“Black Knight” is finally here! Let us discuss the drama!
I was admittingly very excited to see the drama after it’s been hyped up for a very long time. It premiered a couple of days back, and I’m here to talk about what I liked and dislike about Black Knight, and why I think it’s a binge-able series despite its flaws.
Note: this will be a spoiler review of the said drama in the title. This is a subjective review.
The script and characters
Looking at Namu Wiki, the script is written by three people, including a credit to the director himself. And just to note, this is the same director who used to be active as a screenwriter, but the two remaining names are unknown.
The drama has six episodes, and if we take the medium average of its budget which was roughly 26 billion won [around $19.3 million], it means that each episode cost around $3.2 million, which is a lot of money for a single episode in a single Korean drama.
I believe this is one of the shorter Netflix K drama productions across the board because they tend to produce K dramas that are eight episodes or more, and if they have a K drama that happens to be 6 episodes, it might be a K drama that has a second part or a second season that did/will come out. But in this case, we only have one season with a high cost per episode and I think this is one of the reasons for the dryness I felt watching this drama.
It feels that every single moment in the script was deliberate and it both contributes and holds back the drama. There is a general sense of dryness to it, it feels very distant when you look at it. It would have almost felt deliberate on their side if it weren’t for the fact that the drama might be boring at first glance.
The drama also lacks a lot of details that are crucial to whats being presented. This includes why the characters behave certain ways. The script was also very easy to predict and in some scenes, especially the gun shooting scenes, lacked basic sense.
I would say that the drama lacks an emotional grip for the majority of its characters, with the exception of Sa-Wol who has the biggest character development and was the one who also had the biggest emotional arc in the entire project. I think without his character having such a huge emotional arc, this drama would have felt a little bit too dry to me.
Because the emotional parts were lacking, the characters felt a bit underwhelming, it’s in the sense that the remaining main characters all have very little emotional arcs to their storylines, even though when you step back and you look at it, you just feel so bad for all of them because it seems like they’ve been all through a lot of sh*t. Take Jung Seol-Ah for example, her sister dies and she barely sheds tears, she also barely shows much emotions after her sudden tragic passing.
We don’t know why she’s behaving like that, or why she would not really be this emotionally impacted by her sister’s death. I don’t sense urgency or much of any angst looking at how the character is shaped and this affects the level of engagement one can have in a project.
You can make the argument that it’s because she’s trying to find the actual killers of her sister, but I think it would have had a bigger emotional impact overall if the story dealt with exactly how the character felt about her sister’s Death, showing more insight into the struggles that she’s been through. Also, showing how she’s torn between both sides when the bad guys try to recruit her.
It is also not explained why she’s picked to be the one who the bad guys want to bring to their side. And as such, it feels that it is a little bit underwhelming.
Overall, I struggled to feel emotionally invested much in the rest of the main characters even though they’re played by amazing actors.
The same goes for 5-8 who has a very emotional story, and a tragic one at that, but it still doesn’t feel emotionally gripping. At least it did not feel like that to me.
The villain also suffers from this too. He’s just straight-up evil but its not explained why he hates refugees this much, andwhy his father, who knows his son is up to no good, does not interfere until its too late. You’d think a man his status can easily figure out whats going on. Also, how and why is the government this incompetent in handling the group?
On the surface, even if what I said above was not properly explained, it would still work. But, by not explaining those things, it really hurt the drama’s ability to grab people’s attention.
In my opinion, I think one or two more episodes would have been enough to get us more emotionally invested in the remaining characters, those episodes could have been used to explore what I talked about above.
Considering the fact that the original webtoon ran for over three years and had two seasons in total, there were bound to be many intricate details that would get deleted due to the time constraints. I just felt that what was deleted undermines the drama’s message a bit because it relies a lot on your investment in Sa Wol’s arc for the most part.
I enjoyed the performances of the actors in the drama. I think it’s appropriate to begin talking about the star of this project and the person who gets the most attention; whether it was intentional or not; rising actor Kang You Seok.
The cast of this drama was praising him a lot during the press conference and I can totally understand why.
With two hit dramas in 2023 thus far, he positioned himself as one of the biggest rising actors of this year. He’s truly talented, and a very good-looking man. He has charisma and was able to give a very amazing performance opposite some of the best veteran actors in the industry. Not only that, but I’m also sure he had to train for the fight scenes in the drama. I can see the dedication in his eyes, and I really loved watching his performance. He was truly the standout star in this project for me, even more so than Kim Woo Bin, who has always been a great actor.
Moving onto Woo Bin, he’s amazing as per usual, it is exactly what you’d expect from him, he does what he can with the material he’s given. I think he works very well for this character who is meant to be a larger-than-life amazing strong man that can’t be easily defeated, and while I do think his character backstory is very tragic, I wish that I could have seen more of vulnerability in his acting. I think this was intentional on the director’s part like I explained above, and I think it’s in part due to the fact that we’re dealing with the dystopian universe where you just have to move from one phase to the next in order to eliminate your opponent, and this means sometimes putting your emotions aside until you deal with what you have to deal with. Saving lives is more of an issue than expressing emotions, I think this was the angle the director was aiming for.
Esom also did well, as per usual. Song Seung-Heon did an okay job as the villain, but, I didn’t fear him and I didn’t feel he had a scary ‘aura’ to his character. It felt a bit bland in my opinion which could be due to the material and the way its structured. Ryu Seok behaves horribly but I do not sense a bad guy energy from Song Seung-Heon while he’s acting out his character. Could be just me who thinks so.
“Black Knight” was a drama that’s well acted and well directed. Its fast-paced and does not waste a moment. It’s only six episodes long and it’s very binge-worthy. The writing is definitely what suffered the most in this project which makes it more tragic when you think about what could have been.
However, if you do not attempt to think about the project or analyze it much, it would be something you can binge-watch on a weekend night.
So, have you guys seen Black Knight yet? What did you think of the drama? Let’s discuss in the comments section below.