BY HanCinema | Sep 24, 2016 05:15 AM EDT
"The K2" has promised heavy action and episode one delivers on that promise. The series starts off with a bang, continues with a bang and ends with one, which unfortunately creates a very underwhelming premiere episode. At the same time, we have some basic character introductions and some interesting people involved in what looks like a messy, sad, dark fate between them. This is not exactly fun for the whole family, but it may turn out well.
First on the smaller than I would like list of good things we have the two Yoonas and their characters. Ko Ahn-na's (Yoona) backstory and desperate dash toward freedom is gripping to see and her motivation simple enough to generate instant sympathy for her plight. Choi Yoo-jin (Song Yoon-ah), her main captor is clearly someone with great control and she makes me curious. Ahn-na wants freedom because we all do, but why does Yoo-jin want power? I hope there is more to it than the standard villain motivation of "Just because".
Kim Je-ha (Ji Chang-wook) is still a mystery, because we know nothing about him aside from the facts that he is handsome, feels quite a bit of sympathy, hits people well and likes cats. I will reserve my judgement for him at this point in time. The series does have an interesting set up and tone, because it embraces its cynical, cruel and dark world. There is dramatic potential here, but we can do with fewer cheesy bad guys forming cheesy bad smiles as they do cheesy bad things. Also, the homophobic scene is nothing but deplorable and unwise.
When we consider aesthetics and production, "The K2" has quite the polished first episode. The cinematography is nice, the choreography spot on and focused on what it should be. Action can sometimes seem too preoccupied with highlighting the person engaging in it, especially when that person is a hero meant to be seen as attractive. It is clear that "The K2" crew understands the importance of a well made and presented fight, not just participants. Ji Chang-wook and his co-actors perform the action extremely well.
Unfortunately, they perform it for the entirety of the episode. Action without pace is not exciting and Ji Chang-wook's glorious, overworked muscles can only do so much. From a practical standpoint, the cast and crew will also burn out and the quality will drop if they keep this up. It is a clear attempt to hook audiences, but I do wish they gave us a little more credit. We are not cats. We can pay attention without constant mayhem on screen.
Speaking of mayhem, I would like someone to help the music supervisor sit back up and give them some water, because I imagine them fainting over their work space after this. The score's pieces are beautiful, but an hour of constant musical climax just sullies them and it is desensitizing. Thankfully "The K2" is not a movie, so there is plenty of time to develop something good. Let us see how episode two delivers.
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