Kim Min Cheol was a promising former judo athlete. His sense of justice, on the other hand, caused his loss when he entered prison. Upon his release, he learns that his hometown, Wolchoori , is designated as an area to be flooded and that residents will receive compensation. He then decides to go back there to investigate.
Kim Yeong Seon is Min Cheol’s younger sister. She is studying to become a nurse. Yeong Seon hopes to leave Wolchoori as soon as possible. She is approached by Pastor Seong Cheol Wu .
Choi Gyeong Seokseems like a kind and caring man. The residents of Wolchoori were initially suspicious but have come to trust him since receiving compensation. Gyeong Seok’s goal is to set up a religious organization.
Review : By txc_vertigo (link)
(1) Although this is a setup heavy drama, the setup is rather well executed. It is never confusing or vague, yet the foreshadowing and hints don’t become so obvious it’s patronizing. There is a great eye for detail throughout the drama. For instance, when they were building the church and they installed a ramp to the altar stage I wondered what that is for and a couple of episodes later it becomes apparent that Elder Choi had a thought behind even such a small background detail. Good job and coordination by the writer and the set designer to make this line up.
(2) I really like the lighting of the drama. In the daylight scenes, the colors are quite dusty and washed out. As a juxtaposition, the night time scenes uses the very commonly used color palette of orange and teal (or alternatively red and blue). Although the aforementioned color scheme is used often (especially in Hollywood), I think there is good reason for it. The main reason is because these colors are complimentary colors that create a lot of contrast between each other while at the same time highlighting the human skin in the best way possible.
(3) The locations feel unique and authentic. With so many dramas taking place in the glitzy big city, it is refreshing to see a drama take place in the countryside and in run down small towns. It’s not a glamorous setting, but it helps us understand the simple lives that most of the cast are living.
(4) Best anti-hero protagonist of the year so far. Kim Min Cheol is a real menace. He is not a good guy by any stretch of the imagination and he is not supposed to be one either. Although he is not the most law abiding citizen, he still has some good to him and stands up for the ones he cares about. To add on to his already rough and intimidating persona is the voice of Uhm Tae Goo which sounds like he has been eating razor blades for breakfast every morning. I love it.
(5) I really enjoy the way they portray the individual and group psychology throughout the show. It gives pretty good insight into why people would join a cult, how people deal with pain and loss as well as how effective having a common enemy is for building a strong group.
(6) Some of the fighting scenes look really solidly choreographed and you can really feel the impact of them. I like how sluggish Min Cheol’s fighting is, as he is far removed from his days as a martial artist and deals entirely with street brawls nowadays. I actually caught myself flinching at how hard hitting the violence is at points with how painful some blows look and how crunchy the sound is from the impacts. This is how I like my violence, not clean and polished but really raw-looking without exaggerating the gore. I think this approach is less about glorifying or making light of violence but instead showing how ugly it can really be.
(1) I know this is a preferential thing, like I’ve stated before these are just my takes not hard facts, but there is too much shaky cam being used in certain scenes to achieve a sense of urgency. It doesn’t help either that they often use zoom when executing a shaky cam sequence either. For me as a viewer, it just creates this effect of nausea. I mean it’s fine if you want to use it to indicate that a person is shaking someone, but then they should stabilize it once the person stops and not continue with the handheld shaky cam. That just comes of like they couldn’t plant a tripod in that spot and they didn’t have a chest rig on set.
(2) The story takes so long to get going as it is a very set up heavy drama like mentioned earlier. About half the drama is just set up for the major plot events of the second half, so the first half might feel like a bit of a slog, especially if you were to binge watch the show. In my opinion, the all the set up is worth the pay off and the set up is even quite entertaining to watch. However, I can see why this kind of a threshold is off-putting to some. I suspect that this issue is a result of being an adaptation of the 2013 animated film “The Fake”. Stretching the plot from a 2 hour film to a 16 hour drama does usually come with some growing pains.
(3) The portrayal of religious belief and religious people is not very nuanced. If that is what you are looking for, than this drama is probably not what you are after as religion is merely painted as evil. The spiritual leaders are portrayed as being all evil and selfish and the believers are portrayed as fools. Although I am not one bit sympathetic to the acts of religious cults around the world, it would have been nice to see a more nuanced picture painted by showing the positive sides of religion and contrasting the schemes of madmen with the strength that can be granted from healthy theology.
(4) OCN dramas needs to give their special effects department a bigger budget. This is not the first time where a drama of theirs has had really poor special effects. The biggest offense is as usual fire. It becomes so apparent when they use CGI fire instead of real fire, that I can’t focus on anything else than the fake flames in what is supposed to be a serious scene.
Score: 7,5 / 10 – This drama is definitely a grower and it’s a drama that requires a fair bit of patience but if you are willing to put the time into it there are a lot of factors that makes Save Me 2 an enjoyable show.