The K2 (2016)
Directed By Kwak Jung-hwan
The K2 is a 2016 South Korean action thriller starring Ji Chang-wook, Im Yoon-ah, and Song Yoon-ah. This is the second drama I watched with Ji Chang-wook as I encountered him from his recent drama, Suspicious Partners. Action thrillers aren’t my favorite type of drama but I have watched a few due to my favorite actors being part of those productions. However, this is the first South Korean actor where I felt that he’s a natural born action star.
Kim Je-ha (Ji Chang-wook) was a former mercenary soldier for the organization, Blackstone. However, while serving in Iraq, he was framed for the murder of a civilian, Raniya, who happened to be his beloved. He returns to South Korea and ends up being a bodyguard for Choi Yoo-jin (Song Yoon-ah) in order to get revenge against the presidential candidate, Park Kwan-soo, who was the one that actually killed Raniya.
Kim Je-ha gets assigned in protecting Go An-na (Im Yoon-ah), the illegitimate child of Choi Yoo-jin’s husband and a former movie star. He finds himself falling in love with Go An-na and must protect her while seeking revenge.
The K2 centers on corrupted and greedy individuals that want power and money. As a viewer, one couldn’t help but feel such disgust over the ‘old people’ in this series as they only care about themselves and getting what they want even if it means killing innocent people. When Kim Je-ha witnesses Jang Se-joon having an affair with another woman, his life is in danger because he can report it as a possible scandal that could ruin Jang Se-joon’s presidential campaign. While on the run, Kim Je-ha encounters an elderly farming couple and asked for food and shelter. He puts the elderly couple in danger due to his existence. As a result, he ends up fighting against the people who put the couple in danger as opposed to taking care of himself.
One may find these corrupted characters sickening, but they all put on fantastic performances in this series. My favorite villain is Choi Yoo-jin, the wife of presidential candidate Jang Se-joon and the eldest daughter of a chaebol family. She is very ambitious and is determined to gain power by being the First Lady and the owner of both, JB Group and JSS Security Company. To be honest, she doesn’t need a man to support her but she is using her husband, Jang Se-joon, in order to reach the top. She may seem like she’s hiding behind her husband’s shadow, but she is the one that is calling all the shots in the presidential campaign. Choi Yoo-jin is the queen on a chessboard who has all the power: she is highly strategic and cunning as she is always a few steps ahead of her enemies. In fact, she controls her husband to do what she wants by holding An-na as a hostage. Choi Yoo-jin is a great anti-hero. Although her actions may seem selfish, there are reasons behind what she does and in the end of the drama, she does shed some light of having morals and dignity. Song Yoon-ah performed Choi Yoo-jin with such flawlessness that viewers can sympathize but also hate her at the same time.
However, the same cannot be said of the character, Go An-na, Kim Je-ha’s girlfriend. Right from the very beginning, Go An-na is seen as a pitiful child who was forced into being a pawn against corrupted politicians and business people. And although she wanted to get revenge on the person that killed her mother, she still acts like a child and plays into the hands of her uncle, Choi Sung-won. She believes and trusts her uncle more than Je-ha because they share a common enemy, Choi Yoo-jin. However, in the end, her innocence gets the better of her and she puts herself and the people she loves in danger. I found her character to be very frustrating because when she was trying to run away from her kidnappers in Spain, her character was very determined and smart. Yet, I was dumbfounded to see that she can easily be manipulated—she trusts her uncle that she met in just one episode more than Je-ha who helped her ever since she was held hostage by Choi Yoo-jin. Hence, I found Go An-na to be a difficult character to like due to her actions and the persona she played throughout this series.
Yet, overall, The K2 is one of the best action/thriller dramas I’ve seen. The stunts and Ji Chang-wook’s acting performance was amazing. Each episode was pretty intense and the climax at the end was one of the best ones I’ve seen so far in comparison to other thriller series.
You can watch this series on Dramafever.