Saturday, March 30, 2013

Phantom (Ghost) Review (2012)

Drama Rating: ****
Personal Rating: Loved it!

Kim Woo Hyun, team lead of the Cyber Crime Investigation team at the National Police Agency, is preoccupied with the identity of Hades, a hacker who also seems to be somehow involved in the case of Shin Hyo Jeong, an actress who dies under mysterious circumstances. Can Kim Woo Hyun unravel the mystery and apprehend the true criminal mastermind?

*Spoiler warning*

Driven by continued fast-paced development of events, the anticipation and build-up for this crime drama was intense and made for a great viewing experience. The overall story arc was clearly very well planned out from the outset and the drama does occasionally have some fun with the characters but never at the expense of the plot developments. In the latter half of the story, there were a number of clear inconsistencies (from the lack of fingerprint analysis in some fairly situations to the lack of CCTV avoidance while on the run) though this is somewhat understandable and tossed to the wayside given the relentless drive to bring the main story thread to a close. It would have been nice if they had taken a little care to make sure to address some of those small details. The ending was quite appropriate and suited the style and structure of the story rather well.

So Ji Sub's levelheaded depiction of Kim Woo Hyun contrasted nicely with the brusque, hands-on style of former Violent Crime Team Lead Kwon Hyuk Joo (played by Kwak Do Won). However, it was clearly Kwon Hyuk Joo who made the drama so colorful and vibrant with his no-nonsense style and gruff personality. Uhm Ki Joon played the wily Jo Hyun Min, an appropriately sinister and calculating villain who looked every bit the part. The rest of the cast was fairly solid and helped bring this gripping story to reality.

The drama's soundtrack made for excellent accompaniment to this exciting series. Many scenes throughout the series were definitely given much more intensity and focus due to the adrenalin-packed OST. The repeated use of the iconic 'Phantom of the Opera' song in the opening episodes was also a fine choice to give the drama a menacing and haunting atmosphere.

This drama will definitely left me on edge multiple times breathlessly waiting to see how various situations panned out. Compared with 'Black & White', this story had a somewhat similar setup (conspiracy involving corrupt, high-level members of various important organizations) but resolved in a much more satisfying and suitable manner. Aside from the more obvious plot holes mentioned before, this was definitely one of the better (if not the best) crime thrillers I've ever seen in.

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