Various contestants take part in a game show with a prize of 10 billion won. The contestants who can cheat the others wins the prize. Contestants include genius swindler Cha Woo Jin and naive college student Nam Da Jung.
I haven't watched the Japanese version or read the manga, so I'm not going to make any comparisons and focus on the drama itself.
This is literally one of the best dramas I watched this year, starting from the first episode, I was already hooked. It only took me a day to finish and wow....so many things happened, it was amazing.
Story: The story is interesting and really pulls you in. It's read moreabout regular, everyday people who are given an opportunity to earn millions of dollars in this show called. "Liar Game". The game itself is unrealistic obviously, they even mention how it ruins ethical guidelines and morals of a person. However, to some extent this shows perfectly illustrates greed, mistrust, manipulation of the media, and how far people will go just to earn money. The story itself will blow your mind with the game's guidelines and how Ha Woo Jin (Le Sang Yoon) and the others perform throughout them with psychology...but is left with some unanswered questions in the ending.
Acting: Acting is amazing. Everyone was amazing, I can't express enough how Shin Song Ruk was born to play the antagonist/bad guy.
The only downfall I had was Kim So Eun's character (Nam Da Jung). Her character is supposed to be a naive, innocent, and kind girl, she does a good job displaying them, but it was irritating to watch her half of the time. There is a difference between being naive and being stupid. Throughout the drama it gradually disappears, but her character had a weak and a "damsel in distress" image left upon her. However, I can understand that her personality plays an important purpose throughout the story so it didn't annoy me a lot.
Music: I didn't pay attention to the OST, but the soundtracks made the scenes intense and keep you absorbed in the story.
This is a must watch, especially to those who are into psychological and suspense!
I haven't seen the Japanese version of 'Liar Game', so I can't compare, but even if I had seen it I probably wouldn't compare. After watching a few episodes of 'Nodame Cantabile', it has become clear that the Japanese and Koreans take quite different approaches to their dramas. Therefore, I am going to treat the Korean version of 'Liar Game' as its own standalone show...
...which was bloody fantastic. 'Liar Game' is read morethe third drama I've given a ten to, in the short amount of time I've been watching dramas, and out of those three dramas it is both the one I believe to be the best and the one that I enjoyed the most. Ten doesn't mean that I found it to be perfect (as perfection is unattainable), but since it has superseded many of the dramas that I've watched - both quality and entertainment wise - I thought it justifiably deserved the highest possible score.
'Liar Game' thrilled me, played with me, kept me guessing and sent my blood pressure rising in the best possible ways. The pacing was on beat and the tightly plotted 12 episodes managed to sail by without the assistance of makjang, noble idiocy, sacrificial lambs or filler. When I say that there was none of that present in 'Liar Game' I mean that there was absolutely zilch, nada, zero traces of any of the aforementioned tropes. The show was able to stand on its own two legs without relying on ridiculousness.
It presented a study of human behaviour - how we react and change (for better or worse) when it comes to trust. I don't see it as being a drama that is about how far people will go when it comes to money. Of course, in the context of the game, money is important, but 'Liar Game' teaches us that humans - people - are more important. It is people that make the choice to lie, cheat, betray and thus put others at risk - not money. Money is just the pretext, 'Liar Game' (both the drama and the game itself) is about all about people and how strong their characters are. It is also people who choose to watch others being pitted against each other, for money, to get an ounce of their weekly entertainment.
The games itself in 'Liar Game' were actually very intelligent and intricate. It might have been a bit boring to watch the explanations and rules of each round, but without them it would be difficult for some people to understand whatever the hell was going on. (The rules were useful when it came to the Poker round because wtf was going on there). Some people have said that they found the games 'boring', but that's besides the point, the interest doesn't lie within the games themselves, but within how the contestants survive the games. Each round served as a perfect backdrop for the deceit and breakdowns that were to follow.
The people in 'Liar Game' were of a brilliant variety. Not much time was spent on backstory (which was both refreshing and appreciated given the 12 episode length of the drama), but I managed to ascertain the personalities, motives and regrets of not just the three leads, but the principle supporting cast as well (Jamie, Ja Dol etc). And that is because LG had both a brilliant writer and a brilliant cast. These people grew into either more beautiful or more hateful as the machinations of the Liar Game got to them. I must add that this drama did really well by breaking the K-Drama trope of a woman being evil if she wears heavy make-up - more specifically, the darker the lipstick the darker her soul. It was excellent to see Jamie retain her grit, intelligence and vampyness whilst also being transformed into a person who has opened herself to being able to trust the right people.
A lot of people have said that Kim So-eun's character - NAM DA JUNG - was annoying because she was too stupid and remained stupid. I beg to differ on that topic; whilst Da Jung is most definitely too trusting and naive - AT THE BEGINNING - she most definitely does mature. Yes, she still trust, and yes she is still a very kind person, but she matures into someone who can both question her allies whilst maintaining her ability to trust them. As each round progresses she becomes more considerate and mature. She might not ever have become a toxic person, but she definitely isn't the same Nam Da Jung that was presented at the beginning of the show. And I think Kim So-eun does a wonderful job at portraying Nam Da Jung's growth, emotional sensitivity, understanding, empathy and her huge ability to love and show human compassion (which is especially evident in the final few episodes). Her performance was consistent, clean and considerate. I'm surprised that she is yet to land a main role on public broadcast.
I found it very interesting to contrast and compare the characters of HA WOO JIN (distractingly attractive Psychology Professor turned ex-con) and KANG DO YOUNG. They were like two ends of a horseshoe: polar opposites, yet very similar. Both men are geniuses, both men are incredible when it comes to lying, both men are fantastic strategists, both men are difficult to trust, but both men have very different goals and very different moral leanings and obligations. Their similarities made them clash, whilst their obvious differences intensified their - sometimes frightening - rivalry. I don't think the tension and fear, that crackled in the air whenever these two men looked at each other, would have been present if Lee Sang Yoon and Shin Sung Rok hadn't played their respective roles. Both men brought an undeniable energy to the screen and they were also able to bounce that energy off of each other. The performances were so natural it never felt like a hero was delivering dialogue to a villain, but it felt as if two enigmatic men were engaged in some fierce contest of the Mind. It was sparkling and wonderful to watch.
I think it would be easy to type-cast Shin Sung Rok as a The Villain after his roles in both 'Liar Game' and Stars, respectively, but he manages to make his villains different. I found a way to empathise with the emotionally scarred, twisted, pathological liar that was Kang Do Young whilst I couldn't have cared less for the utterly selfish bastard he was playing in Stars.
Lee Sang Yoon was very hot as Ha Woo Jin. There was something incredibly magnetic about his performance as the enigmatic rugged Psychologist. His gaze, his manner of speech, the way he held himself all resonated 'genius'. His frosty demeanour didn't come off as arrogant and cocky, but reserved and observant.
The lack of romance didn't bother me at all; it was refreshing to see the female lead being able to develop multiple healthy relationships with the other male characters. It is clear that Da Jung and Woo Jin cared for each other quite deeply and the way they develop that relationship isn't through childish bickering, but through learning who the other person is enough to understand and trust them. I'm not going to deny that there wasn't a huge amount of chemistry between Kim So-eun and Lee Sang Yoon, but not once did I get the urge to scream JUST SHUT UP AND KISS HER at my TV.
'Liar Game' could have been betrayed by its ending, but thankfully it wasn't and it finished on a high. Not everyone got what they deserved, but if they had that would have betrayed the whole message of 'Liar Game' - the real world is not ideal, it isn't a place where people can survive by being too trusting or too suspicious. Sometimes, good people don't always end up with every material thing they SHOULD have and sometimes the villain gets away with it. If 'Liar Game' hadn't been a drama that set out to challenge people's world-view, then the ending would have been terrible, but it wasn't. I was glad to see that the non-villains came out of the experience as people who had grown and changed to have a better understanding of both other people and themselves (this was most notable in the case of Jamie).
In regards to the slight openess of the ending, I totally wasn't bothered by it, and it is quite clear that the writer most definitely intended for the ending to be open in order to run onto a season 2. However, whether or not we get a season 2 is totally up to tvN. What's most important is that the main conflict was resolved, so even if we don't get a season 2 there won't be any loose ends left over. I'm all in favour for a season 2, with the same cast though, because I am so ready to see these characters AND actors on screen again.
Both of the stories are really unpredictable. W and Liar Game (Korean Remake) Keep you hanging, although W has 16 episodes and Liar game has 12 episodes.. which is really sad because I wished it was longer...
Nam Da Jung is very pretty. Cha Woo Jin did a great Job also Kang Do Yeong he's perfect villian. I'm currently watching his drama "On the Way to the airport" and he's really Jerk there I really hate him hehehe.. OOps i almost forgot Jamie Character is Amazing here :)
Best line of Woo Jin :
“I’m just a dog right now.Nam Da-jung’s faithful and vicious dog. I’ll show you what happens when you mess with my master.”
He delivered it with such compassion... I've never seen the japanese version but I read the manga of this one a very long time a go...... But nevertheless the actors did a good job in portraying their characters.. Jamie and KDY really shines here.. But LSY just soo good in portraying a serious straighforward guy with a kind heart... He's like that in twenty again..
I have a feeling that if you've never seen the Japanese one, you'd think this is great. But for anybody who HAS seen the Japanese version, and loved it for all it's craziness, this one is really rather lack-luster. The biggest shame is that this one is rated higher than that one, which leads me to believe that there's a general disparity between the standards of each respective dramas' audiences...
I agree with you about the second half of your comment - about the disparity between standards. But I personally think this drama was just about as good as the Japanese version, both dramas are well written. I think the only character that was written poorly was Nam Da Jung - and she was a key part of the show so that's why I took some points off my rating.
In response to the second part of your comment, I find that most people start off watching Kdramas and have a bias towards them. They prefer Kdramas and Korean actors/actresses over the Japanese ones. The problem is, most of these viewers haven't watched dramas over a period of time (say 2005 - present) so they don't understand the Jdrama humor or how far Taiwanese dramas have come. I've seen many comments on Jdramas about how much people "hate" or "dislike" the "over dramatic acting" or "over reacting" to various events that take place in a given Jdrama. But that's what I LOVE about Jdramas. And in terms of Tdramas, audiences find that Tdramas are very "long" and "uselessly over dramatic." Try the older dramas then... the older Tdramas were much longer. I really enjoy some of the newer Tdramas and see how far they've come along.
The ratings on all shows are thrown off by such viewers and it's sad to see how some oldies are given poor ratings.
I watched the season 1 of the Japanese version before I watched this, and found the Japanese one cheesy and low-budget (I couldn't keep going). The acting is much better here, and I like the korean take on it.
To me, the Japanese one is like an uncut gem. It's very flash and unpolished, but it's interesting to look at. This one is like a gemstone cut by the most unimaginative gemcutter out there. It's still okay, I guess, but it lacks charm and character, and it definitely could have been done better.
If one is used to anime, manga, and a certain portion of Japanese dramas, the zaniness and cheesiness isn't all that hard to look past, I think...
I mouthed the word 'WOW' a lot in this drama. I was always surprised. there was never a single dull moment and you would always look forward to the next round.
And I just love it when Nam Da Jung does/says something and Ha Woo Jin has this look on his face that somehow says he's proud of her.. Just melts my hearts.
Finished this last week, gave it an 8.5/10. A super-fun thriller that had me on the edge of my seat. Although its Japanese origins made some of the clichés/twists insanely stale, it was still all done so well. And that cast! So impressed by all of them, but especially Shin Sung Rok and Lee El.
Please check out my full review for a more detailed analysis.