‘A Killer Paradox’ series review: Bloody K-drama thriller wastes its potential to be a compelling character study


A scene from 'A Killer Paradox'

A scene from 'A Killer Paradox'

Webtoons have emerged as a gold mine for the South Korean media industry, which is now increasingly trying to adapt already successful stories. While genres like romance were the expected first choices to be translated to Netflix screens, more serious, bloody stories have also found willing audiences. Netflix's latest, A fatal contradiction, This is one such example. Although it delivers on its promise of being a slightly uncomfortable thriller, the limited running time proves to be a hindrance to character development.

a fatal paradox The director, Lee Chang-hee, is not familiar with dark subject matter, given his previous work. hell is other people (2019), but this time he has added a slightly comedic tone to the whole murder business. Lee Tang (Choi Woo-shik), a failed college student, cannot find his purpose in life, and the closest he comes to it is his desire to go see the Rocky Mountains in Canada. While returning home late at night from his part-time job at a convenience store, Tang finds himself embroiled in a brawl between some drunken people. The repeated blows to his face take Tang back to his school days where he faced similar bullying. Whether it's pent-up frustration or just survival instincts, something comes to Tang's mind and he deals the final blow to his criminal. Initially filled with guilt over the fact that he murdered someone, Tang's behavior changes when the news reveals that the dead man was actually a serial killer in disguise. Tang's compulsions, or his “power” as he calls it, lead to a spate of murders, leaving behind a list of dead people who all become social pests.

A Killer Paradox (Korean)

Director: Lee Chang-hee

Cast: Choi Woo-shik, Son Suk-ku, Lee Hee-joon, and others

Episode: 8

Runtime: 45 to 50 minutes

Story: When a college student accidentally kills criminals, he decides to use his power for some vigilante justice

Son Suk-kook as bored, see-it-all detective Jang Nan-gum soon follows Tang's murderous trail, but has difficulty catching him; As luck would have it, the same cosmic intervention that allows him to kill only the bad guys also serves to erase any evidence.

This slow cat and mouse race between Nan-Gam and Tang provides the primary source of tension for the show. While its action sequences are slick, and shocking when it comes to the kills. a fatal paradox The best writing comes when characters are alone. Chang-hee's direction especially has a unique and unsettling way of using flashbacks to get into the character's mind, or show her thoughts without becoming cliché or making them feel boring. 'Paradox' often ends up being the most interesting character in the show. Choi Woo-shik, who rose to fame for his role in Bong Joon-ho, as Tang parasite (2019), is adept at encompassing many conflicting emotions. Distraught by his actions, Woo-shik effortlessly transitions to give Tang a messiah-like confidence, while always letting his guilt simmer just below the surface.

However, in its eight episodes, a killer paradoxThe intention to delve into the background of other vigilante assassins like Tang – and let it be presented as a mystery to the audience – distracts us from a compelling character study. While taking interesting turns from the main plot, the show struggles to balance a plethora of ambitious ideas.

but overall, A fatal contradiction, As a product of smart writing and supported by some fantastic performances, it emerges as a slightly disturbing but deeply interesting watch.

A Killer Paradox is currently available for streaming on Netflix

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