"Black Knight" is a six-episode Korean drama set in a post-apocalyptic world where toxic air pollution has decimated the population in the year 2071. The surviving citizens are divided into strict social classes and rely on delivery knights for their needs. The story follows the legendary knight, 5-8, as he helps a refugee boy become a knight while trying to uncover the truth behind the missing people and corrupt government.
The show, releasing on Netflix on 12th April 2023, is directed by Cho Ui-Seok and is based on the webcomic "Taekbaegisa” by Lee Yoon-Kyun. This show is like a mix of Hunger Games and World War Z but in a K-drama form. And, instead of zombies, it is the lack of oxygen and a corrupt government that is killing the people.
Despite being a post-apocalyptic drama, “Black Knight” has all the classic elements that endear us to K-dramas, whether it is the sweet romantic moments, the melancholic flashbacks, tension-brewing climaxes, comedy, or even the slow-motion walks and action sequences with an epic musical score.
When watching the first episode, I was surprised by how light-hearted and comedic it was, both visually and in terms of the story. Don't get me wrong, at no point in this show did the comedy feel forced or overbearing, but I just like my post-apocalyptic shows to be a little darker. I thought I would be giving this a lower rating, but then the second episode happened and the whole show took a turn. The actual storyline began to unravel, and things got so grim that I was almost moved to tears.
Kim Woo-bin's performance in the lead role of 5-8 was truly exceptional and stood out from the rest. He embodies the character of a soldier with an unwavering sense of duty and an undeniable aura of masculinity. Despite lacking any supernatural abilities, he impresses with his formidable skill and intelligence, making him a force to be reckoned with in the post-apocalyptic world. Woo-bin's portrayal of a hero is nothing short of captivating, as his impressive acting range throughout the show brings an inspiring and authentic sense of courage and determination to the character.
The exquisite action sequences showcased in "Black Knight" are undoubtedly the pinnacle of its brilliance. Every punch and explosion is meticulously crafted and delivered, leaving you yearning for more. The cinematography, too, is nothing short of spectacular. The starkly beautiful portrayal of the post-apocalyptic world is a testament to the visionary direction that went into creating the show. The visuals bring an eerie sense of realism to the narrative, immersing you in the dire circumstances that the characters are subjected to. Adding to the overall intensity is the epic orchestral score that blends seamlessly with the show's atmosphere, amplifying the emotional impact of each scene.
“Black Knight” is not perfect. While the second episode proved to be a significant improvement from the first, the pilot did not meet my expectations. It was evident that the showrunners were trying to convey a lot of information, but it became overwhelming. It took a while to understand where we are in each scene, who is related to who, and what exactly is happening even.
In addition, the CGI used in the office scenes of Ryu Seok and Chairman Ryu appeared fake, making it difficult to focus on their conversations. These scenes were dull and uninteresting, almost tempting me to skip ahead. While the show managed to handle several subplots well, particularly the love stories and the revenge that comes later, some of them detracted from the main plot of a post-apocalyptic tragedy involving missing people and a corrupt leader. So, the critical storyline didn't receive the attention it deserved, leaving me underwhelmed.
Netflix may have spoiled us with their binge-worthy releases, but I can't help but think that Black Knight would have benefited from a more traditional weekly or bi-weekly schedule. With each episode delivering a heart-pumping cliffhanger, it's hard not to feel the frustration of having to wait for the next installment.
While the show may have some flaws, such as underwhelming CGI and distracting subplots, the main storyline is a captivating post-apocalyptic drama that will have you glued to your screen. If you're a sucker for tragedy, drama, and suspense, then Black Knight is definitely worth adding to your watchlist.
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