Ha Jung-woo’s cheeky but clever choice in “Narco-Saints”

It has been more than two years since Ha Jung-woo last appeared in public.

Through the global OTT platform Netflix’s “Narco-Saints,” Ha Jung-woo announced his comeback as an actor in two and a half years and as the cast of a series work in 15 years since the 2007 drama “Hit.” Due to a series of controversies and unsavory incidents, Ha Jung-woo, who used to show his face in two to three movies a year, remained silent for more than two years. His return work this time is a six-part series titled “Narco-Saints” based on a true story. 


In the drama, which depicts the arrest of a Korean criminal notorious as a drug lord in Suriname, South America’s smallest country, Ha Jung-woo plays Kang In-gu, who is based on a real person. 

Kang In-gu’s father was a soldier in the Vietnam War but still couldn’t escape poverty all his life, while his mother passed away early already. He has to go out to the cruel society without finishing high school to do everything in order to feed his two younger brothers. And when his younger brothers can take care of themselves, his duty shifted to taking care of his wife and two children. With his natural ability and wit, he managed to make a living by running a car center and a karaoke bar, but he still thought that he would not be able to escape poverty all his life like his father. He hears about Suriname, a country that throws away skate fish without making use of it from his sailor friend Eungsu, and leaves to organize his assets and started a skate business in Suriname. The skate business was initially going smoothly. However, cocaine was found in In-gu’s skate boat, which quickly turned him into a drug offender and he got imprisoned in Suriname, losing everything. Choi Chang-ho (Park Hae-soo), the head of the NIS, went to see In-gu in prison, and let him know about Jeon Yo-hwan (Hwang Jung-min), a drug lord who is posing as a pastor in Suriname but is actually a drug offender. Choi then asked Kang to infiltrate Jeon Yo-hwan’s organization. 


“What’s the point of living just to survive? I need a change.” Unlike his parents who couldn’t escape poverty, the life-threatening adventure of a man who dreamed of turning his life around in a distant foreign land starts from this line. As can be seen from the storyline, “Narco-Saints” is a work that begins with the life of Kang In-gu and unfolds within the perspective of Kang In-gu. Ha Jung-woo plays a slow and determined “businessman,” a man with a lot of guts who has lived through ups and downs from a young age. He then transformed into a father who gives up his life for his wife and children, which is indispensable in modern and contemporary Korean history, and expresses a realistic man who moves with “the logic of money” in a faraway country. 


In conclusion, in this work, which can be seen as an acting feast with a line-up full of trustworthy actors, Ha Jung-woo plays the role of Kang In-gu, who takes the lead and controls the plot as the “spine” of “Narco-Saints” and built the story’s foundation while Hwang Jung-min creates the tight tension like a pair of “Sword and Shield,” giving viewers the greatest pleasure. In other words, he has made the right choice after a long and silent hiatus. 


Given that it is a stable collaboration between Ha Jung-woo and director Yoon Jong-bin, a long-time comrade and best friend of his in the movie world, it was the best advantage for Ha Jung-woo as a return film. Netflix’s production style, which guarantees the free right to be creative, and his collaboration with actor Hwang Jung-min also seem to have been advantages for Ha Jung-woo. Since the series was released on September 9th, “Narco-Saints” has attracted favorable reviews such as “Time flies when I watch this show,” “Nonstop appreciation from me,” and “It’s been a while since I saw such a great work,” and Netflix itself has been receiving good reviews for the first time in a long time. The show is also ranked at the top of Netflix’s global streaming rankings, showing how positive the global viewers’ reactions are in the future. 


In the drama, if Hwang Jung-min shows a two-sided and more dramatic appearance of a fake priest and a drug lord, Ha Jung-woo appears as an ordinary man rooted in reality. The high-level brain play that the criminals used to deceive him, and the cold poker face make the audience realize how skillful the actors’ acting methods are. 

Kang In-gu, a master of negotiations, a businessman who thoroughly follows the logic of money and an ordinary man who infiltrates a drug crime den, takes the lead in wiping out the crime organization, stimulates rival organizations, and leads the operation. Nevertheless, Ha Jung-woo proved his power by realistically depicting a person who does not seem to exist in real life.


Created by Ha Jung-woo, who returned after more than two years, and his best friend, “Narco-Saints” is a work full of cinematic charm. And in this work full of cinematic fun, Ha Jung-woo’s face adds to the welcoming sense. 

Source: daum

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