This review is spoiler-free.
Following her father’s murder, revenge-driven Yoo Ji-Woon puts her trust in a powerful crime boss as she joins the police force to find the killer.
“My Name is the new Squid Game” – Eugh. I’m sick of the mainstream media coming out with this lazy tagline to try and sell Netflix’ latest sure-fire hit! I stumbled upon My Name because I have a genuine love and passion for Asian cinema and television, I have done for a long time now and I have followed the production of this series with interest for over a year. While I have consumed a lot of police and crime dramas from this part of the World, My Name stands out as something a little bit different.
My Name goes beyond the standard type of revenge thriller and includes multiple genres, such as action and neo-noir, sprinkled into the mix to help give the show its unique flavour. Likewise, the show is not a straightforward police procedural or crime drama. It is very much its own creation and when you add a gripping story, brutal and wonderfully choreographed fights, and action sequences on top of truly incredible character performances, My Name stands head and shoulders above its peers.
When it comes to the cast of My Name, Han So-hee (Yoon Ji-Woo) is phenomenal as the series lead, and going off this outing, over the eight episodes, she is destined for big things! She delivers a multi-layered performance rarely seen and going on this journey with her, you immediately feel like you are watching something truly special. Given her age and sparse filmography, she manages to bring a level of complexity to her character that even the most seasoned performers would struggle to achieve. Not only are her emotional and dramatic beats perfect, but her fighting ability and the believability of her action scenes are just as impressive! Yoon Ji-Woo is the type of character that comes around once in a blue moon and while there is a visible increase in great ‘kick-ass’ female leads, Ji-Woo deserves to be right up there leading the charge! Supporting Han So-hee is Park Hee-soon (Choi Mu-jin) whose role as a crime boss, mentor, and her father’s former best friend makes for an interesting on-screen dynamic. It’s hard to root for someone who is essentially a villain, but they manage to balance his character in such a way that he becomes very sympathetic. On the other side of the law is Ji-Woo’s police partner Ahn Bo-hyun (Jeon Pil-do). Bo-hyun is the perfect counter to Ji-Woo’s intensity and the duo complement each other really well. He has his own interesting backstory and how that connects to other aspects of the story makes those dramatic moments even more intriguing.
My Name is a tight eight episode-arc with very much the feel of a one-and-done, but I think there is some scope to bring the show back, however, this will require a good amount of narrative shift as the story they want to tell reaches a satisfying conclusion. If this is going to be a one-series wonder, then it burned brightly and left a lasting impression. My Name is compelling and compulsive viewing and it’s very easy to finish the show in one sitting, I know I did!
My Name is a brutal and emotional rollercoaster of a journey filled with stunning performances, a gripping narrative and some of the best fight choreography to ever hit the small screen. Han So-hee – Remember the name!