[Review] Hero – 히어로

WE CAN BE HEROES, JUST FOR ONE DAY

In the not too distant future, Korea is overrun by corruption and the failed economy only makes the upper class richer while the lower class struggles to survive.  Kim Heuk Chul (Yang Dong Geun) is the good-for-nothing son to Muyoung city’s mayor.

When an accident almost kills Heuk Chul, an experimental drug not only brings him back to life but gives him superpowers.  He, then, becomes an unlikely hero fighting against the injustices inflicted on the helpless.

Here’s another cable drama that focuses on interesting characters with some beautiful noirish cinematography.  It’s hard not to make comparisons with the comic, Batman; an upper class protagonist takes up to fighting injustices in his city by becoming a vigilante in disguise.  The action scenes are pretty slick with a slight Sin City feel to it.

From the get go, I liked the development of Heuk Chul’s character and what propels him into the crimefighting world.  The death of a young deaf boy (Hong Jong Hyun), evidence that his father didn’t rightfully win his position as mayor and an attraction to a tough, female detective.  Heuk Chul is immature and funny but his deep heart indicates that he’s more than meets the eye.

Some of the cases in the series are intriguing.  Apart from the first episode, I particularly liked the episode about organ harvesting (Episode 4 – “The Devil’s Face”).  Goodness, that happy face of the Welfare Director still gives me chills.

Then there’s also the boy, Dong Woo, whom the director takes advantage of because he’s a ward of the state and therefore likely to go unnoticed if he’s missing.  This young actor expresses his fear and will to survive so well that you can’t help but worry about his survival in this episode.  It’s high quality acting like this that makes you feel for an episodic character and their well-being.

The acting as a whole is pretty excellent and the series was consistent about that.  Son Byung Ho, as Kim Hoon, the mayor of Muyoung, was so compelling as someone who’s corrupt but had aspirations to do good things when he first entered the politics.  At times, the concern for the average citizen is still there but he’s so afraid of losing his position that he’s not willing to go against his financial backers.

I liked the reveal of how ethical Hoon was in the past and how he became to trust Kwon Hyuk Kyu (Park Won Sang).  Hyuk Kyu is the mayor’s bodyguard but now he sees something of the young Hoon in Heuk Chul and therefore keeps an eye out for Heuk Chul.

The other thing that’s interesting about Hoon is his relationship with both his sons.  Hoon and his older son, Myung Chul (Choi Chul Ho), may not exactly see eye to eye but their goals are the same.  They are prepared to do anything in order to maintain control over Muyoung.

However, Hoon has an emotional soft spot for Heuk Chul.  He almost lets his younger son get away with his indiscretions.  Though he may disapprove it, there’s a line he doesn’t want to cross with his younger son.  And it goes both ways as Heuk Chul may not like that his father got his position unfairly but yet he lets his father remain there.  He wants to believe that his father wants to do the right thing.

For me, it’s quite curious to see how they can both turn a blind eye to each other.  On the flip side, it’s quite fascinating to see how their vision of Muyoung City is vastly different.

As a result, the ties are divided amongst the brothers.  It’s a weird three-way triangle in this family where no one trusts anyone but they’re adamantly loyal to each other.

Unfortunately, the drama isn’t without its problems.  The cases are interesting but having watched enough crime dramas, the outcome here is predictable.  You know who the bad guy is, you know how it’s going to play out.  The series focuses more on the action scenes and less on experimenting with how the story is going to unfold.  Then there are other characters whose backstory is almost completely left in the dark in order to try and make the series seem intriguing.

One such character is bad guy, Lee Jae In (Otani Ryohei), the killer with the million lives.  Why is Otani Ryohei playing a lot of bad guys these days?

It appears that he’s been given the same drug that Heuk Chul was given, as he is death resistant, but we have yet to figure out who is the head of that shady organization and what they want, except to keep the corruption in Muyoung going.  It’s just all so cryptic with Jae In and difficult to really know what his motives are besides keeping his mysterious boss happy.

They also didn’t really develop much of the other main characters in this drama either.  I like the bits we got of the mayor but I wished we got to know Myung Chul better rather than painting him as just the nefarious type.

We also get to witness just a little bit of Yi On (Han Chae Ah) and her history but weren’t given enough.  I just ended up not caring too much about what happened with these characters and knew things wouldn’t turn out well for them.

Also, why does this drug have such a terrible side effect?  I know why these soldiers were recruited, what saves them from the terrible spider-veiny death but there’s little else.

These are times you need to withhold information and times when you need to feed it to us.  By the end of 9 episodes, I don’t feel like there was much development of the characters.  Without progression, they became a bit unmemorable.  If the series returned for a 2nd season, I wouldn’t be against it but I wouldn’t actively seek out the series either.

Rating

 

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