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KDrama: Bad Papa (2018)

I wasn't going to do this review until a little later because there are still some drafts sitting in my folder that's just screaming at me. But today's Father's Day and I think the timing is perfect.

I was a little into Jang Hyuk for a while because he's the kind of actor that doesn't quite fit the 'handsome, metro-sexual, too good to be true' actors flooding the Kdrama world right now. He's just an actor who is really serious about acting and is known for his meticulous role-picking. He's not getting younger (his words, not mine), and he's got to select his roles more carefully.

Also, I love the fact that he's a normal actor who appears to be quite a regular person who just so happens to love acting. He's your everyday guy from the next block who just likes boxing, acting and terrifies you with his horrible karaoke singing skills. #lol 😅😂😝 If you've seen enough pretty boys, sooner or later, you'll start thinking this way, I promise you. Or when you reach your forties, at least.

Anyway, back to the drama.

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Bad Papa KDrama Series Plot

The plot is simple enough - a man who married a young woman with whom he is absolutely in love with and would do anything for, and a father who dotes on his daughter to the point of pampering and spoiling her. 

The twist here comes in the form of his deteriorating health, his next-to-nothing job, and his indifference in pursuing a better life. His wife married him when he was at the peak of his boxing career and now shoulders the family's responsibilities as he wanders through his day-to-day life as a lackadaisical cop. He basically doesn't give a shit anymore. LOL

This came at the heels of a massive blow-up in his career which sees him being demeaned, belittled, and fall from grace with the whole of society. 

He chanced upon an opportunity to make a quick buck as a lab test subject for a major but very secretive pharma company. Out of sheer luck, he met another test subject who was hooked on the power of the drugs he was being tested on. It gave them superhuman powers for a couple of minutes. 

With the drug, he could win matches again. The fallen champion can finally pick up the pieces of life and emerge victorious again against younger, better, and fitter boxers, and finally settle the score with the last man he fought with in a proper ring more than a decade ago. 

Jang Hyuk as Ji-Cheol, and Other Casts

Although bordering on over-dramatic in some of his other performances, there's something about Jang Hyuk's portrayals that stick. It's like elephant glue. You don't know how the hell it got there but you're going to have a tough time getting it off you. 

It's hard to complain about his acting in this role except towards the end where he was either monotonous or expressionless almost all the time. I get what they're trying to tell me but there should at least be a few subtle expressions in those scenes and yet, it was left blank. 

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What I would say is that the plot and acting from all of them, including the man who portrayed Lee Min Woo, they nailed their roles. 

In the beginning, you'll feel sad that the situation the characters were in hit too close to home. A struggling family, an aimless father, a mother who chases after an impossible dream of becoming a writer/author, and a daughter dealing with prepubescent angst of everything. 

It also hits home when depicting the lengths people would actually go to in order to keep their families alive and happy.

However, if I were Young-Soon (the daughter)'s parent, I would slap the shit out of that brat for being ungrateful and submitting to peer pressure to the dismay of her parents. They relent, nonetheless. 

A Different Take from a Kdrama

Compared to any of the Kdramas I've been watching these days, this has nothing to do with paranormal activities, crime-solving, fantasy, big-boss-weak-assistant, mean-big-man-finding-love-with-poor-girl, or even the reverse of unsuspecting-girl-with-superhuman-powers. 

It was a simple plot that dealt with human life. Everyday human life. 

Everyone knows that Jang Hyuk is into martial arts in real life. He's made it very clear during countless appearances in some reality TV shows and interviews. It piqued my interest to see him do what he is passionate about while acting out a role.

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What's With That?

There were several things that I didn't like about this series and it had to do with the writing and not the acting. 
  1. What's wrong with a society that places the blame on a husband when the wife is unhappy with her lot in life? As far as I could see, she was in love with him first and was enchanted while he was at the top of his game. So, now that she has to shoulder most of the responsibilities and he is no longer the top boxer in the country, it's his fault she is unhappy? Both had a role to play in a marriage and for the husband or father to say 'It's all my fault I didn't make everyone happy' is totally bullshit to me.
  2. Lee Min Woo's totally incompatible with Yeo-Eun. They just don't look like the type to fall for each other. He being smitten with her and sudden man-move towards her while his archenemy is down feels so....BTW.
  3. The pharma company. I get it. It's illegal. Maybe I am not getting the whole thing right but the scientist behind the whole drug project had a good reason to pursue experimentation despite sacrificing some people along the way. I am not a scientist so I'll refrain from making suggestions for the writers but this scientist guy's ending? That's not floating with me at all.
  4. The drug test scenes. Er....OTT much and also, bad CGI?
  5. The boxing scenes were also a bit OTT. Can you make it more real next time? Like he punches the guy with half effort, he flails half effort, and he wins the match. I went just...huh. 

Props Given For

I give props when props are due - the storyline was a rare departure from the staple Kdrama series. The main characters' love for the family, forked roads they faced, and the decision to stick it out together will resonate with family-orientated viewers. 

It also deals with drug use, which not many shows dare tackle because it's kind of taboo not just in South Korea/Asia, but in all sporting events the world over. You might find this kind of storyline from Hollywood (which is far from shy of broaching the topic) but it's a rare gem from an Asian production. And it will make you think. Should he? Shouldn't he? It's wrong but...can he? Why CAN'T HE??!! 😂

It's also not too fast-paced that kept me awake till 4am watching and not slow enough to put me to sleep. It's paced just right. 

The drama Bad Papa will touch you because it shows you what a father would do to save his family, keep them happy and make their dreams come true. 

Warning: bring tissues towards the end. 

Happy Father's Day!

Love,
Marsha

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