In 2014/2015 Ji Chang-Wook kicked some serious bad-guy ass in the action-packed drama Healer. Lucky for us he’s back, this time as a mercenary turned bodyguard, and once again evil doesn’t stand a chance in The K2.
Betrayed and framed for the murder of his girlfriend in Iraq, an ex-PMC soldier is on the run in Barcelona Spain. While in a subway, trying to stay one step ahead of those who want to do away with him, he comes across a frightened, run-away girl. Giving the young woman a chance to evade her pursuer, he fights and ultimately stops the man who is after her. However, on his way out of the subway he notices she is locked inside a car with a different man guarding her. This time, choosing to not draw attention to himself, he turns his back on the desperate woman and leaves in a taxi.
Later, in Korea, he encounters evil Choi Yoo-Jin. She wants him dead because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and saw something he shouldn’t have. When he breaks into her home to tell her face to face to back off he discovers she has the power and connections he needs to get revenge on the man who framed him for the murder of his girlfriend. They agree to work together and an apprehensive alliance is made between the two. He is given a new identity, Kim Je-Ha aka K2, and a job guarding the woman he helped while on the run in Spain. He later finds the woman he was hired to guard is Go An-Na, the secret daughter of presidential hopeful Jang Se-Joon, his new employer’s husband. Watching her with the aid of hidden cameras throughout the house, K2 begins to fall for An-Na. Is it possible to love the girl he is trying to protect and still get revenge on the man responsible for turning his world upside down?
This drama has several intense characters…
With nothing left to loose, Kim Je-Ha makes a deal with he devil. He’ll work for Choi Yoon-Jin for the chance to avenge the cold-blooded murder of his fiancé. Now he is guarding the girl he tried to help escape when they were in Spain. Je-Ha has to maneuver through the land mines in his life while trying to remain unscathed. Evil is all around him and there’s no one to trust but himself.
Since the death of her mother, Go An-Na has been kept prisoner at a convent in Spain. If the public knew of her existence it would ruin her father’s chances of becoming the next president of South Korea. Although she has escaped a few times she has always been found and brought back to her captors. However, her new night guard seems to be someone she can trust.
Although she comes across to the public as a kind and supportive wife, Choi Yoo-Jin is a cunning, evil witch, able to smile as she softly orders someone’s death. She has a lot in common with the wicked queen in Snow White, right down to having her own “magic mirror”. Power, wealth, and fame is her goal and she’s using her assemblyman husband to get it – make sure he becomes president no matter what it takes.
Although he is controlled by his wife, Jang Se-Joon has some greed and lust for power of his own. He may not like the fact that he’s Yoo-Jin’s puppet but he loves the thought of living in the Blue House and being the most powerful man in South Korea.
Two supporting characters that play an important role in the story are…
Assemblyman Park Kwan-Soo who is Jang Se-Joon’s political opponent and the man responsible for the death of Je-Ha’s sweetheart in Iraq,
Choi Sung-Won, the CEO of JB Group and Choi Yoo-Jin’s half brother. When Yoo-Jin went against their father’s wishes and married Jang Se-Joon he got back at her by giving JB Group to Sung-Won.
Meet the newest addition to my favorite Kdrama actors list – Ji Chang-Wook. He’s been in musical theater productions, film, TV, and the guy even sings, performing songs for the soundtracks of a few dramas he’s been in, and he also plays the piano. He played the part of a short track speed skater in the daily drama Smile Again and spent around five hours a day at the ice rink, practicing. The man seems to go the extra mile as an actor. Upon being hired to play Kim Je-Ha, Chang-Wook became the highest-paid actor in a tvN drama (I wonder how much that was?) and he’s honestly worth every penny they spent on him! Although he’s absolutely perfect for action dramas, I’d love to see him in a full-out romantic comedy.
Im Yoon-Ah, better known as Yoona, first came on the scene in 2007 when she debuted as a member of the Kpop group Girls’ Generation. She went on to do several dramas, one being a Chinese production. Her silver screen debut is set for January 2017 in the movie Cooperation playing opposite Hyun Bin. She got to act with Jang Geun-Suk in the Kdrama Love Rain and now she gets to be with Hyun Bin. Lucky girl. Because of her charitable contributions Yoona is a member of Korea’s National Honor Society and as such was invited to the Blue House for lunch by South Korean president Park Geun-Hye. Among her many awards and recognitions Yoona is also a recipient of the Public Tax Payer Award. Now, who wouldn’t want one of those sitting on their mantle?
Speaking of awards, Song Yoon-Ah, who plays the part of evil Choi Yoo-Jin, has taken home 27 of the 32 awards she has been nominated for over the years. That’s amazing! And she almost didn’t even become an actress. It’s nothing she ever thought of pursuing, in fact she was enrolled at Hanyang University majoring in Cultural Anthropology when a classmate recommended her to a modeling agency. In 1995, after winning three awards at the KBS Super Talent Contest, Yoon-Ah started to appear in magazine ads and as an extra in TV shows. Other than her making a quick cameo appearance in Secret Garden this is the only thing I’ve seen her in. I’m really hoping she gets an award for her role as Choi Yoo-Jin. That character is scary psychotic, completely void of conscience. Thanks to the amazing acting skills of Song Yoon-Ah, Choi Yoo-Jin is the most evil female character I have ever seen. In fact, Choi Yoo-Jin (Song Yoon-Ah) gets the Sara Johnson Best Bad Guy Award for the entire 2016 year!
I knew Jo Sung-Ha, who plays presidential candidate Jang Se-Joon, looked familiar but when I began looking at his credits I hadn’t seen a single film or TV drama he’d been in, until I got to Neighborhood Hero. That’s where I’d seen him before! The character he plays in The K2 is pretty rotten. Any morals he may have once had are chucked out the window once Choi Yoo-Jin enters his life. I think Jo Sung-Ha was a good choice for that role. He did a great job.
This is the first Kdrama I’ve seen (that I can remember) where the knives are not blurred out! Big knives, little knives, we actually see them. I have no idea how this particular production got away with that but it was a wonderful surprise.
The fight scenes in this drama are nothing short of fantastic. The choreography is exciting and fresh and the stunt folks are superb. Ji Chang-Wook never once had a double – he did every single stunt himself. It’s all him folks! He learned martial arts for his role in Healer and the director of The K2 did a great job utilizing that talent to make Kim Je-Ha come cross as a formidable opponent for any bad guy you can think of. K2 is right up in the same league as Iris’ NSS agent Kim Hyun-Jun and black ops CIA agent Jason Bourne. I was completely impressed with his high flying kicks and fast moving hands. He can even disassemble a handgun while he’s fighting an opponent. And wait until you see him fight several guys in the shower – nude! Of course the scene wasn’t filmed with the actors being nude but their midsections are blurred out to make us think they’re naked. That choreography is astounding!
I want to mention a little bit about the actual filming of The K2. There’s lots of hand-held camera work which, as you know, I’m not fond of. Also, many of the close-up shots are so close the tops of the actors/actresses heads are cut off. That’s just not appealing to me. There are also tons of fast shots, the editors putting things together with just a second and a half of time between each shot. I realize it’s to help give a scene urgency, pick up the pace, hurry things along, get our hearts racing – so it does serve a purpose. I just don’t care for it. On the upside The K2 is the first Korean TV drama to use the “bullet time” effect. “Bullet time is a visual effect or visual impression of detaching the time and space of a camera (or viewer) from that of its visual subject. It is a depth enhanced simulation of variable-speed action and performance…” If that doesn’t explain it well enough all I can say is you’ll know it when you see it, and it’s awesome.
Car chases, explosions, war, martial arts fighting – this drama is an action lover’s dream come true. I also want to give some recognition to the make-up folks. K2 gets a cut on his face and the mark looks very realistic. And it isn’t just there for a scene or two. This cut is on Je-Ha’s cheek for quite a while which adds a bit of realism to the whole thing. There’s no way that big of a cut would have gone away in a day or two (like most drama injuries that just last one or two scenes). Good idea to make it last a fair amount of time.
There are a couple things I noticed that were overlooked by the director/editor – things like Choi Yoo-Jin being dripping wet one minute and only slightly damp the next, and Kim Je-Ha dropping his bag to chase and fight a guy and when the fight is over his bag is close enough for him to just grab and run. Yep, I notice things like that, folks. Also, the title of the show irritates me. K2 is the guy’s code name so there doesn’t need to be an article with it. The “The” is completely unnecessary. It’s like calling a movie The Sara Johnson. It’s just not correct grammar.
The K2 theme song is a perfect auditory representation of the whole drama. It’s intense moments are heart racing and the calming parts are soul soothing. A full choir adds to the orchestra, making it one complete idea in sound. I absolutely love it. And it reminds me a bit of the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song, with its strong down beat. Yoona adds her delicate angelic voice to the soundtrack with Amazing Grace, joined by a small female choir in the background. (She sings it on the show.) Min Kyung-Hoon, solo artist and lead singer of the band Buzz, croons the beautiful song entitled Love You. The entire soundtrack is great.
Scenery? Like so many other things about this drama, it’s just perfect! The K2 gives its audience a rare treat by being shot in Barcelona Spain as well as South Korea. The European architecture and people stand out as unique for an Asian drama. It’s a very nice change from the ordinary scenery of a Kdrama. There are also scenes of what we are told is Iraq – desert looking areas. I have no idea where those scenes were shot, though. Oh, I also want to mention one really cool backdrop – a fashion show runway that happens to be filled with water! It’s awesome and quite unique, models’ fancy shoes splashing as they stride down a giant puddle runway. Clever.
If you’ve even slightly entertained the thought of watching this Kdrama I say, don’t put it off any longer. It has an original plot, an exciting hero, a frightening villain, and is mixed with mystery, intrigue, pulse-racing action, and sweet romance. The K2 is a must see, maybe even twice.
Fantastic action scenes
Superb evil villain
A couple overlooked directorial/editing mistakes