TV SERIES REVIEW – Among the post-apocalyptic survivors, a fatal courier shines in Netflix’s fresh series, “Black Knight”. Amidst measured chaos and semi-serious characters, the drama doesn’t always hold its ground but the intriguing twists and unforeseen turn of events pepper the narrative intriguingly. The series conjures reminders of the Death Stranding video game and a post-apocalyptic Western – this odd concoction is what makes it appealing, though it comes with a fair share of childish solutions, amusing dialogues, and scenes.
The South Korean series “Black Knight” is set in an apocalyptic world where the air is poisonous and thrives best when it makes room for action. The witty and cartoonish nature of the series forms a unique contrast with the dark, post-apocalyptic base story. Although it’s not always as captivating as it aims to be, there’s something delightfully entertaining about it. It borrows so heavily from Death Stranding that if I were Hideo Kojima, I would already be suing. The six episodes of the Korean series fall short of the ambitions of Kojima’s cinematic video game, its well-crafted universe, yet there’s some entertaining charm in its chaotic scenes. Though the story begins slowly and initially seems somewhat laughable, by the journey’s end, it’s worth the ride.
Whoever Wakes in Korea, Finds a Post-Apocalypse
The story set in 2071 unfolds in post-apocalyptic South Korea, in the aftermath of an asteroid collision where most people have perished, and the majority of the Korean peninsula is rendered uninhabitable by polluted air for the survivors. Post-apocalyptic Korea experiences a drastic climate change following a comet strike. The atmosphere has become toxic, turning the country into a desert. People have to wear oxygen masks and constantly fight for survival. Society is divided into three layers: the refugees living in the desert; the general populace residing in concrete houses; and the elite living in a dome city with clean air and vegetation. The series aptly portrays this three-tiered world filled with inequalities and injustices. Life poses a constant threat, be it from the air or the malevolent forces vying for power. In this fragile, reconstructed society, only the famed couriers, the so-called knights, maintain order by delivering essential resources to the survivors.
The Legendary “Number 58”
One such famous courier is Number 58, played with appropriate coolness and calm by Kim Woo-bin, familiar from the recent Alienoid movie. It suffices to say that he drives through the barren landscape in his massive vehicle, lighting up a smoke. This image is absurdly comical, considering the air quality, but somehow, it works. When he encounters the fierce Sa-wol, who is portrayed with youthful naivety by Kang You-seok, he realizes that an already fearsome world is about to darken further. Number 58 begins to train the young lad to become a courier, showing him the vital role he could play in the battle against the corrupt forces controlling and ruling everything. “Black Knight” mirrors the world and narrative of the video game Death Stranding. The polluted air and isolation, the close ties among survivors, and the perilous missions are elements also found in the game. The plot, world, and characters all show strong parallels with the game. The series similarly uncovers hope amidst despair and characters struggling for survival and a changed world.
Excellent Direction, Well-built Tension, High-quality Acting
In terms of direction, the series is generally balanced and dynamic. The scenes skilfully build up tension, and the action is well-choreographed. The actors deliver performances that are engaging and make the most of their roles. Kim Woo-bin gives depth to Number 58’s hardened exterior, revealing layers of complexity as the series progresses. His mentor relationship with Kang You-seok’s Sa-wol has a genuine warmth to it, forming a captivating central relationship. Kang You-seok brings out the naive yet determined spirit of Sa-wol, helping us root for the young man in his journey. The chemistry between the two is palpable, making their shared scenes a highlight of the series.
Jung Eun-chae, who plays a high-ranking military officer, also delivers an impressive performance, portraying the struggle of a woman trying to maintain order and justice amidst chaos. Her character’s dynamic with the protagonists adds another layer of tension to the series. The performances are complemented by solid technical elements, including impressive CGI and cinematography. The bleak yet visually stunning landscape is captured effectively, helping to create the desolate atmosphere of the post-apocalyptic world.
Criticism and Praise in Equal Measure
However, not all aspects of “Black Knight” are praiseworthy. Its narrative can be disjointed, often seeming to care more about the visual spectacle than the coherence of the story. Some of the dialogue is stilted, and there’s an overreliance on certain tropes, leading to predictability. The show also makes the mistake of introducing too many characters without sufficiently developing them. Despite these flaws, it maintains an adventurous and captivating spirit, with a distinct style that makes it a worthwhile watch.
The humor in “Black Knight” is an acquired taste. Some may find it amusing, while others may see it as inappropriate for the setting. Regardless, the show manages to maintain a certain charm that is irresistible.
While it lacks the narrative depth and sophistication of its inspiration, “Black Knight” has enough going for it to merit a viewing. It’s an ambitious project that may not live up to the grandeur of Death Stranding, but it brings its unique elements to the table. Its whimsical approach to serious topics, action-packed sequences, and solid performances make it an engaging, if not always a seamless viewing experience. In conclusion, “Black Knight” is a charmingly chaotic trip through a post-apocalyptic world that’s worth the detour for those looking for something different in their TV diet.
Direction - 8.4
Actors - 7.8
Story - 8.1
Visuals/Music/Sounds/Action - 8.5
Ambience - 8.3
Black Knight is a thrilling and entertaining series set in a post-apocalyptic world. The characters are intriguing, the plot is twisty, and the visuals and action are impressive. Despite a few technical shortcomings and somewhat juvenile portrayal of the youngsters, the series manages to captivate and enchant the viewer.
Leave a Reply