted the help of Choi Mu-jin (Park Hee-soon). Mu-jin is the ringleader of a crime syndicate Dongcheon, he is also his father’s old friend. 

Dramatic Turn of Events

Ji-woo then joined the gang and she trained in hand-to-hand combat along with a new recruit. She proved herself worthy when she won in an underground cage fight. Mu-jin gave her the assignment to infiltrate the police to find her father’s killer, he also gave her the gun used to kill her father.

In the police, she took a new identity, Oh Hye-jin, and after five years, she was transferred to the narcotics team of Inchang Police Department, she was paired with Jeon Oil-do (Ahn Bo-hyun). 

Things started to escalate when her fellow recruit Do Gang-Jae (Chang Ryul), whom she defeated in the fight and thrown out after he attempted to rape her came back. He is now the head of a new gang and became a threat to the Dongcheon.

The rest of the story dances to her deteriorating morality and her coming to terms with the secrets of her father and the drug cartel that she considered her new family.

Themes and Inspirations

A lot of Korean cinema is centered on stories about family and the kind of families we create. Like any Korean drama, the climax of the story revolves around the revelation of the family’s dark secrets or trauma, which in this case is her father’s secrets. The twist is reminiscent of another Korean thriller, Oldboy, which became a worldwide hit.

The creators adapted the stories and visual tropes from local revenge hits such as The Man from Nowhere, A Bittersweet Life, and I Saw the Devil. They were also inspired by the action scenes from Daredevil, The Villainess, and Atomic Blonde. The common themes from these inspirations became the backdrop of the thrill and drama of this series.

Overall Review

At some point, the central character of Ji-woo was created from an unrealistic mold as she went along in the narrative getting stabbed and shot multiple times but always coming out fine every time. Nevertheless, Ji-woo is not your typical plain Jane who ended up being such a femme fatale for nothing but her motivations are clear right from the start, which added depth to this character.

Designed for a global audience to become a hit because of the fame of Han So-hee and the success of Squid Game, My Name doesn’t exactly deliver something fresh but still, it is a decent series fit for binge-watching.

As a revenge-driven neo-noir, the series is an indicator that the contents of Korean television series are becoming more aggressive and global in appeal. 

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