Voice 3: City of Accomplices – OCN

Crime thriller with sci-fi elements about a call center team trying to hunt down an illegal cartel ran through the dark web.

Review : By txc_vertigo (link)

The Good:

(1) The production value has gone way up since earlier seasons, especially since season 1. It’s more well shot than ever before. The reason for this can partially be attributed to the director changing every season and for season 3 they brought in the director of Tunnel, which bumped up the direction quality a fair bit. No longer do I have to suffer through camera shadows showing in some shots, which really breaks immersion for the viewer.

The quality has also increased in the prop and editing department. They stepped up their blood game. In earlier seasons, the blood has been really poor looking overall. Whenever they decided to use digital blood, it looked absolutely atrocious and the times when there was writing in blood the fake blood prop was way off in texture and color and ended up looking like regular paint. They have now eliminated those problems in the third season. The special effects makeup has also gotten better. Now, the viewer doesn’t have to look at the edge of the silicon that they used to recreate a wound flapping about. Also, the sound effects work has gotten better. A knife being waved about in midair now sounds like it should (“swoosh swoosh”) and doesn’t make stabbing sounds (“schlink schlink”) indicating that the metal is making contact with a solid surface.

(2) The lighting is really intriguing in some scenes. I enjoy the scenes where they emulate a single light source being the only lighting in a scene. They use the beams of a flashlight, a street light or the headlights of a car to light up the scene. I also like their emulation of natural light as it looks rather lifelike. Also, just like in Save Me 2, they use the orange and cyan color scheme to great effect.

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(4) The tracking shots they use are excellent. Long and drawn out shots like these usually cause more suspense and are therefore put to great effect in this drama while tracking a character’s movement throughout for example an abandoned building.

(5) Although they changed the director, they have kept the same writer for all three seasons, which has preserved the writing style of the Voice series. The writing style itself is pretty unique and distinct with how the story all has one overarching case each season but has smaller cases sprinkled throughout the season. There are also plenty of cliffhangers towards the ending of certain episodes which I enjoy as it heightens the suspense.

(6) The show runners made some better decisions this time around to not include ridiculously reality breaking events from taking place in the drama, like in earlier seasons. Some examples would be someone digging a huge grave in winter in 45 minutes. Sure, the drama has sci-fi elements but apart from the protagonists extraordinary hearing, the rest of the story is supposed to be based in reality. Good on the writer for not repeating the mistakes made earlier.

The Bad:

(1) Since they didn’t change the writer from earlier seasons, the at times clumsy writing and writing issues makes the series require a lot of suspension of disbelief to be watchable. A lot of thought went into the ”how” a scene should be constructed, and the ”why” was at best an afterthought. The writer has a very distinctive style of writing which does have its charms but does get stale after three seasons. Many tricks that the writer has in her tool box have already been used by season 3, making them less impactful when employed again. The team being disbanded? It’s like the fifth time that we’ve seen that threat. A suspect getting up after being knocked unconscious and causing more havoc because the police officers didn’t bother to cuff him? Yup, not new. The real criminal not being who they initial thought? A Voice series classic. Different minor cases just happen to be related to the main case because it’s convenient for the plot? You bet.

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(2) The writing is also frustrating because of how incompetent the police force comes across. I know that the police in South Korea doesn’t have that much power as much of their power was stripped from them after misusing it during the 70’s and 80’s, but the incompetence of the police force on the whole as portrayed in this drama is astonishing. Apparently, nothing is ever locked in a police station and a civilian can waltz in there however they like. Moreover, these police officers weighing around 80 kilos that have no problem handling specially trained assassins in one scene, suddenly struggle to control and being out maneuvered by small men and women weighing around 50-60 kilos in close quarters combat. Furthermore, it has been a recurring problem of the series that a lot of suspects have priors and the police has a bunch of intel on them yet they never run checks on them until they are already on the run and these people can just operate their businesses freely despite their criminal records.

(3) Starting off the series with a 8 month time skip from the end of season 2 was not very well executed. It makes the character relations feel very disjointed to how they used to act back in season 2. A lot has apparently changed in that time but it isn’t established right off the bat what has happened to make the characters different from how we know them. This makes the characterization feel off. The establishment of exposition isn’t as lazy as in the second season, but it’s halfway there.

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(4) I wish the acting was better than it is. Not only do some side characters have pretty dodgy acting but it also applies to the main characters. The main actress Lee Hana who has been in all three iterations of Voice as call center leader Kang Kwon Joo should do a better job than she does in my opinion. She has had plenty of time to get familiar with the character and figure out how to properly express said character. Her acting is by now means terrible but considering she has 13 years of acting experience, I had higher hopes for her performance.

Score: 6,5 / 10 – The writing has never been the strong suit of the Voice series and continues to be mediocre in this iteration. The acting in Voice 3 is also weaker than in previous installations. However, this time around the direction is really high quality which saves the drama in my mind.

5/5 - (1 vote)

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