The elements of the film were combined to create a film work. Narco-Saints may be a well-done series, but there is no fresh fun in it.
Netflix’s original series “Narco-Saints” (directed by Yoon Jong-bin), which was first released on September 9, is the Netflix series about the life-threatening journey of a civilian businessman who has no choice but to collaborate with a secret operation of the National Intelligence Service to catch a Korean drug lord who has taken control of Suriname.
This is the first series to be directed by Yoon Jongbin, who wrote the films “Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time”, “Kundo: Age of the Rampant” and “The Spy Gone North.” In addition to Ha Jung-woo, director’s longtime film partner Yoon Jong-bin and Hwang Jung-min who worked with Yoon Jong-bin in “Spy Gone North,” actors Park Hae-soo, Jo Woo-jin also appeared Yoo Yeon- seok.
Narco-Saints, about the Korean drug lord taking control of Suriname, was originally intended for a film, but director Yoon Jong-bin turned it into a six-episode series. Narco-Saints, with a total production cost of 35 billion won, has been voted one of the most anticipated Korean original Netflix series this year.
Among them, “Narco-Saints”, which was released, has an impressive visual setting complemented by exotic scenery. In the aftermath of COVID-19, people regretted overseas locations, but Narco-Saints completed South America’s unique lively atmosphere and exotic scenery with outdoor filming, computer graphics, art and costumes in Jeju Island, Jeonju and the Dominican Republic. In particular, it showed a well-done production to such an extent that it was impossible to distinguish between the shots on the island of Jeju, Jeonju and the Dominican Republic.
Additionally, OST, which adds tension to the series, is one of the attractive elements of Narco-Saints. The power of the OST that fits in with the story’s development is so strong that you may only want to listen to the OST.
But that’s all the good points so far. There are many negative factors in Narco-Saints, such as the sprawling structure and plot development that has already been shown in many previous Korean crime movies. First, the story. The series presents a boring story that is not much different from the secret theme that has already been used in many crime movies and dramas. Director Yoon Jong-bin has argued that “the story of a civilian who was hidden in the NIS operation” is what makes the “Narco-Saints” stand out, but even that made up for the difference with repetitive patterns of history. Since the great story of Jeon Yo-hwan, who is constantly suspicious, and Kang In-gu, who uses various means to survive, repeats itself every time, the story behind it becomes predictable halfway through the drama.
It’s interesting to see the twist revealed midway through Episode 5, but the twist effect is limited. The repeating pattern is so obvious that it’s easy to understand the story, even if you come back 10 seconds later.
It is also regrettable that despite its Netflix premiere, it has a low understanding of the OTT viewing environment. Narco-Saints shows a protracted development of the story that does not fit in with the viewing pattern of OTT viewers who cannot stand the boring development and rely on speed of playback. Kang In-gu’s life story description in particular, which stretches out like a TMI show at the beginning of the first episode, is stretched more than necessary, lowering the initial draft.
Narco-Saints is the first acting collaboration between Ha Jung-woo and Hwang Jung-min, but it’s cliché because viewers only see an extension of the images that the two actors have repeatedly depicted in other works. Therefore, many can sense that they have seen this series somewhere. It is a sequence of details so obvious that it is no longer fresh, because it resembles what the viewers have already seen in the filmography of these actors.
At least Jo Woo-jin and Park Hae-soo perform CPR following the cliche. In particular, the influence of Byeon Ki-tae (played by Jo Woo-jin) is strong enough to penetrate the entire Narco-Saints.
The use of female characters is also regrettable. The female characters in “Narco-Saints” are used as a tool to explain the luxurious life of Jeon Yo-hwan or are only described as the reason why Kang In-gu has to return to Korea. This is a retrograde inconsistent with the current trend.
It was “Narco-Saints” that made such banal elements more banal.