Taking the massive cash prize, gruelling challenges, and brutal rivalries from one of Netflix’s biggest shows in living memory, Physical: 100 has all the essential ingredients for binge-worthy TV. All that’s missing is the imminent threat of death but, from how seriously the players take it, you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise…
In a vast, dark room stand a hundred plaster busts. Each is taken from one of the most physically elite people in South Korea. From Olympic athletes to influencers, from yoga bunnies to powerlifters, a smorgasbord of physiques is on display. They will all compete in every challenge with no discrimination regarding size, gender or speciality.
One by one, the models for these busts walk into the room, nervously greeting one another, some stunned to be in the same room as their athletic idols. They each scan the room, looking for their bust, and stand alongside it. By the end of the series, only one will remain. The remainder will be smashed by its defeated and dejected owner.
This is how Netflix’s latest hit show, Physical: 100, begins. Over the course of nine blistering episodes, they will be whittled down to one winner who will be crowned the physical champion – the fittest, most athletic, most envied person the nation has to offer.
Essentially, it’s like a real-life Squid Game mixed with Ninja Warrior – and you’re missing out if you don’t watch it because it’s absolutely mental.
WATCH one of the challenges, the “Punishment of Atlas“, from Physical: 100 below.
How is the winner decided? Through a series of increasingly brutal challenges that test the limits of their minds and bodies alike. Squid Game had more murder but Physical: 100 is just as brutal.
The first challenge involved contestants hanging onto a metal frame which was lifted fifty feet into the air as a pool of ice-cold water opens up beneath them. Their task is to hold on for as long as they can. The first fifty to drop must leave the competition.
That was episode one. This was followed by mud wrestling, bridge building, loading and dragging a two-tonne ship up a wooden ramp, before culminating in five brutal challenges named after long-suffering characters from Greek mythology.
Perhaps the most punishing of them all was the Punishment of Atlas: contestants had to lift a 50kg boulder onto their shoulders and hold it there for as long as possible. How long do you think you could last? Five minutes? Ten? Twenty? Spoiler alert: Jo Jin Hyeong – a car dealer and budding actor – held it for over two hours.
The final looms and one punishment remains: the Punishment of Sisyphus, where contestants must push a boulder up and down a man-made ramp, over and over, until they can take it no more. The last contestant standing will join four others in the final showdown.
What will it entail? We don’t yet know. What we do know is that you’d be a fool to miss it. Episode 9 of Physical: 100 releases on February 21st on Netflix, so get amongst it.