“Physical: 100” challenges audience


Official poster for “Physical: 100”

The new Korean Netflix reality show “Physical: 100” is a large-scale competition in which 100 contestants compete in various challenges that test their physical strength, endurance, and teamwork, with the winner taking a prize of 300 million won. It is currently receiving praise from viewers for its intense, captivating action.

When the show was first announced, the contestants themselves garnered the most interest. Many were shocked at the participation of Choo Sung-hoon, a 2001 Asian Judo Championships gold medalist and celebrity. Other notable contestants are Yoon Sung-bin, a skeleton gold medalist at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, and Hwang Ji-hoon, better known as Agent H, former UDT (Underwater Demolition Team) soldier. He served in the special operations force of the Korean navy. 

Not only did the lineup of contestants catch people’s eyes, but also the creative missions they were given. In the first episode, contestants were given their first challenge of endurance, with the last contestant standing getting an advantage for the next round. They had to hang onto an overhead climbing frame using their arms for as long as they could. Out of all the contestants, Kim Min-chul showed exceptional determination and placed first, hanging on for over 18 minutes.

The next mission was a one-on-one competition in either of two arenas: a mud pool or an obstacle course. A ball was placed in the middle of the arena, and whoever had possession of it by the end of three minutes was the winner. One key moment was the competition between Jeon Young and Yang Hak-seon, who both took full advantage of the obstacle course arena, agilely running to avoid the obstacles. The two contestants’ fight for the ball was the highlight of the second episode. 

Yoon Sung-bin and Lee Dae-won’s match truly demonstrated the power and speed of the Olympic athlete. Stealing the ball from Lee in the blink of an eye, Yoon guarded it with astonishing strength, and he held possession of it until the match was over. 

In the third episode, contestants voted on ten people they believed were most qualified to become leaders. Ten groups were formed, and the next mission was introduced. Of the ten people, Jang Eun-sil was the only female contestant chosen as leader. 

Each group would compete against another group in a collaborative mission of carrying the most sand across an unsteady bridge and into a deep pit. Whichever group had the most sand transferred into the pit at the end of 15 minutes would be the victors. This game introduced the importance of teamwork and strategy, testing contestants beyond simply their physical abilities.

Jang Eun-sil’s team was chosen by all other groups as the weakest, but to everyone’s surprise, her team emerged as the victors, demonstrating that regardless of gender, whoever can work the most collaboratively and to their full potential will be able to succeed in the missions. This was an especially moving moment, as Jang Eun-sil’s leadership and perseverance illustrated that women are equally capable of leading others to success as men are. 

Korean netizens have been praising the show since the first two episodes were aired, especially commenting on the rigorous action of the contestants which they were unable to take their eyes off of. The clean-cut editing too, did not contain any unnecessary or exaggerated repetitions. Unlike many other Korean reality shows, which tend to make their content provocative by creating tension and conflict between participants, “Physical: 100” focuses more on the progression of the episodes.