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The Weekend Binge: "Bloodhounds"

The eight-episode series Bloodhounds on Netflix delivered a binge-worthy experience that kept this action fan up all night. Beyond gripping fight scenes and a fast-paced narrative, the revenge story stands out by spotlighting the very real problem of predatory loan sharks during the Covid-19 pandemic. Looking for more of the same? Read on to find out what you can watch next.

The Plot

Devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, small business owners fall prey to ruthless loan shark Kim Myeong-gil (Park Sung-woong, Snowdrop). But the son of one struggling restaurant owner happens to be promising boxer Gun-Woo (Woo Do-hwan, The King: Eternal Monarch).

Along with his friend and fellow boxer Hong Woo-jin (Lee Sang-yi, Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha), Gun-Woo starts working for a former legendary moneylender to take revenge on Myeong-gil and find justice for other victims.

The Review

As a thrilling action and revenge k-drama, Bloodhounds already understood the assignment. There are more than enough expertly choreographed fight scenes to satisfy action fanatics, and the fast-paced narrative that ends in a cliffhanger each episode make it a struggle not to binge the entire series in one sitting.

But beyond these, Bloodhounds touches on the real-life problem of predatory loan sharks. This socio-economic issue, particularly relevant in the era of Covid-19, adds a layer of depth and realism to the series that will resonate with viewers. The series deserves kudos for shedding light on a lesser-discussed issue caused by the pandemic lockdowns — the plight of small businesses that fell prey to loan sharks.

Undoubtedly, though, the best part of the show are its two leads — Woo Do-hwan and Lee Sang-yi — who manage to be both adorable as good-natured and loyal friends, and fierce and feared as intense boxers. That they're both incredibly hot once they take their shirts off is just icing on the cake.

Stream if you are a fan of action-packed dramas with a side of social commentary.

Skip if you can't take too many on-screen punches.


What to watch after Bloodhounds

More action or revenge thrillers...

Vagabond (2019)

Lee Seung-gi stars in this action-packed thriller as a stuntman who gets involved in a massive corruption scandal while trying to uncover the truth behind a mysterious plane crash that kills his nephew.

Bae Suzy stars alongside him as an NIS agent working undercover at the Korean embassy in Morocco, who gets tasked to help the bereaved families from the fatal flight.

16 episodes. Available on Netflix.

Military Prosecutor Doberman

Ahn Bo-hyun stars as a corrupt and apathetic military prosecutor Do Bae-man who has a change of perspective (and heart) when he meets his replacement, captain Cha Woo-in (Jo Bo-ah), a prosecutor who is bent on inflicting revenge on all those who had a hand in disgracing her late father and their firm. Soon, Do Bae-man realizes that he has also been victimized by the powers that be in the military, and now therefore has his own very personal reasons for taking revenge.

Military Prosecutor Doberman is a thickly-stacked tour of the worst abuses of the military disguised as a revenge action drama. Read our review and recommendations of what to watch after here.

16 episodes. Available on Netflix and Viu.

Insider (2022)

Kang Ha-neul is Kim Yo-han, a naive junior prosecutor sent on an undercover mission to infiltrate the infamous Seongju prison. Pessimistic, dark, and often shocking in its brutality, JTBC’s Insider, featuring Kang Ha-neul and a powerhouse ensemble cast, stands out in a genre that usually prefers the unrealistic and the fantastical. Powered by a layered plot that's compelling enough to keep you engrossed for 16 episodes, Insider is a solid show from start to finish and may well be one of the better-written dramas of 2022. Read our full review here.

More Woo Do-hwan...

My Country: The New Age (2019)

Set during the bloody transition from the Goryeo to Joseon dynasties, this epic bromance chronicles the friendship of two young men who find themselves fighting across battle lines. Woo Do-hwan plays Nam Seon-ho, the illegitimate son of a high ranking military officer determined to prove himself, while Yang Se-jong (Dr. Romantic, Temperature of Love) is Seo-hwi, his best friend and rival who is the son of a disgraced soldier. Seolhyun (Summer Strike) co-stars as their strong-willed love interests, while Jang Hyuk once again takes on the role of historical figure Yi Bang-won.

16 episodes. Available on Netflix.

Mad Dog (2017)

For many Woo Do-hwan fans, his role as a genius former swindler in Mad Dog is the one that put him on the k-drama map. Despite being relatively new at the time, he held his own opposite veteran actor Yoo Ji-tae, who stars as an ex-cop and leader of the Mad Dog investigation team looking into a suspicious plane crash. For this role, he brought home the Best New Actor award at the 2017 KBS Drama Awards.

16 episodes. Available on Netflix.

The King: Eternal Monarch (2020)

Woo Do-hwan's acting chops were on full display in this fantasy series showing two parallel worlds — one where Korea is a constitutional monarchy, and one similar to present-day Korea. In the monarchy, he's the stiff chief imperial bodyguard and best friend of Emperor Lee Gon (Lee Min-ho). In present-day Korea, he's a goofy public service worker who's friends with Detective Jung Tae Eul (Kim Go-eun).

16 episodes. Available on Netflix.

More Lee Sang-yi...

Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (2021)

While Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha made us all fall in love with the SikHye couple — Hong Du-sik (Kim Seon-ho) and Yoon Hye-jin (Shin Min-ah) — Lee Sang-yi stole a few hearts as the second male lead. As a workaholic variety show PD with a bright personality who has been wooing Hye-jin since their college days, we almost wanted to root for him to get the girl. Well, almost.

16 episodes. Available on Netflix.

Youth of May (2021)

In yet another second male lead role, Lee Sang-yi portrays a rich businessman attracted to his sister's best friend, Kim Myung-hee (Go Min-si), in this ill-fated tale of forbidden love set in the city of Gwangju during the politically charged month of May 1980. Read our full review of this k-drama here.

Hopefully, the next time we see Lee Sang-yi on screen, he finally gets the girl.

12 episodes. Available on Netflix and Viu.

Once Again (2021)

Penned by Yang Hee-seung, the writer of beloved rom-com Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, Once Again’s large ensemble is led by KBS multiple Daesang (Grand Prize) winning veteran and Korea's "National Father" Cheon Ho-jin as the family patriarch, Song Yon-dal. He and his wife Cha Hwa-yeon (Jang Ok-boon), have worked hard to raise their children: stuntman and father of two Jun-sun (Oh Dae-hwan), pediatrician Na-hee (Lee Min-jung) who is married to fellow pediatrician Yoon Kyu-jin (Lee Sang-yeob), single mom Ga-hee (Oh Yoon-ah), and grad student Da-hee (Lee Cho-hee).

In their twilight years, they unexpectedly find all of their four adult children moving back in with them, one by one, as their marriages fall apart. As the house gets more than a little crowded, Yon-dal lovingly looks after his family as they all help each other heal. Lee Sang-yi plays Yoon Jae-Seok, Yoon Kyu-jin's brother and the love interest of youngest sister Song Da-hee.

100 episodes. Available on Netflix and Viu.

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