! I do not know the manga or the Japanese version of this series so I will write this review without comparing the plot and actors. !
Story: Nam Da-jung, an innocent young woman, is asked to help an elderly woman one day. After that woman disappeared leaving her alone with a bag full of money, Da-jung takes the bag home but her conscience tells her to take the money to the police station the next day though she could pay back her debt. By returning that bag filled with money she gets pulled into a TV show called "Liar Game" hosted by Kang Do-young. Since Da-jung is too innocent to win that game and the 10 Million dollar the final winner will receive, loan shark Jo Dal-goo tells her about a smart guy he met in prison - Professor Ha Woo-jin. Since she desperately needs help, Da-jung starts looking for Woo-jin the day he gets out of prison, and though he doesn't want to help her at first, the two of them become a team. Innocent Da-jung learns about people betraying her and that, in order to win, those who betrayed her need to be punished so she finds a circle of players joining her team. But is it right for her to trust all of those people when in the last round 10 Million dollar can be won? And why of all people was she chosen for the show? Was it a plan to get Ha Woo-jin to participate in the game as well?
Cast: The first character to name is Nam Da-jung played by Kim So-eun. While I really liked Kim So-eun since Boys Over Flowers I still liked her - but not that much in this drama, her acting was alright but her character horrible. While I heard people say she's not innocent enough (compared to the Japanese version, that is - found the statement on Mydramalist.com) I wonder how she could be more innocent and even more DUMB. It's not even naive anymore but sometimes I started wondering whether she was just left out when brains were given out for free. Seriously, the one thing that was horrible in this series was how stupid and naive Nam Da-jung was.
Luckily, the main antagonist Kang Do-young played by Shin Sung-rok was awesome. Talking about the actor, can we please talk about his role in You Who Came From The Stars? He was a great villain in a rather basic rom-com series but this time he was even better, maybe because of the setting. I got scared of him in front of my laptop. Kudo's to Shin Sung-rok for creeping me out though I'm still 8000km away. As a character, I enjoyed watching Kang Do-young and Ha Woo-jin caught up in their battle with Woo-jin protecting Da-jung.
Lee Sang-yoon as Ha Woo-jin is someone I've seen for the first time ever in a drama so I might not be able to tell you much about his other series and that is not necessary either. He had this kind of.. aura around him in this series that made me forget that it's actually a K-drama and as I stated above, I loved watching him and Shin Sung-rok in a dangerous battle. While I feel his acting itself was pretty good the combination of two main characters with incredibly charismatic actors made it perfect.
Of course there is a great number of actors involved mainly because of the number of participants as well as the people involved in the production of the show "Liar Game". For example we have Cha Soo-yeon as Lee Yoon-joo who is responsible for the program. At first everything's about the rating for her but she changes and suddenly finds her self under pressure to safe the TV station JVN. Choi Jin-ho as Director Jang is responsible for the pressure and he tends to manipulate what's going on to keep the show interesting.
Among the participants are Lee Si-hoo as Choi Sung-joon, Jang Seung-jo as Kim Bong-geun, Jo Jae-yun as Jo Dal-goo, Lee Cheol-min as Bulldog, Park Jae-hoon as actor Goo In-gi and Lee El as Oh Jung-ah or Jaimie, a character I never thought I would come to like as the series progresses.
Soundtrack: The soundtrack for this series wasn't too special. As far as I remember there was only Dear Cloud's "Liar" that really caught my attention and that is not much but at least that song even made it up to my list of my personal favorite OST songs of all time. But since this drama is filled with suspense I would've wished for something slightly more mysterious. I don't know if you get what I mean but bands like Nell or Hlin would've completed that soundtrack perfectly..
Overall I did enjoy this series a lot but it still only gets a 9/10 for mainly two reasons. I was really bothered by Nam Da-jung's stupid and naive behavior and I just cannot look past that fact. The other reason is indeed the soundtrack. I explained it before in the post regarding my favorite soundtracks I think and the OST can in fact save a series - or kind of destroy it. Now the music did not destroy this but it's a minus for me.
There's only a hint of romance in this series - if you want to see it like that so I think you can very well ignore it if you don't like it.
Some people said that certain aspects of the games were hard to understand without knowing the Japanese version - but I do not agree with this. Yes, I sometimes needed to rewatch a scene because I didn't really get the explanation but as soon as examples were shown it made sense.
As far as I've heard many fans of the Japanese version didn't like the Korean version and that's okay but standing for itself the series is definitely worth watching. It's interesting, suspenseful and will keep you excited if you like this kind of series.
I'll just leave you wiht some gifs you will understand after watching the series - the last one was one of my favorite scenes in the whole 12 episodes.