Netflix mini-trailers – the kind that play a clip when you are skipping over titles to browse – have a tendency to play clips that are muted, boring, or out of context nonsense. Bad and Crazy, however, shows a snippet of a man launching a flying kick into someone’s face, and a Matrix-style freeze frame gloriously labouring over the impact. So, press play, yeah?
What Is Bad and Crazy About?
Directed by Yoo Seon-dong (The Uncanny Counter), Bad and Crazy stars Lee Dong-wook as ambitious Anti-Corruption police officer, Ryu Soo-yeol.
Ryu’s lust for promotions have led him to take questionable methods, even while simultaneously policing the ethics of other officers.
His cozy setup is shattered when he is attacked at random points by a mysterious motorbike-driving assailant.
I could dance around the mystery here, but Bad and Crazy makes it clear early what is going on: Ryu has a split personality.
‘K’, Ryu’s other self, takes over when Ryu’s internalised sense of justice needs to act. K (Wi Ha-joon) meters out ‘crazy’ righteousness with skillful violence; tricky when Ryu’s investigation targets include a prominent politician and a revered police captain.
Over the 12 episodes Bad and Crazy explores three plot arcs, the last focusing on Ryu and K’s origins together.
Everything is delivered with a confident sense of style sold by the vivacious argumentativeness of the main duo. As the eponymous ‘Bad’ and ‘Crazy’, Ryu and K bicker and struggle for control to proceed how they separately see best.
Look, don’t concern yourself with how both Ryu and K manage to achieve what they do despite being in the same body. Certainly, there are fight scenes with both of them that clearly pay no mind to the actual logistics of how the fight is supposed to work.
It’s arguably more fun that Bad and Crazy doesn’t get hung up on the practicality of its own premise. There are two of them, and they are both the same. Ok? Got it? Good!
Bad and Crazy Official Trailer
Is Bad and Crazy Worth Watching?
The cast is rounded out nicely by the ‘Good’ and ‘Wild’. The former is an efficient but naïve junior officer Oh Kyeong-tae (Cha Hak-yeon), who becomes the target of an assassination attempt when he gets too close in a case.
The latter is aggressive narcotics officer Lee Hui-gyeom (Han Ji-eun), who fights to clear her colleague’s name whilst suppressing her personal history with Ryu.
Bad and Crazy hits the sweet spot with its mixture of elements. The usual melodrama and broad comedy are stirred into darkly dramatic assaults and conspiracies, but no one element threatens to overpower the rest.
Therefore the chuckles are audible, the action satisfying, and the emotional moments ring with heartfelt tenderness. Ryu’s adoptive mother slowly succumbing to dementia is tactfully done and provides a stand-out scene in the back end of the show guaranteed to choke you up.
It's disappointing that despite Ji-eun’s great fiery performance, her character quickly takes a back seat to her past with Ryu. Once the plot is finished with Oh Kyeong-tae he gets paired off nicely into a comedy double act that adds flavour to the latter clutch of episodes: Lee Hui-gyeom is left as a spare wheel to fill in script gaps.
Although Lee is underdeveloped, Bad and Crazy benefits hugely from a cast that skews on the older side. Most South Korean shows rely on a boyish, heartthrob lead. Lee Dong-wook’s Ryu has an infinitely expressive face (he’s particularly good at ‘wounded’) that benefits from some more years. K’s psychotic tendencies through Wi Ha-joon’s come across as less ‘performative’ than an Idol Star would likely have delivered.
Bad and Crazy is a hugely enjoyable show well worth your time; why not let it launch a flying kick into your face?
Words by Mike Record