via Naver, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73783277
By Charles Earley
With Netflix releasing a continuous stream of original series every month, Korean dramas have firmly established themselves as essential "must-see" television. Known for their gripping storytelling, intense and sometimes extreme visuals, and unapologetic filming style, Korean films leave audiences with something to talk about long after the credits roll.
Netflix has plans to invest a staggering $2.5 billion over the next four years on Korean TV series, films, and nonfiction shows. June 2023's release, Bloodhounds, is a prime example of the company's commitment to Korean content. Infused with an engaging storyline, exhilarating boxing action, and a perfect dose of humor, this Korean TV series promises an irresistible binge-watching experience, guaranteed to keep you at the edge of your seat.
“Bloodhound” refers to someone who relentlessly pursues those who borrow money from loan sharks. The Netflix series of the same name is a crime-action thriller about two down-and-out boxers, Gun-woo played by actor Woo Do-hwan, and Woo-jin played by Lee Sang-yi. The unlikely pair team up as bloodhounds to take down a ruthless loan shark who preys on the poor.
Each episode is around eight hours long and seamlessly builds on each other, creating a cohesive and suspenseful plot.
Dialogue between characters complemented the action scenes well, blending heartfelt emotion, humor, and banter. The characters’ words revealed their inner thoughts and motivations, adding depth and complexity to the story. Bloodhounds captivates its audience with a strong emphasis on character development, keeping viewers thoroughly engaged from start to finish."
Set against the backdrop of post-COVID South Korea, a struggling economy has left many people desperate for money, creating a breeding ground for loan sharks. Antagonist Kim Myeong-gil, a wealthy and powerful loan shark, exploits the desperation of business owners affected by the pandemic by offering loans with ridiculous repayment terms. His predatory business model is designed to trap people in debt and build his own wealth at the expense of the poor and vulnerable.
The protagonists Kim Gun-woo and Hong Woo-jin, are boxers who served in the Marines. They forge an unexpected bond following an entertaining boxing match. When Gun-woo’s mother becomes a victim of Myeong-gil’s loan sharking scam. He and his friend Woo-jin, are drawn into the dangerous underworld of loansharking to take down Myeong-gil’s criminal organization.
Gun-woo is a reserved, respectful, and disciplined boxer, while Woo-jin is more outgoing and flamboyant. Despite their contrasting personalities, they complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses well, forming a formidable bond as they fight together for justice against Kim Myeong-gil.
The fight scenes in Bloodhounds are truly exceptional. Its combat sequences are not only skillfully choreographed, but also impressively authentic, showcasing the actors’ rigorous boxing training. Where the series excels is conveying the electrifying thrill, raw intensity, and techniques that accompany the sport of boxing.
What sets Bloodhounds apart is the emotional depth infused into its boxing narrative. The film utilizes the sport as a means for its two protagonists, Gun-woo and Woo-jin, to pursue their dreams and overcome their personal struggles.
Gun-woo boxes to support his family and escape poverty, while Woo-jin boxes to prove his worth and find his place in the world. The boxing scenes do a masterful job of showcasing each character’s unique fighting style and inner determination. As a result, every punch thrown resonates with profound meaning and personal significance.
Why you must watch
Bloodhounds emerges as a multifaceted gem in the realm of Korean dramas, delivering an exhilarating blend of heart-pounding action, engaging storytelling, and poignant social commentary. With its dynamic duo of protagonists, Gun-woo and Woo-jin, the series not only captures the essence of an adrenaline-fueled thriller but also delves into the intricacies of human relationships, showcasing the power of genuine camaraderie amidst tumultuous circumstances.
The show’s ability to seamlessly weave together intense fight sequences, nuanced character development, and a thought-provoking narrative is a testament to its prowess. Its dedication to exploring pertinent societal issues, such as the perils of loan sharks and economic disparities, further elevates its impact, making it more than just a gripping drama but also a mirror reflecting contemporary challenges.
For both avid enthusiasts and newcomers to the world of Korean drama, Bloodhounds stands as a shining example of the genre’s potential, offering a rollercoaster ride of emotions, adrenaline, and profound introspection.