Kim Nam-gil rides tall in this South Korean take on classic Westerns.
Call it a South Korean version of a Wild West action-adventure, and you won’t be far off the mark. Song of the Bandits, the limited-run series set to kick off Friday, Sept. 22, on Netflix, reflects the international appeal and influence of the Western genre while fancifully dramatizing a century-old Asian conflict.
Set in 1920, during the Japanese colonial period, Song of the Bandits focuses on a group of Korean emigres who resettle in the lawless Gando region of China. Veteran actor Kim Nam-gil (pictured above) plays Lee Yoon, a former soldier who leads a group of bandits to protect the settlement and its people.
“The series will present a new style of Korean period drama,” director Hwang Jun-hyuk said during a press conference Tuesday in Seoul. “Song of the Bandits adds Asia’s cultural and historical elements to the original Western genre. The series offers a heartwarming story of people who wish to protect their precious ones and their home. But it will bring thrilling action and excitement that the viewers expect from Westerns.”
And yes, to answer the inevitable question: Netflix will offer the South Korean-produced series, and its trailer, with English subtitles.
Kim Nam-gil notes that many of the action sequences in Song of the Bandits are quite different from those in other period dramas where he’s done derring-do. “The styles of gun fights and jousting actions were very new to me,” he says. “A Winchester rifle is something that is representative of Westerns. I trained with the rifle as if it were a part of my body. We tried to shoot many long takes with gun fights to bring out scenes filled with thrills and suspense. It will certainly be a feast for the eyes.”
This Netflix featurette will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the fast-and-furious action.