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[Herald Review] 'A Killer Paradox' faithfully reproduces legendary webtoon

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : Feb. 7, 2024 - 11:57

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A scene from A scene from "A Killer Paradox," starring Choi Woo-shik (Netflix)

Director Lee Chang-hee -- a K-thriller master who has produced a slew of hit series such as "Hell Is Other People" and the film "The Vanished" -- has successfully breathed life into the award-winning webtoon "A Killer Paradox" through strict adherence to the plot of the original webtoon series.

“A Killer Paradox” follows the story of Yi Tang (played by Choi Woo-shik), a college student who commits a series of murders by accident.

After he commits the murders, Yi comes to realize that all of his victims were serious evildoers and becomes convinced that he possesses a supernatural gift for identifying them. Detective Jang Nan-gam (portrayed by Son Suk-ku), suspecting Yi‘s involvement in the murders, sets out to pursue him.

The drama series is based on a popular webtoon of the same title, which has won a slew of awards, including the rookie of the year award at the 2011 Korea Content Awards Ceremony, as well as the top prize at the 2011 Our Manwha of Today -- an annual awards ceremony hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism that awards five top cartoon works. Korean Contents Ceremony, Our Manwha of Today and Bucheon International Comics Festival are Korea's three most prestigious cartoon awards celebrations.

The eight-part series made the safe choice of faithfully following the plot of the original webtoon series rather than shooting for reinterpretation. Fans of the webtoon series will rejoice at director Lee's adherence to the plot and the inclusion of details from the webtoon series.

Due to its loyalty to the webtoon, there is verisimilitude in each episode of the show. The series of misfortune that happens to Yi is realistic, and Yi's psychological transformation from a scared college boy into a self-approved vigilante is made relatable.

The cast has also achieved the feat of successfully portraying the psychology of an ordinary man who commits murder, a feat that the webtoon was also praised for.

The early part of the webtoon focuses largely on Yi's guilt and psychological dilemma as he wonders whether his supernatural ability is real or a figment of his imagination. A large section of the webtoon also is devoted to Yi's predicament over whether he should use his ability to condemn evil and being torn over the idea of killing people.

With the artistic portrayal of Yi's nightmares and hallucinations, the webtoon, known for its simplistic, almost crude drawing style, has been reborn as a visual feast. Choi's gradual transformation from a timid college student into a ruthless murderer is also convincing, chilling and eye-catching.

The first episode of "A Killer Paradox" will stream on Netflix, Friday.