My Cultural Diet

356 reviews of movies, TV shows, books, restaurants, etc. My own private Goodreads, Letterboxd, and Yelp all rolled into one (more info here). Ratings are 100% subjective, non-scientific, and subject to change. May contain affiliate links.

Bloodhounds, Season One
3.5 out of 5 stars

Bloodhounds, Season One

Sometimes, you just want to see bad guys get their butts kicked. That was the main appeal of Amazon’s Reacher, and I experienced a similar impulse watching this Korean drama on Netflix. Set during the height of the pandemic, Bloodhounds follows a pair of amateur boxers named Gun-woo and Woo-jin who must punch their way through Seoul’s underbelly after a notorious loan shark threatens Gun-woo’s mom and destroys her business. The series’ action sequences are crisp and well-choreographed, and all the more satisfying in light of the bad guys’ overall sliminess. But given that Bloodhounds is a Korean drama, there’s a lot of, well, drama. Which means some really odd tonal shifts. One minute, the duo’s grimly fighting for their lives against an army of bat-wielding thugs, and the next, the series tosses out some quasi-absurdist humor (often due to the boxers’ differing personalities) or dives headlong into super-earnest bromance or teary-eyed family drama. It doesn’t help that Bloodhounds’ female lead, Kim Sae-ron, was dropped from the series after being charged with drunk driving, which abruptly ended one of the series’ primary character dynamics. While it’s a lot of fun watching Gun-woo and Woo-jin punch thugs, gangsters, and greedy millionaires in the face over and over again, I wish Bloodhounds would’ve made up its mind: be a gritty crime thriller or a light-hearted buddy dramedy, but not both.

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