Song of the Bandits 2023 / If you can take the melodrama, Song of the Bandits comes as a satisfying revenge thriller packed with action and gore


Song of the Bandits takes time to gain momentum, but when it does, it crackles like gunpowder. The first few episodes take great pains to explain occupied Korea’s complicated political situation (China, Japan, and a few Western bodies fight over its resources), and unsurprisingly, Song of the Bandits champions the motherland’s cry for independence. It’s a very patriotic show that doesn’t leave a lot of room for other sides, often even bordering on melodrama in its calls for justice, but that should be expected in any war-set story. Once it gets into gear, however, it delivers all the thrills you’d expect from a neo-Western. There’s a lot of gunslinging, backstabbing, espionage, and sure enough, bandits chasing a loaded train on horseback. Depending on where you stand, it also comes as a satisfying revenge thriller, one that distorts history to give this fictional Korean rebel army their due. It’s a bit like Inglorious Basterds in that it follows a paramilitary group comprised of offbeat but vicious characters, but I’d say it’s mostly similar to another Netflix history K-drama, Mr. Sunshine. If you like either (or better, both), then you’ll love Song of the Bandits. 

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