The Pecking Order
Lose It and You Lose
One You Wish to Avoid
The Uninvited Guests
The Weight of Survival
The Possibility of the Impossible
A Merciless Punishment
Physical: 100 is a unique South Korean reality show featuring Olympians, military professionals, weightlifters, and other top athletes from all over the nation. Contestants push their bodies to their limits through compelling games of elimination for a grand prize of ₩300 million won.
The range of the contestants is really neat to see. The show features everyone from fitness models and celebrities to emergency rescue personnel. It is evident that the producers really did their best to get the very best athletes in all of South Korea to compete.
Physical: 100 is carefully made, with remarkable thought and intent throughout. The competition arenas are all detailed and oftentimes elaborate. Filming games that consist of such a large number of people is a monstrous task, but the producers do a great job with it, delivering a series that feels authentic and never too busy.
The theme of the show is a “quest to find the perfect physique,” and the theme rings through each episode. Unfortunately, this makes the show seem a little shallow at times. Mental strength is imperative in some of the challenges, but unfortunately, no one even brings that up until the 5th or 6th episode. Adding to the physique obsession is the fact that each time a contestant is dropped from the games, they have to break a cast of their own torso, as if to say their body is not good enough.
One element in particular that was unexpected and made it even more entertaining is a surprise consolation match that gives viewers an eerie feeling. The contestants are brought into a dark room where their torso casts (that weigh as much as the contestants do) are suspended in the air. They then have to attempt to hold up their torsos with a rope and be the last ones standing.
Many of the games played are absolutely brutal. 20 people hauling a 1.5-ton ship? Carrying bags of sand up and down stairs as fast as you can, over and over again? Most people would be quick to say “No thanks!” but watching the contestants put themselves through what many would think of as physical torture is truly admirable. And although there’s a mix of females and males, the males often dominate.
Overall, Physical: 100 is a one-of-a-kind physical ability show that is highly entertaining. Though to be fair, it would have a lot more depth if it took the focus off of skin and physique and instead stressed the intense mental tenacity so many of the contestants displayed. Anyway, let’s hope there is another season in sight!
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Verdict - 8/10