Wednesday, September 01, 2021

[First Impression] Police University

I realized not so long ago that more and more of my so-called "reviews" are rather musings, throwing theories here and there, based rather on personal feelings than any notebook of cinematography/screenwriting/whatever craft. If I like it, then I like it and may be the only person liking it.
I am probably the only person liking this drama then.

It felt familiar from the start, and I'm not talking about tropes thrown our way (without them we would feel lost, but that's a topic for a whole other whining post). Those of us who knew from the kindergarten what they wanted to become in the future please raise your hand!
For kids, future is an abstract thing. I thought people graduating from high school are SO ADULT!!
And then I graduated.
When I was a kid I wanted to have bigger polar bear toy (a plastic little one), because the one I had got his muzzle steadily made shorter by me pinning it on the sidewalk curb. But hey, at least we didn't have ants. But whom I wanted to be? I didn't think of it.

Seonho is a driftwood. Not sure what to do with himself, not even considering creating his own future. He moves through the motions, a bit emotionally stunted and yet a bit too pure-hearted. As a real cop he'd be dead the first day of the real patrol. He has to do something with his life, but at the same time, he doesn't feel like there's anything he'd like to devote his life and career to. It's not like "a hacker" is a government position, unlike in NK. In this he's good at, because it doesn't involve contacts with people. He is able to hack an illegal group operating with virtual currency to steal a sum for his father's surgery, and at the same time for his brother's future college. This puts him in trouble as police tracks him and Dongman, irritated he ruined their operation, is ready to fill an arrest form. Here comes the blurred and grey area of police consciousness. Whether to arrest someone for stealing money from illegal accounts to pay for a procedure, or to let that person go. I felt that this scene would be a prelude to many such moments where sometimes one has to bend the law a bit or rather find a loophole.

Dongman feels like his life went downwards when after the failed operation he was sent to the Academy as a teacher. But truth be told, he also needs to learn a thing or two. In a smart chain of events, characters learn from one another something they are missing or never thought about.
Probably that's why Seonho falls for Kanghee, who knows exactly what she wants to do, and moreover - she can stand up for herself, something that Seonho has a problem with. Kanghee is stigmatized among the cadets because it is made known her mother is a repeated convict. And in the school, Kanghee's testimony even put her in jail. She pretends the whispers don't bother her much, but is bottling up all her rage inside and instead she even engages with the people whispering over her back.

I also do like the slight reversal of the roles in the drama, and I'm not talking about the marvelous scene of Dongman landing in the arms of the beautiful (and determined) judo teacher just like it has been done in many dramas but with female leads being rescued from the fall by a guy. Here we have a strong female lead and complementing her male lead. Jin-young plays him with minute facial expressions that can make you smile alongside him or just weep like there's no tomorrow.
Also, it slowly becomes apparent that the drama is not only about the training school for future police officers, but the plot broadens with every episode. What a find funny is Seonho's lack of physical aptitude. Jin-young only left the military and did you see those arms when he was running? Because I surely did!
Drama employs a whole variety of colorful characters like Baekhee - a bespectacled female officer, who makes everyone tremble.
I do like the motif of an aimless person finding his place in the world, about the person who has to endure all kinds of humiliation just to achieve her dream. 
I started to think after the second episode whether I achieved my dream or let it brush past me.