Some people pounce immediately wherever they see an excellent profitable proposition, while others decide not to be greedy and reject great opportunities that could make them very rich. Our protagonist Kang Ingu, finds himself in these kinds of situations very often and makes interesting decisions along the way. He is a simple family man, trying to make ends meet and provide for his family. One day, a friend of his brings him a business proposition in a country named Suriname which he cannot refuse, and his life changes forever.
Narco-Saints focuses on the story and journey of Kang Ingu as he tries to set up his export business in Suriname. The story starts very slowly as it tries to give us an idea of what kind of a person our protagonist is and how he ended up in his current situation. The pilot feels like it’s solely focused on worldbuilding and character establishment. The story truly piques your interest for the first time when something goes wrong with his business.
The second episode will truly hook you to the story as you start to understand what kind of a journey it is going to be. Here is where you will see a tonal shift and a pacing change, and also understand the stakes involved. Another aspect that will keep you interested is a very colorful and unique villain. The screenplay is highly engaging from this point onwards, and it is also very consistent with the pacing.
The character design in this show is commendable as everyone has unique characteristics differentiating them from each other, and it feels very fresh. There are also some subplots that add layers to the characters and add weightage. The character development is gradual and takes its time, but gives a satisfying conclusion to the characters’ storylines. The direction is also very distinctive and stylish. The action sequences have been shot particularly well, even though there aren’t that many.
There is also a major twist that will hit the viewer with surprise and leave you in awe of the writing. Another highlight of the show was the performances, particularly H Jung-woo and Park Hae-Soo who has to play different kinds of characters within the show, at different points of time. Some people will be skeptical going into the series and some might not be convinced to stick around after the first episode, but if you can be patient with this story, I think there is a lot to enjoy.
Some of the acting can seem over-the-top or unnatural, and there are also some characters that are not given relevance and just feel irritating. Another criticism I can make is with its use of English and other foreign languages, which feels odd and inconsistent. But the show does have stunning production designs with colorful costumes and great makeup. The background score is also one of the best of the year in my opinion.
Narco-Saints is a compelling crime saga, that is addictive, entertaining and easy to binge with its short length of just 6 episodes. The show has a grand feel which will suck you into the atmosphere and keep you hooked till the end. This show can definitely quench your thirst if you were looking for something along the lines of Narcos and similar crime shows. It is one of the best Korean dramas of the year and if you can be a little patient, then you will end up with a fulfilling experience.
Rating – 85%