By Bryan Tan
This review covers episodes 1 and 2 of Uncanny Counter, which is currently available on Netflix.
Uncanny Counter was released to hype and high ratings, but after watching two episodes, I’m not quite sure what the fuss is all about. The series follows So Mun, a boy who gains superpowers after being orphaned when his parents are killed in an accident. So Mun is also lame in one leg as a result of the accident.
He now lives with his grandparents, and attends high school just like any normal boy. But unbeknownst to him, a group of “counters’’ live in his neighbourhood. They are extraordinary human beings with abilities who fight evil spirits and exist to destroy them. Think along the lines of Sense8, Heroes or Umbrella Academy. The ‘’counters” use a noodle restaurant as a hideout, and use their powers to cook as well
As cool as the concept might sound, the execution is amateurish and the action sequences are very awkward.
The supernatural group comprises Ga Mo Tak (Yu Jun Sang) who has tremendous strength, more than the rest of his team; Chu Mae Ok (Yum Hye Ran) who can heal injuries and mend bones, and Do Han Na (Kim Se Jeong) who can sense spirits from afar and read the minds of others.
So Mun’s life changes completely after Cheol Jung (Sung Ji Ru), a member of the “counter’’ group dies at the hands of a level three evil spirit – one that has grown in considerable power after consuming a number of human souls. Wigen, (Moon Sook) a powerful spiritual entity who gave the counters their powers, leaves the body of Cheol Jung and enters So Mun, giving him the powers of a counter.
It is unusual that So Mun is chosen by the spirit Wigen; usually people who are possessed by her are usually those deep in a coma. So Mun initially refuses the offers of the counters to join their ranks and train as one of them, but after saving the life of a boy about to be consumed by a spirit, he changes his mind.
With his crippled leg now fully healed by Mae Ok, he is able to fend for himself and his friends against tormenting bullies and train to use his counter powers. As he dons the red hoodies of the counters, he hopes that through his training, he will eventually be able to meet and commune with the spirits of his long dead parents.
Unfortunately, Uncanny Counter doesn’t spark enough interest to be worth a watch. The action scenes are amateurish – in a scene where the counters jump across rooftops, chasing after a level three spirit, it is obvious that the actors haven’t really trained much in combat; their awkward forms speak for themselves.
The motivations of the main characters aren’t particularly strong or riveting enough, and while there is a hint of romance between So Mun and Han Na, their chemistry feels rather lacking. Ditto the main plot.
Romantic K-dramas have really made their mark this year; it is unfortunate that all the other genres have flopped rather miserably.
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