What immediately makes the trailer for Song of the Bandits stand out is the highly stylized action that it promises. Whoever edited the trailer deserves a pat on the back for understanding just how little he needed to reveal about the story and how much the visuals are going to be exciting enough. The trailer gives away very little in terms of the story, and we had to scour the internet for any hints of the narrative before we let our analysis run wild on it. We are confident that we have a fair idea of what may happen, but it remains that we would love to be surprised. However, until we all can actually watch the drama, here is a glimpse of the Bandits’ world to satiate our curiosity.
Story And Plot
To sum it up, we can tell that it is a group of bandits and outlaws coming together to fight a war of independence against the Japanese in Gando. While we agree that the series may have some historical inaccuracies, to go by what we know, Gando is an area in northeastern China where Koreans make up the bulk of the population. Korea had been under Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945, and regarding Gando, Japanese forces wanted the right to govern the Korean citizens living there, but China refused since the immigrants were in their country. This explains why the first words of the trailer are “Chinese land, Japanese money, and Korean people.” It all just means that this was a time of great unrest and some very delicate politics. In such a case, it is usually the underprivileged who pay the price, so we are expecting that all the bandits mentioned in Song of the Bandits come from painful pasts. Some of that pain could also include a lost’ first love’.
A Korean drama must have some romance, even if it is a minute subplot. While we did not get any hint of it from the trailer, in the video, when the cast was talking behind the scenes, we saw a ball where a woman in a flowing gown asked a man for a dance and looking at the slow-motion nature of the shot, it must have been a reunion of sorts or something similar with heavy romantic connotations. We would love to have a good ball gown moment in Song of the Bandits. We are already in love with the capes and long coats, but it is the gowns that are going to be the only spot of color in this series filled with blacks and greys, so they better be utterly beautiful.
Coming to the story, the protagonist is Kim Nam Gil, a veteran of the action genre, and in this series; he is an ex-Japanese soldier who is now fighting for Korean independence. His past is going to be really dark, for sure. Seo Hyun, who plays Nam Hee Sin, hires the bandits to steal the Gando Lines Construction Funds. We don’t know what they are for, but that money must be critical for some reason. Someone in Lee Yeon’s group wants to keep the money, and we suppose that through some events, they will come to know why the cash is so important for the country. That will cause them to grow their fight from one of survival to one of patriotism. One of the characters’ says that he became an unintentional patriot. That means that they started with some other objective but are now ready to risk it all for the country, just as we are predicting.
Coming to why that money would be important, a person who we presume is one of the villains is saying, “Joseon is over.” Perhaps that is what the money was for and why it needed to be stolen to prevent that. The trailer does say that the bandits are stealing to protect
Essentially, it is a plot that conveys honor among thieves. While someone says that the bandits are scarier than the Japanese army, somebody else says (from the bandits) that they should try and live like humans one time, which we take to mean a life of righteousness and dignity. Yet, someone else in Song of the Bandits, probably Lee Ho Jung, who plays Eon Nyeoni, the assassin out to kill Lee Yeon, says that they should just do what they are good at, meaning deception and stealth. Can we take this to mean that there will be a few double crosses in the show? It would explain why Lee Yeon says that everyone must be dealt with without exceptions, meaning that there may be someone on the other side for whom these people have a soft corner. Either way, there are going to be some face-offs that would have a do-or-die significance for the entire Korean independence movement, as presented in Song of the Bandits.
Cast and Characters
The star of the show definitely seems to be Kim Nam Gil, and he has brought his expertise with the action genre in its full glory to Song of the Bandits. Each of the actors has been extensively trained for their roles, and it shows in the style and finesse of the sequences. There is Lee Jae Kyung, who learned to handle the axe; Cha Yup, who practiced for three months on how to work with guns; and even Lee Ho Jung, who was guided by Kim Nam Gil on her sequences. We remember that one of the actors even said that they had been trained to be ‘bandits’ to fit the name of the series, and we absolutely love a good naming moment, so there is that to look forward to. Overall, everyone is bringing their best, and we are anticipating a good time.
Where to watch
Netflix seems to be making some good choices lately, so that is where you will find Song of the Bandits, releasing on September 22, 2023.
We have predicted very little of the plot of the show, but it is the acting that we are looking forward to. That is what the cast most spoke about in the BTS, where they constantly mentioned their efforts to maintain the chemistry and balance between each other. But on a different note, we expect the style to stay consistent with the dialogues as well. If they are trying too hard, it would really undercut the effect of the stylish visuals. That sums up our expectations and apprehensions about the series, and we have to see how many of them are proven right or wrong.