So apparently Yoo Seung-ho has gotten really, really buff since we last saw him in "Ruler: Master of the Mask". Oddly enough that's actually fairly appropriate, since in "I'm Not a Robot" he plays reclusive corporate heir Min-gyoo, who has nothing better to do in his spare time except work out and obsess over mostly fictional robots, thanks to a medical condition that makes it dangerous for him to touch people. Little does Min-gyoo realize that eccentric scientist Baek-gyoon (played by Uhm Ki-joon) and his team have built AZ3 (played by Chae Soo-bin), a fully functional android.
I spent a lot of time wondering whether AZ3 was actually a fully functional android or whether Baek-gyoon was just an exceptionally talented con artist. Hilariously, the answer is neither. Baek-gyoon and his team have indeed invented some truly amazing technology, but the android just reacts to the technology. She is not, in and of herself, very impressive aside from her physical appearance.
Then in a further weird twist, we find out that Baek-gyoon is completely incapable of properly managing research funding. Partly this is because he doesn't know how to make pitches, although there's also a suitably humorous sequence that explains how Baek-gyoon's real nemeses are not rival scientists, like we would expect, but patent trolls. "I'm Not a Robot" inhabits a very uniquely weird world, with improbably severe diseases, impossibly advanced science, and comically mundane obstacles.
Take Ji-ah (also played by Chae Soo-bin). While Min-gyoo lives in disgusting opulence, Ji-ah struggles with having to complete weird odd jobs to eke out a minor living. Incidentally, it's lucky that Min-gyoo is so preposterously handsome and pathetically lonely, because the guy's a huge jerk who genuinely seems to lack any sense of empathy except when it comes to robots. Granted, his inability to so much as touch another human being might have something to do with that.
There's also the matter of how Min-gyoo has to be really dumb in order for the plot going forward to make any sense given that cliffhanger. Of course, said cliffhanger was so deliberately set-up I can't imagine the production team would be dumb enough to put it together that way unless they had further improbable solutions to every possible obstacle. Or maybe the story will just get even weirder somehow. I wouldn't mind that. "I'm Not a Robot" is at its strongest when the events on screen are at their most ludicrous.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "I'm Not a Robot" Episodes 1-2"
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