Netflix’s “My Name” premiered last night and here is a review of it.
Netflix’s “My Name” has an interesting concept, a concept that we see often in Korean movies but rarely in Korean dramas. Added to that, the hero of the story is usually a man but in this case, it’s a woman and this presents its own set of challenges, writing-wise and execution-wise.
Here is what I thought about Netflix’s “My Name” and why it was underwhelming to me.
Note: this is a spoiler review- if you want to know whether you should watch it or not, jump to the last part of the article here. This is a subjective review.
The idea behind the drama is a bit typical. Not in the sense that I see this all the time in kdramaland, but more like, I see this a lot in foreign films and dramas that have similar concepts to work with.
The plot of the drama didn’t surprise me at all, it followed every single beat I’d expect from a drama about such a topic in general. This made the drama feel a bit underwhelming. I honestly was anticipating this drama more than “Squid Game.” Yup, I know.
In the sense that it was so typical, it shocked me and not in a good way.
To explain, it was pretty obvious to me that Ji Woo’s father was a detective. It was also pretty obvious to me that the gang leader is the killer in one way or another. The first reason why is because he never bothered to find Ji Woo’s father’s killer. If he’s truly his closest of friends, there is no way in hell he would have let his killer walk free especially considering how much he cared for him.
The fact that his actions contradict basic logic from the get-go made the entire plot feel obvious in my eyes, so while watching, it became a matter of checking a certain list of plot points in my mind and the screenwriter checked all of them asides from the final part which is Ji Woo’s death- or lack thereof.
It was obvious Mu Jin wanted her to be his mole in the police station, but even that wouldn’t have made much sense because eventually, she would’ve been caught. It’s not rocket science trying to figure out who’s leaking information about them. Also, because his group is so damn vulgar and deals with many illegal activities, there is no way he doesn’t have a tail on him at all time.
I would’ve also loved for the police officers to explain why on earth have they never been able to catch him or pin anything on him.
What I would’ve loved to see is Mu Jin’s relationship dynamics with Ji Woo. I could sense he cared for her but the screenwriter didn’t care to elaborate on that. It would’ve been interesting. Was he feeling guilt for killing her father in front of her? Why was he begin so kind to her when eventually she would have been persistent enough to figure out who killed her father?
I mean, she’s not dumb and she’s definitely resourceful now that she’s part of the police force. Wouldn’t the risk be too much? And even if she killed Gi Ho, its not like no one from police will bother to go after him or her for that reason.
Considering how calculative Mu Jin had been until now, Ji Woo felt more like a ticking time bomb. I would’ve loved to hear more compelling reasons why he tried to manipulate her so much.
When you think about everything a bit more, the script begins to make less sense in that regard because if we take into consideration the descriptions of the characters, many of the things that happened were not only predictable but feel unnecessary.
Also, the drama didn’t allude to a love line, and in the final episode, they inserted a very awkward love-line between Han So Hee and Ahn Bo Hyun that didn’t feel earned in the slightest. I get it, the screenwriter wanted the character to have a connection towards Ji Woo so his death would serve as the catalyst to eventually bring Mu Jin down.
This ties to my main complaint with the drama, just how predictable it was. I think a movie would’ve been better or a shorter kdrama than that, something like 6 episodes would have suffice.
Having said this, “My Name” was still a fun-watching experience. In my opinion, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations but that’s because I had high expectations to begin with. I expected more surprises and more twists that would catch me off-guard.
This doesn’t mean that every single watching experience has to be that, but considering the drama’s premise, I expected it. I really liked the actions scenes, the gore and the graphic details. It was well-made and you can tell a lot of attention has gone to make sure this looks top notch.
I really liked the performances in this drama. I think the fact that the actors appear so committed on screen really helped me continue watching this drama.
Park Hee Soon is just… chef kiss I can’t even begin to put into words just how amazing he is. He’s soooooooooooo talented and clearly a veteran actor, every single facial expression he’s made…. Dude, he nails EVERYTHING. He totally stole the show whenever he appeared on screen.
His character was pretty bland on paper, he made it so much more than I would’ve ever asked for. His expressions help add depth to his character and leads me to believe there is more to him. This is how good his performance was.
His character felt a bit comical in the sense that its like the expected gang lord character, but he did the best he could with it. Which is more than the screenwriter could’ve asked for.
Han So Hee also did well. She put on what I believe to be her best performance to date. I think she will receive lots of praise for her performance here. I can tell she was trying her best in both aspects, physical and emotional. She truly worked hard and you can see it on her face. I still think she needs a bit more experience before she matures into a great actress but her performance here is enough to satisfy most people. There are other actresses who I think would’ve done a good job portraying that character as well but she does try her best and in this case it was more than enough.
Ahn Bo Hyun was also a pleasant sight. I am not watching yumi’s cells, so watching him play the nice guy again after a while was cute. However, his character was severely underdeveloped. It was sad that the screenwriter didn’t do more to develop his character. It goes without saying, Lee Hak Joo is amazing, as always. I just love seeing him play the bad guy. I would’ve also loved to see more development of his character, but he’s done well. He’s so charismatic.
We have some new faces too. Moon Sang Min, a rookie actor, born in 2000. He’s cute and he did well. The industry is in need of good actors born in the 2000s and I think he has the chance to become the next big thing. He’s handsome, tall and did well with his first project.
Chang Ryul performance was amazing. His character was super comical and felt so darnm cartoonish. Luckily for us, the dude did his best to make sure his performance doesn’t come out too comical which is an accomplishment in itself considering the lines he had to work with.
Should I watch this drama?
“My Name” is fun. I think many people would happily enjoy it. It is easy to binge. The director has worked hard at crafting perfect shots and you can tell the fight scenes were well coordinated. The makeup was done well.
The script is very typical but I think anyone who likes any of the lead actors involved in this project will likely walk away relatively satisfied with it. However, I wouldn’t recommend this drama for people who don’t like such types of plots, there is a lot of violence and blood in the drama, this might be a turnoff to some people. It is more similar to a Korean movie in its direction than a kdrama.
So these are my thoughts on “My Name”, so what about you guys? did you like the episodes? let me know what you thought in the comment section below.