One Mad Dog marshals three caged Mad Dogs to hunt down countless other Mad Dogs on the loose.
That’s OCN’s Saturday action-crime thriller Bad Guys in a sentence. Not to be confused with the lone Bad Guy drama with Kim Nam-gil and Han Ga-in in it — there was only one titular bad guy there, while there are many here, thus the plural noun.
I’ve put off watching this show due to 1) the difficulty in finding the subbed version and 2) the need to brace my heart first. Judging from the genre and premise, it’s gonna be quite brute and savage… oh boy i kid you not. I watched the first two episodes back-to-back and my heart’s still pounding and my fingers’ shaking as i write this. And i think my head feels kinda heavy too…
Without intriguing plot device, Bad Guys could be just another police-detective dramas. Upright detectives or cops relentlessly going after criminals? Duh. Youngsters with tragic past entering the force either to revenge or uphold justice? Typical. Skewed officers or civvies punishing those who escape law? Nothing new. JOKER Yurusarezaru Sosakan, Nou Otoko, and (to a certain extent) Death Note immediately come to mind. But felons hired to track down elusive criminals? I’m in.
The first hour warms us up to the main characters of the show — Mad Dogs’ head Oh Goo-tak (Kim Sang-joong) and his three legs: burly gangsta-boss Park Woong-chul (Ma Dong-seok), fit hitman Jung Tae-soo (Jo Dong-hyuk), and impassive genius-psychopath Lee Jung-moon (Park Hae-jin). Rounds up the reluctant group, the fourth leg if you’d like it, is no-nonsense police inspector Yoo Mi-young (Kang Ye-won).
Woong-chul was arrested and serving a 28-year term, Tae-soo turned himself in and is serving a 22-year term. Curiously, they skip Jung-moon’s details. Now i’m itching to know how he was caught (and how long his term is) since he was so clean in executing his crimes — he left nothing but the corpse behind.
Looking at the lineup, expecting the 11-episode series to be dark and serious and all, i was surprised to get some light humor in the mix. And from the sour-faced yet chatty Woong-chul at that. Or from petty rivalry arises between him and Tae-soo, which gummimochi likens to Gimli vs. Legolas competition (true that!). While not laugh-out-loud funny, it is enough to dissipate some tension. A much needed break from all the eeriness, violence, blood, and suspense.
I also appreciate the show for spending some time on the characters’ backstories. A bit of Jung-moon in episode 1, a bit of Tae-soo in number 2, a bit of Woong-chul this week perhaps? The moments are fleeting, but enough to pique my interest because i want to understand them — they didn’t become criminals just because they felt like it, did they? I don’t know what awaits at the end but hopefully the show’s able to humanize them as the story progresses.
Out of the three, Woong-chul is the most normal. Tae-soo is cool but easily provoked where it concerns someone he wants to protect, and he is not entirely emotionless like Jung-moon appears to be. The latter is at the other side of the spectrum (he even attempted to kill the girl he loved twice) although the one who fazes me the most is Goo-tak. He is unintelligible and surely has something up his sleeve. If he can get serious offenders to comply and work for/under him, what can he not do? (Well, they are willing to because one captured criminal trades with 5-year remission, applicable only to the one who catches the bad guy, but still).
The show also teases us the possibility of him having secret connection with them. What we know thus far is the handpicked three were all nabbed in 2012, the same year he was suspended. Also that he is knowledgeable about Jung-moon’s past. Hmmm…
For now, i am enjoying the mystery and the perfect team-up of muscle, skills, and brain. With the right incentives, these mad dogs can be the most effective detectives ever. The means may be twisted, but as long as they can crack the mastermind’s code, that should be fine right? (“Beating up a kind man is violence, but beating up a bad guy… that’s justice,”) They’ve been there, done that themselves afterall.