July 21st, 2017

cass, can you not

Violence by the numbers[*]

[*] How come that's not already the title of a book about contemporary warfare, the negative social impact of large-scale financial fraud, or something like that? So many options, really.

In a stunningly predictable display of absurd time management prioritization, last night I watched 8+ hours of Bad Guys. The whole one-season series was consistent in its formulaic but competent approach to characterization and plot.

I mean, this picture shows a professional killer with regrets, a gruff gangster with a sense of loyalty, and a psychopath genius learning to feel emotions, and you need absolutely zero hints from me to identify each one:

Some of the clearer beats:

  • The young psychopath genius (the Slick Uber-Professional Assassin With A Case of Regrets's nickname for him being Psycho) is the distilled essence of every young psychopath genius, from the haircut under his perpetual hoodie to the unexplained combat skills</i> (I'd link to the relevant TV Tropes pages, but then this whole post would be blue and underlined).

  • The Lost-style backstory episode that shows how most things were related to most things back in the day, and explains everything except what'll be de- and re-explained at the last minute.

  • Everything got almost exponentially more betrayalful over time, in (what I think is?) a very Korean cop movie/series style.

  • I swear they copied a key scene of the last episode from the A-Team movie. Probably convergent evolution from a common (probably even Korean for all I know) root, but still.

  • The you-were-like-a-brother-to-me other Slick Uber-Professional Assassin. How everybody knows everybody else in the business, down to killing styles, including the go-playing, because of course somebody had to be a go player, former murder matchmaker.

  • Guns are very rare and controlled, even for cops. It's a country of baseball bat and knife-wielding gangs, which I guess would make the viewing experience surreal for an American.

  • Not as much as the fact that knives are blurred, I bet.

  • I'm not sure the writers know or care about what a psychopath is. Also, young psychopath genius spent most of the last half of the season bleeding from some stabbing or another, something I ended up finding hilarious (and even made sense plot-wise).

  • The heart-twisting scenes were as predictable as everything else, but well done.

It'd be pointless to comment on the relevant gender issues, by the way. It's not just that the series is (emotionally) the mutual bonding story of four extremely violent men who have done each other and the rest of their society an awful lot of harm, but that every one of the few female characters is a selfish unrealistic careerist, a doe-eyed angel of a daughter, a grieving widow, a seemingly-perfect girlfriend, an almost literal harpy, or a dead wife. There isn't even a redeemable seductress stock character to widen up a bit the likely range of fanfic.