THE K2 KOREAN DRAMA REVIEW
Snow White meets action-packed Korean Drama in this contemporary fairy tale retelling starring Ji Chang-wook, Song Yoon-ah, and Im Yoon-ah.
Part romantic drama, part political action thriller, part fairy tale, and part sci-fi, The K2 Korean Drama is a blast to watch despite some issues with the central romance.
THE K2 STORY
In K2, Kim Je Ha is a mercenary soldier framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Known as K2, Je Ha seeks revenge with the help of the ruthless Choi Yoo Jin, the owner of JSS Security Company and the wife of Jang Se Joon, a presidential candidate.
The K2 mission in the series is for Je Ha to get to the truth and also get his revenge.
Meanwhile, Je Ha also becomes the patriotic bodyguard of the presidential candidate’s reclusive and illegitimate daughter, Go An Na (a seemingly sweet girl with a friendly personality).
Soon, he must choose between his loyalty to the cutthroat first lady contender, Yoo Jin, or to his growing attraction to her stepdaughter, An Na. (This is Snow White, after all.)
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The contemporary version of the story asks, what if the Evil Queen fell in love with the Huntsman, but the Huntsman fell for Snow White instead?
An entertaining premise: I appreciated the story and the brilliant characterization of Choi Yoo Jin as the wicked “queen,” a powerful and mysterious woman who runs her own company. But is she as evil as she seems?
On the surface, the series as a Snow White retelling isn’t the most obvious, but after minute observation, the similarities and clear comparisons rise. From the sci-fi twist on the “mirror” to the evil stepmother and even the Huntsman.
The main plot points are all there – even down to the wicked stepmother wanting her stepdaughter gone. Instead of royals, we have political leaders. It’s all rather clever.
But how does the main romance fare? The chemistry between Je Ha and Yoo Jin in the political drama is so palpable that you often wonder why you must endure the immature romance between Je Ha and An Na.
Seriously, there’s even a cringe scene where Je Ha, a mercenary soldier, mind you, squeals while watching An Na make ramen. It may be the absolute worst romantic scene ever in a K-Drama or any drama.
While the main romance is, at times, painful, the show is still fascinating, thanks to the two main leads (and I’m not talking about the annoying Snow-White character An Na). Rather, K2 is all about Yoo Jin and Je Ha.
So, is Choi Yoo Jin in love with Je ha? Yes…even if he doesn’t love her back beyond an attraction.
THE MAGIC MIRROR WITH A SCI-FI TWIST
On a side note (and one of the exciting observations about this contemporary Snow White retelling) is the writers’ use of “The Mirror.”
I loved the version of the magic mirror in this retelling, a cool sci-fi invention called “The Mirror” that can spy on people with unique technology created by Yoo Jin.
The mirror is a smart twist on the fairy tale and would work well in an American remake. Think Snow White meets Person of Interest.
Overall, while the central romance is eye-rolling and frustrating and lacking some romantic drama instinct, watch for good action scenes, swoony chemistry between Yoo Jin and Je Ha, and a fabulous performance from Song Yoon Ah as the dynamic Choi Yoo Jin, the wife of a presidential candidate (or the “wicked queen”).
Content Note: TV-14 (mild).
Where to Watch: Netflix and Viki. You can also buy it on DVD.
(Note: Below, for the romance rating, I gave it a three, but I would rate Je Ha and An Na a two. It’s only higher because the “queen” and the “huntsman” are so fabulous together onscreen.
If there is ever a remake of this show (and there should be), they should change the romance aspect to better suit the story.)
MORE ABOUT THE K2 KDRAMA
HOW MANY EPISODES OF THE K2 DRAMA?
The K2 aired for 16 total episodes on tvN from September 23, 2016, until November 12, 2016, on Fridays and Saturdays.
The series received favorable reviews – particularly for the lead actor Ji Chang Wook – and had strong viewership ratings.
THE K2 CAST & CREW
Jang Hyuk-rin (Yong-pal) wrote the script with Kwak Jung-hwan directing. The action and story are creative and strong; however, the show would have ultimately been stronger by reworking the main love story.
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Besides Ji Chang-wook, Im Yoon-ah, and Song Yoon-ah, other cast members include Jo Sung-ha as Jang Se Joon (the cheating husband and presidential candidate), Kim Kap Soo as Park Kwan Soo (a political rival), Lee Jung Jin as Choi Sung Won (Yoo Jin’s younger brother), Shin Dong mi as Kim Dong mi (Yoo-jin’s personal secretary), Lee Ye-eun as Jang Mi ran (one of An Na’s bodyguards), and Lee Jae-woo as Kang Sung gyu, another bodyguard.
Consider An Na’s bodyguards as the seven dwarfs in this Snow White retelling.
THE K2 SYNOPSIS (OFFICIAL NETFLIX SUMMARY)
A fugitive soldier gets swept up in personal and political intrigue when he’s hired as a bodyguard for the family of a presidential candidate.
You can watch the political fairy tale on Netflix.
OFFICIAL VIKI SYNOPSIS
A fugitive searches for justice.
Kim Je Ha (Ji Chang Wook) is a former mercenary soldier known as “K2” who suddenly turns into a fugitive when he is wrongfully accused of killing his girlfriend while he is serving in Iraq. He finds his way back to Korea and gets a job as a bodyguard for Choi Yoo Jin (Song Yoon Ah), the owner of JSS Security and the wife of Jang Se Joon (Jo Sung Ha), who is running for president.
Je Ha uses his new job to plan his revenge on Park Kwan Soo (Kim Kap Soo), the leader of the current ruling party and Se Joon’s rival, whom Je Ha believes ordered the murder of his girlfriend.
When Je Ha is assigned to guard Go An Na (Yoona), the reclusive illegitimate daughter of Se Joon, they begin to develop feelings for each other. But what happens when the person who wants to harm An Na the most is Yoo Jin, Je Ha’s boss and revenge ally? Where will Je Ha’s loyalty lay?
WATCH THE TRAILER
You can see from the trailer that it’s an exciting KDrama with Ji Chang Wook (who did his own stunts) perfect in the lead role!
Have you seen The K2 Korean Drama? Do you agree with our review of The K2, or do you love the central romance? Discuss this in the comments below.
25 thoughts on “The K2 Korean Drama Review: An Entertaining Modern Retelling of Snow White”
I lovedddd K2! Way more than I thought I would. It’s a hidden gem. The female villain has some of the best dialogue I’ve seen in any kdrama.
Also, the snow white comparison is super interesting. I didn’t make the connection while watching! I might have to watch it again. P.S. I was a sucker for the ramen scene hah. So stupid, but so cute at the same time.
We noticed the Snow White comparisons more and more as the show progressed. The clincher was the “mirror.” On re-watch, you’ll be able to notice it. It seems people are mixed about the romance and scenes like the ramen one! Some people love it! Others not so much. So, it probably comes down to preference. I didn’t, but overly cutesy stuff doesn’t usually appeal to me. 🙂 I felt there was more intellectual equality between him and the female villain.
I agree with you. The Snow White background is the older source (rather than modern incarnations), so that’s the one we can discuss. The main female characters all represent three aspects of femalehood – the “innocent” virgin, the mother and the (wise, sensual) childless crone (note in the fairy tale, the stepmother is disguised as an old woman). The mother is dead, this was also the case with the source fairy tale. Motherhood is often associated with death as childbirth was dangerous … additionally the stepmother is childless but sexually mature and thus powerful. This is the source of the tension between her and the “huntsman” and why many of us find that relationship more interesting. I haven’t finished the K2 series, so I’m curious to see where they go with this ancient love triangle. A similar concept of innocence threatened by sexual guile can also be seen in the Snow Queen which also was reinterpreted by Disney as “Frozen”.
Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing!
The female villain stole the entire series! She was so good.
I am in love with the Je Ha and Yoo Jin chemistry, glad you mentioned that!
Not Snow White. Has elements of the movie The Graduate in it. The Bancroft and Hoffman classic.
I super love your review! I totally agree with the romance part. I git so frustrated that it came that way! “The Queen”‘ and K2’s chemistry is on another level!!
Yes, they should have totally focused more on their chemistry. It was so much more interesting.
I am so glad you mentioned the chemistry between Je Ha and Yoo Jin. It’s obvious who the main couple was but then too I hoped for something else. Yoo Jin carried the show for me her character was so well written.
I am on episode 11 right now and this review took the words out of my mouth. Tis definitely the evil / not so evil queen and the male lead who by the way is a lot more than a pretty face. Totally agree with the review although I understand the need for the romance angle as in good overcoming evil. All in all this kdrama is very well done. The actress portraying the evil queen is nothing short of brilliant. What a performance; it is her series all the way.
Yes, completely agree!
Hi Amber and Autumn, I thought I am the one feeling this way about “the annoying snow white” (I fast forward all her scenes, because it was a waste of time), and I think the ‘love at first sight’ scene of Ana failed to make Ramen was really stupid, it was the tough and macho “couldn’t care less” guy K2 suddenly turned to puppy from wolf.
Thanks again for the good review.
Haha! Yeah, she was an annoying character and the ramen scene was funny – but not in a good way! We did enjoy many things about the series though. 🙂 Anyway, you’re welcome! And thanks.
annoying with no limited facial expression and limited outfits too
Agree with this review to extend although I don’t understand why do people find the female lead annoying or her romance with Je Ha. Years of war and losing his first love in, then being dragged into all that violence by that “Queen”, do people really wanted that type of romance? Fall in love with the woman who would have been successful in “getting rid of a peasant” had it not been for his “hidden huntsman skills, or actually having basic attraction for woman who can be of same age as his mother. Anna was isolated as a child, isolation can trigger anyone. She lived in self guilt and forced to become nun until finally breaking out on her. She unfortunately thinks her dear father is well sound and loves her. Having no sense of politics, the more she tried to reach “justice” the more she entangled herself in that position. Anna and Je Ha are each other’s solace that they find in the dark webs they are entangled with, the biggest factor being the “Queen” herself. All the Queen needed to do was be a damn Queen and get rid of the useless King early on in her life. She herself chose to remain in self-pity and egomaniacal herself to shut every reality glitch in life.
im just at the 3rd episode, but i totally agre, cs its not easy to br in the shoes of someone like Anna
An evil person can never be main lead. No matter who promotes it & how it gets promoted. Good prevails over evil. Do not be jealous of people. Compete with them fairly.
I love your review so so much! i love the chemistry between Yoo jin and Je Ha, they both would make a good couple in this show. I was hoping they both will be together throughout the whole show but was disappointed that Je Ha got together with Anna. But kdrama is always kdrama, they will always show what the audience wants to see. like main handsome actor is “supposed” to date a so call “young and pretty” lead actress =-=”
Yeah, I really think they should have followed the chemistry on this one. The main romance was kind of awkward.
The ramen scene was so awkward and extra. I hope there will be a remake for Je Ha and Yoo Jin.
I just finished my 3rd watch of this series. I’ve always appreciated the romance between the two main characters Je Ha and Goh An Na, but this time even more so. Je Ha was surrounded by evil, corruption, and greed. It was sickening. He had been fighting and running for a while it seems only to find himself stuck deep in it.
Goh An Na was pure and innocent. I am very glad they did not create a romance between Yoo Jin and Je Ha. Yoo Jin and her husband ended up as they were because of miscommunication and distrust. It’s sad that they only found out when it was too late. Je Ha, from my perspective deserved something pure after the hell he had been in and through. He was not going to redeem Yoo Jin. I don’t usually comment on reviews, but since I literally just finished watching today and happened upon this review, I thought I’d add my two cents 🙂
Yes, I love both Anna and Je Ha together. Nice young couple