The Netflix K-drama on the surface might be a simple, straightforward revenge saga, but is one that benefits from the lead star and some superlative action sequences
Earlier this year, Han So-Hee starred in the K-drama Nevertheless where she played a college-goer caught in a turbulent relationship, confused about life and love. However, in the recent Netflix release My Name, So-Hee makes you forget she ever was the young, delicate student from the previous show.
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The eight-episode action-packed crime noir drama is unsurprisingly brutal and often, predictable. The writing though, remains consistently pacy, which perfectly meets the demands of the genre, and packs in quite a punch.
To avenge her father’s death, Yoon Ji-Woo (So-Hee) joins the Dongcheon crime syndicate headed by Choi Mu-Jin (Park Hee-Soon) and later on, changes her identity and enrolls in the police force. It’s a simple enough story and the focus remains trained on Ji-Woo’s obsession with revenge, so much so that we are hardly allowed to dwell on anything else. The show moves quickly between fights, drugs, deaths, and big reveals.
This works, and sometimes is My Name’s undoing, since it results in the show remaining one-note throughout. The little sunlight that the darkly-lit crime drama has, is through Jeon Pil-Do (a very likable Ahn Bo-Hyun) a narcotics detective who becomes So-Hee’s partner. There’s a very telling scene where he earnestly tells Ji-Woo it’s important for people in their line of work to have hobbies. Nothing could have summed up Ji-Woo’s vengeance-driven life better.
- Director: Kim Jin-min
- No. of episodes: 8
- Cast: Han So-Hee, Ahn Bo-Hyun, Park Hee-Soon
- Plot: To avenge the death of her father, a woman joins the police force and attempts to unmask his killer
Meanwhile, while Hee-so as the grim, menacing Dongcheon boss is an imposing presence, it is Chang Ru-Yul as rival drug syndicate head Do Gang-Jae who is truly terrifying.
The show does attempts to ask questions about whether the bloody path to revenge is worth it all, but it comes rather too late in the narrative. We’re left with more questions about this when it all winds down, as the belated discourse on morals the show attempts to delve into, just isn’t enough to make an impact.
In an earlier interview, My Name’s director Kim Jin-Min had said that while vengeance is a theme that is dominated by men, he thought that watching a female character on her journey to avenge her father’s death would be thrilling.
He is definitely on the mark there; So-Hee is the star of this revenge drama and you’re sure to feel the urge to sign up for a self-defense or martial arts class when you see her go about deftly taking down burly henchmen twice her size. She also consciously goes beyond simply being a formidable presence in some superbly-choreographed action sequences, and remains convincingly surly and dispassionate throughout.
My Name’s release comes close on the heels of Netflix’s recent smash-hit Squid Game and both K-dramas have now been successes globally. The show on the surface might be a simple, straightforward revenge saga, but is one that benefits from its lead star and some superlative action sequences. Sometimes, just staying loyal to the genre works well, when done the right way.
My Name is currently streaming on Netflix