Song of the Bandits review

The dawn of the 20th century was a period of upheaval in East Asia, especially for Korea under the harsh Japanese rule. Enter Lee-Yoon (Kim Nam-Gil), our protagonist in Netflix’s Song of the Bandits, who embarks on a perilous quest for freedom and justice.

Once a slave soldier for Japan, Yoon is haunted by a past event in Gando, a region in northeast China. He returns after receiving an anonymous tip about a person he’s seeking. Along the way, he reunites with Choi Chung-Soo (Yoo Jae-Myung), a former slave turned arms dealer.

Netflix's Song of the Bandits review

The lawlessness of Gando is a breeding ground for bandits who wreak havoc on innocent lives. Yoon, fueled by personal vendetta, assembles a team of fighters to combat both bandits and Japanese forces, aiming to reclaim their freedom.

Song of the Bandits gracefully tackles the sensitive issue of Korea’s colonial past, blending stunning cinematography, compelling writing, and skilful direction. While not entirely historically accurate, it captures the essence of the era and the diverse cultures of East Asia.

The fight sequences, choreographed to perfection and led by Kim Nam-Gil, are a highlight. Each member of Yoon’s team brings a unique fighting style, making their collective battles intensely engaging.

Netflix's Song of the Bandits review: Kim Nam-Gil

However, the series isn’t without flaws. Its pacing can be uneven, and the multiple subplots sometimes feel overwhelming. Despite this, Netflix’s Song of the Bandits stands as a cinematic gem among Netflix’s Korean originals, offering a gripping, entertaining look at a pivotal moment in Korea’s history.

The Good:

  • Stellar Performances: Kim Nam-gil and Seohyun steal the show with their compelling acting.
  • Action-Packed: The series features well-executed action scenes that keep you on the edge of your seat.
  • Historical Depth: The show doesn’t shy away from portraying the grim realities of life under Japanese rule.
  • Genre Blend: With elements of action, adventure, romance, and comedy, there’s something for everyone.

The Not-So-Good:

  • Pacing Issues: The series takes its time to build momentum, which might test your patience.
  • Predictable Plot Points: Some story elements are foreseeable, reducing the element of surprise.

Final Thoughts:

Song of the Bandits is a commendable K-drama that’s worth your time, especially if you’re a fan of action, adventure, romance, and comedy. However, be prepared for a somewhat slow start that eventually picks up the pace.

Song of the Bandits is now streaming on Netflix.

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