BIFF 2022 Review: ‘Connect,’ ‘Weak Hero Class 1,’ ‘Somebody’ & ‘Bargain’

Weak Hero Class 1 review
Weak Hero Class 1 review
Credit: TVING, Disney Plus, Newtflix, Wavve

The 27th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) restarted events and program sections that were not conducted due to COVID-19 for the last 2 years. A-list guests, including this year’s The Asian Filmmaker of the Year winner Tony Leung Chiu-wai, visited Busan, and the movies got sold out, filling up the theaters with audiences. Among all the projects released, the on-screen section that previews upcoming OTT series drew keen attention. As if to reflect on the accelerated growth of OTT platforms, BIFF screened a total of nine OTT shows, a definite increase compared to last year, and the actors and the crew met with the audience in person. This article is a review of the four of the most highly-anticipated series that we carefully chose.

Weak Hero Class 1 
Weak Hero Class 1 review
Credit: Wavve

This is by far Park Ji Hoon‘s best role. Playing model student Yeon Si Eun in Weak Hero Class 1, he excellently portrays a dark and cynical youth, quite different from the roles he played before. The drama, showing Park Ji Hoon’s impressive transformation, is based on the popular webtoon of the same name in which a seemingly weak character uses his brain and the tools he finds around him to take down the school bullies. It creates a realistic sense of immersion by appropriately mixing youth issues with cartoonish stories. The cause of Yeon Si Eun, whose life was all about studying, becoming friends with the outsiders Ahn Soo Ho (Choi Hyun Wook) and Oh Bum Seok (Hong Kyung) are “bad adults” who are indifferent to their reality or just want to take advantage of them viciously. The absurd aspect of this society is projected into the school drama that centers around the friendship and growth of teenagers. This is the reason why Si Eun and Soo Ho’s fight against violence is both thrilling but bitter at the same time. If you enjoyed D.P., which creator Han Joon Hee directed, you’d find this show intriguing as well. (Editor Hong Hyun Jung)

Somebody
somebody netflix kdrama
Credit: Netflix

Revolving around three women who get caught in a web of murder and crime involving the dating app and a mysterious man lurking close by, Somebody unfolds a unique, unpredictable story. The narrative of Kim Sum (Kang Hae Rim), Lim Mok Won (Kim Yongji), and Young Ki Eun (Kim Soo Yeon) seem a bit dragging and sloppily built, but the fragments come together in episode 3, and you start to see where the story is heading – “Oh, it’ll draw the solidarity of the three women.” The “darkness” of Kim Young Kwang that we haven’t seen before, the attractive new faces we find in the show, Kang Hae Rim and Kim Soo Yeon, and Kim Yongji’s solid performance that backs the two up are what most stand out in Somebody. Considering the plot, you have to be aware that uncomfortable scenes (and disturbingly realistic) appear several times, but if you can stomach them, this will be a show to add to your playlist for sure. (Editor Young Jun Yang)

Connect
jung hae in connect
Credit: Disney Plus

Connect follows Dong Soo (Jung Hae In), one of the new immortal humans called “Connect,” after he loses an eye to organ traffickers. When he realizes that his eye was transplanted into the body of a serial killer who’s turned the country upside down, the unwilling donor begins a thrilling pursuit after him. Jung Hae In plays Dong Soo, one of the new human race called “Connect,” Ko Kyung Pyo turns into serial killer Jin Sub who receives Dong Soo’s eye, and Kim Hye Jun becomes Lee Rang, a mysterious girl who helps Dong Soo. The episodes pre-released at the BIFF interestingly unfold the plot up to the point where the three main characters come together due to a shocking incident. However, what caught my eye was that there are surprisingly many components that could receive mixed responses. The setting of murders getting inspired by the myths of constellations and the stories about the planets was novel, but the tentacle design that reminds us of a parasite, the cartoon-like computer graphics, and the familiar character settings leave some regrets. Though the plot itself is interesting, it’s questionable whether it’ll be able to capture the viewers even after episode 2. (Editor Eungee Joh)

Bargain
bargain kdrama
Credit: TVING

Bargain is an exciting disaster drama that exceeds expectations. I was highly impressed by the original short film, so when I first heard about it getting a remake into a disaster thriller series, I had more worries than anticipation. But after watching three episodes at the festival, those worries turned into pleasant satisfaction. The series starts just like the original film. The building where the auction for body parts is taking place collapses in an earthquake, and the three people stuck in the wreckage try to make their escape. Keeping the directing technique of the original film, Bargain impressively films the scenes in a long take. The charm of this drama is that the lively scenes, the natural connection between them, and the actors’ performances combine to make you feel like you’re right there in the scene. The fast-paced story and the comical scenes that pop up at the right time and place add to the fun, and how each episode ends at the escalated moment makes you look forward to the next episode. (Editor Kim Won Hee)

 

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