Following the success of The World of the Married and Nevertheless, Han So-hee is back on our screens as a gangster-slash-police officer in the Netflix action series My Name. The eight-part drama isn’t necessarily pushing the envelope of a revenge storyline, but So-hee further solidified her standing as an actress to watch out for in the years to come by taking the role of Yoon Ji-woo.
Korean Name: 마이 네임
Genre: Thriller, Action, Drama, Crime
Number of Episodes: 8 episodes
Episode Length: 45 to 59 minutes
Recommended For: Certified action drama enthusiasts
NOT Recommended For: Viewers with sky-high expectations when it comes to storytelling.
Han So-Hee as Yoon Ji-woo / Oh Hye-jin
Park Hee-Soon as Choi Mu-jin
Ahn Bo-Hyun as Jeon Pil-do
Kim Sang-Ho as Cha Gi-ho
Lee Hak-Joo as Jung Tae-ju
Chang Ryul as Do Gang-jae
Jiwoo’s already messed up life took a darker turn after losing her dad one gruesome night. As she hunts down her father’s killer, Jiwoo also starts to uncover secrets that may change everything she knows as the truth.
The first 15 minutes of My Name was solid. We see Jiwoo in a very miserable plight — she’s ostracized and bullied at school, constantly tailed by cops looking for her dad, with nobody to lean on but herself. It gets worse after she has witnessed her father’s horrific murder on her birthday, just a door away from the crime scene. Put all of these pieces in the first episode, and you now tugged the viewers’ attention.
As the show goes forth, we see Jiwoo fearlessly clinging to all means there is to get justice, even if it involves joining a notorious drug cartel and embodying a whole new persona. She then successfully infiltrated the Inchang Metropolitan Police Agency’s Narcotics department, intending to unmask the identity of his father’s murderer.
However, My Name soon fell into one huge cliché puddle. There were twists, but they felt underwhelming. Everything was moving so fast, but it didn’t really make the series more compelling. The romance between Jiwoo and Pildo, for instance, seemed to have bloomed out of nowhere. Episode by episode, there weren’t any notable scenes to tread that romantic lane. The build-up was scanty, leaving an impression that it was just an afterthought. Even the open-ended conclusion may leave you puzzled or tepid, to say the least.
Extra two or three episodes would’ve helped improve the show overall. For an action-packed series like My Name, making it an eight-part series almost seems like a disservice because it has the potential to go for something more thought-provoking, storyline-wise. Whether a new season is in the works or not, the series is still good for your nightly K-drama binging. But in terms of replayability? Not really.
Characters and Performance
In an interview, So-hee reveals she wants to show a different side of her in My Name. The up-and-coming actress was successful in accomplishing that goal because she delivered an excellent performance. Jiwoo is a woman of few words, revenge-driven—but So-hee portrayed the pain and grief of her role marvelously. Not to mention, she also went through extensive training together with her co-actors. That nature of commitment is almost a rarity in the entertainment wonderland and merits praise.
Given the show’s gritty and dark theme, Pildo (played by Ahn Bo-Hyun) could’ve given a tinge of delight or goofiness that My Name needs. He gave a good performance, but his character tended to be a little uninteresting in some scenes. The relationship dynamic between Pildo and Jiwoo would’ve been more thrilling to see if they weren’t too similar.
Park Hee-Soon was also very remarkable. The fact that viewers can dislike and feel for him simultaneously proves how effective he is in portraying Choi Mu-jin’s calm yet ruthless demeanor. It’s a little difficult to imagine someone else filling in that kind of role without coming off too dull or monotonous.
Cinematography and Visuals
My Name lived true to its promise of delivering heart-pounding scenes. All fights were impeccable and well-choreographed, presenting viewers with an impressive variety of camera shots every time Jiwoo is on combat mode.
One great display of camerawork was seen in episode one. The creative showcasing of how Jiwoo and her father were near yet so far from one another is simply exquisite. The use of warm colors fits the show’s bloody theme, too. All things considered, My Name wasn’t confusing nor congested with unnecessary flashiness.
It felt like My Name didn't live up to its hype despite the remarkable performances of the cast. After watching up to the last episode, it didn't really leave an impact. The show is still worth watching, but it also makes you wonder what could've been if the story was further explored.