Six Flying Dragons

Six Flying Dragons (2015)

8.9
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Ratings: 8.9/10 from 1,413 users
Reviews: 10 users

A fiction historical drama about the ambitions and success of six characters based around Lee Bang Won.
Lee Bang Won was the third king of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea and the father of King Sejong the Great. He helped his father King Taejo establish the Joseon Dynasty.

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yankumicho
53 of 57 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Mar 23, 2016
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
Is there any difference? Is there any difference?
I’m asking the world, on deciding life and death
Is there any difference between politics and swords?

These words, from the song “Muiiya,” a Six Flying Dragons OST, emphasize the human cost of both politics and the sword. Six Flying Dragons, as a drama, does the same when it implores the viewer to contemplate the possible outcomes of choice and the effects of those read more choices on relationships and society as a whole. If anything, Six Flying Dragons attempts to answer this question without limiting the answer toward one argument. As a result, this drama and its writers Park Sang Yeon and Kim Yeong Hyeon effectively communicate the answer to this vital question through the display of its narrative and characterization.

Six Flying Dragons’ narrative ponders the above questions by its creation of characters and actions that test the functions of relationships and its lack of limitation of the characters to a particular faction of good and evil. Characterizations are layered and multi-faceted; for example, Lee Bang Won’s early desire for justice masks a desire for recognition and power. One is surely good, and the other is dangerous, but they both exist within the character. Similarly, in Jeong Do Jeon, one can argue that desire for the people masks desire for recognition and power. Where history tries (and goes back and forth) on the bad/good spectrum of these two characters, Six Flying Dragons delivers realism--the reality, of course, that all humans possess a bug which may swallow them whole. It renders choices, not fate nor relative determinism, as the progenitor of results, effects, and conclusions while maintaining neutrality in its tone.

The narrative achieves this as a whole by offering twists and turns on a grand scale. Tiny, even miniscule character introductions turn into important aspects of character and scene later on; conversations between characters that are seemingly benign hold importance at the right moment. Between betrayals and loyalty, is there any difference? may be the question asked here; the question may also be Between two forms of government, is there any difference? Six Flying Dragons, then, explores these subtexts throughout its frames, urging the viewer to contemplate them as well.

Another way that the narrative urges viewers to explore these notions is through its cinematography. The cinematography of Six Flying Dragons colors and frames the narrative in much the same way that the characterization does. Through use of light, dark, colors (in particular, the deep scarlet of blood), the viewer sees the overt versus the subvert. Overt actions are more splashed in light; subvert or covert actions cloaked in darkness. In doing so, Six Flying Dragons plays on the eyes of the viewer at times, asking us whether the subvert cannot be seen in the overt and vice versa. Between light and dark, is there any difference?

The crispness of character aspect and portrayal not only resides in the narrative, but also in the acting of Six Flying Dragons. With a stellar cast at the outset, one could argue that potential for this drama’s outcome was high, but it would be remiss to leave it at that. The cast of Six Flying Dragons supersedes any previous notion of greatness accorded to it; they crash down the barrier of greatness and replace it with excellence of the highest caliber.

While extending regard to the entire cast of Six Flying Dragons, the focus of the show, and the most compelling character-wise, is its main cast. Yoo Ah In as Lee Bang Won and Kim Myung Min as Jeong Do Jeon bring depth and mindfulness to each of their characters. They allow the viewer to see all aspects of their personality. Yoo Ah In, in particular, plays Lee Bang Won with such nuance that the viewer sees the inner motivations of Bang Won’s heart clearly and sees the influence choices make even in expression and emotion. Kim Myung Min does the same; the viewer sees a man whose concern for the people gets lost a bit in the desire for political recognition. The phrase, “You are the same as me,” is a common and apt theme when it comes to the characters, and in their brilliant acting, one can see how this phrase manifests itself throughout the narrative.

Along with the two protagonists (as I refuse to name either an antagonist), Six Flying Dragons peppers the narrative with great acting. From young men to hardened warriors, Byun Yo Han (Ddang Sae) and Yoon Kyun Sang (Mu Hyul) provide insights from those who are not political but honor bound and how choices made by others affect them. Shin Se Kyung (Boon Yi) ignites a fire and demonstrates the plight of the people in politics--how, between love and loneliness, is there any difference? Jung Yoo Mi (Yeon Hee) shows the importance of standing up for values in light of all other desires. These are just a few of the many great performances Six Flying Dragons introduces into the dramatic world.

As the narrative and action set the drama, music sets the tone. In Six Flying Dragons, the music glorifies an already-rich narrative with lyrical power and earth-jolting strength. This OST is quite simply one of the best. A favorite, surely, is the song “Muiiya,” a song with so much meaning that pervades the narrative and asks the viewer to contemplate its short lyric for far longer than the song. One cannot get enough of the sound of Six Flying Dragons. If I could rate the OST, I would give it a 10, hands down.

Despite its 50 episode length, I need to rewatch this again. There remains much more for me to glean from the drama’s depths, much more for me to contemplate about character, much more for me to study about politics and choices. From someone who could not watch a long drama until last year, I could not get enough. I could go another 20 or 30 episodes if only to see more of this drama’s richness and characterization.

Overall, Six Flying Dragons provides me with the overarching question, Is there any difference between politics and swords? My answer to that question...well, I will let that remain a mystery to the for the new viewer. Instead, I will sit here in the grey, where these questions keep being pondered. Instead, I implore the new viewer to ask themselves these questions while watching and see if they can find a conclusive answer as well.
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wonhwa
16 of 17 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Mar 25, 2016
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 9.5
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 7.0
In a time of injustice, what means are legitimate to right the wrongs? What happens when efficacy clashes with idealism, loyalty with morality, when the codes of the scholar, the warrior, the peasant and the noble founder on the shoals of ambition, love, envy, and self-preservation? Six Flying Dragons sets up six (well, actually, seven) protagonists, real and fictional, male and female, elite and ordinary, and sends them hurtling into the chaos read more of a collapsing nation as they struggle to conjure something better from its ashes. As a microcosm of the wider world, their intertwined stories allow the writers to explore how every choice, for good or ill, ripples through society, and to humanize both the triumphs and the costs of revolution.

On a technical level, the screenwriters’ ability to juggle so many through lines is stunning. Set-ups in early episodes lead to powerful payoffs hours down the line, and little time is wasted, with each scene deepening characterizations, drawing parallels, establishing new conflicts and reinforcing themes. Fictional elements are well integrated with the actual history, and while liberties are certainly taken, this is a much less romanticized world than that of most fusion sageuks. Reality constantly intrudes in all its messy brutality, and show embraces this, refusing to whitewash the actions of its characters. For me, the only misstep was the writers’ attempt to create a grand, overarching mythology running from Queen Seondeok to King Sejong. It felt forced and unnecessary, an in-joke that distracted from the story at hand, and its corresponding secret society was the least convincing aspect of the show.

The directing is initially a bit awkward, but as things progress, the editing calms down and the fabulous ensemble cast takes center stage, riveting in all their flawed, passionate, terrible humanity. Dark but never cynical, violent but never gratuitous, grim but never hopeless, the show cares for all its characters, and it makes you care deeply too. They often lose their battles, but they fight with everything they have, refusing to stop seeking, striving, dreaming. They can’t go on, and yet they do. And because of them, Six Flying Dragons soars.
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Make a Recommendation More recs (4)Recommendations

If you like the politics and plotting aspect of Six Flying Dragons then you will like Empress Ki. Empress Ki has more romance but it also has great acting and a well written plot. Like in Six Flying Dragons you will find the extended cast has a variety of characters that the writers try to develop throughout the story.

Similarities:
politics
plotting
great acting
strong female characters
action
Recommended by silvermcv
They mention several times Queen Seon Duk and Bidam.
Also Bidam actions in Queen Seon Duk have consequences in Six Flying Dragons.

Other similarities:
- Same writers.
- Politics.
- The "bad" characters are also very charming.
- Strong female characters.
- Both dramas tell historical events.
- Almost there is no romance (Is more subtle compared to SFD).
- Action.

They have more things in common, like the treatment of the characters and the drama structure (the sequel A tree with deep roots also follow the same structure).
Recommended by ireth

Comments (1144)

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  • Reply
    Remz23 2 days ago

    Sam bong .. I will miss this guy

  • Reply
    naccu 4 days ago

    I want to start saying that I always find politics and war as two veeeeeeery boring subjects. Yet, for some bizarre reason this drama charmed me and made me fall in love with everything so much! If I could use just one word to describe it it would be EPIC! Now that it's over for me I want to cry :'(

  • Reply
    Kiseki 8 days ago - edited

    About to give this a try, can someone briefly explain to me the historical aspects of this drama, like what year AD is this suppose to be and what significant historical events occur in here and which characters are based on real characters recorded in history etc? It will help me have some perspective when I start watching, thanks!

    • Reply
      DiosaUnica96 6 days ago - edited

      This drama has many important true events about the birth of the Joseon Dynasty. The main characters who are fictional are: Bong Yi, Ddang Sae, Mu Hyul. The other dragons really existed. (Yi Bang Wol - General Yi Seong gye, Jung Do Jeon) This drama begin with the collapse of the Goryeo dynasty (XIV century), and finish after the first years of Joseon Dinasty. We can see how the Joseon Dynasty has been established, who make it possible, and how many hardship there has been. It's an amazing drama with many plot twist, you'll love it.

  • Reply
    wasureta-yume 8 days ago

    I took a break while watching this drama because so many other dramas got the priority, but damn, this drama is so good! Great acting, plot, and amazing cinematography.

  • Reply
    JohnGilbert 10 days ago

    First lesson to learn of Six Flying Dragons...never judge a man by his eye shadow

  • Reply
    souldoc70 27 days ago

    Superb script , great acting especially Yoo Ah In, Kim Myung Min , Gil Tae Mi and General Yi Seong Gye

  • Reply
    Betty_Boop Jul 20, 2016 - edited

    i love every episode.

    • Reply
      Betty_Boop 8 days ago - edited

      you don't need to say bad word ur DUMBASS TOO and no need to be mean.. didn't mean to leave it like that but just busy w work..

    • Reply
      Betty_Boop 8 days ago

      i dont mean to ruin any SHIT..

    • Reply
      CharityRich 8 days ago

      UUMMM yeah,well I apologize.... How am I suppose to know your internet was down,I thought you were just being selfish and ruined it for people like me,who hasn't seen this drama yet-.- WTF you mean by not to this two mean people,how rude-_______-

    • Reply
      Betty_Boop 8 days ago

      i edited coz i know im just not happy when i saw ur comment and i just heated w that.. so irealized to edit it to avoid more mis understanding.. we just got our net working.. thats what im saying, mean word always made u feel upset.. dont u agree? anyway i apologize too..

    • Reply
      CharityRich 8 days ago

      Yeah I guess it does make you feel upset... Won't happen again:D

  • Reply
    shrimp Jul 19, 2016

    The only thing i'd change in this drama is the actress playing Boon Yi. It's long but you will enjoy every episode trust me.

  • Reply
    elvirad Jul 19, 2016 - edited

    Do I need to watch tree with deep roots first before watching this? As this was the sequel of TWDR?

    • Reply
      shrimp Jul 19, 2016

      you don't have to

    • Reply
      elvirad Jul 24, 2016

      Thanks for replying ^^

    • Reply
      sonya 13 days ago

      U should watch it after tho its great and half the episodes.

  • Reply
    shadow Jul 8, 2016

    Best KDRAMA ever. i watched 6 month ago. Signal is nothing compared to this drama. MDL rating is kinda fraud. Not sure who rate signal better than SFD.

  • Reply
    Arielle Jul 6, 2016

    Mu hyul 'droolsssssss'

  • Reply
    silvermcv Jul 5, 2016 - edited

    Great drama. I highly recommend watching it and Tree With Deep Roots. I do hope the writers decide to do a third series.

    • Reply
      ykflower Jul 13, 2016

      I can't handle unhappy ending it gives me hard time lol I was interested in this drama cause of Yoon Gyun now I am having a second thought cause I was hoping for happy romance as a big part of the plot ,thank you :) plz feel free to send me any recommendations any time with that conditions LOL

    • Reply
      silvermcv Jul 13, 2016
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      ykflower Jul 13, 2016 - edited
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      Lsgon 23 days ago
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      ykflower 23 days ago
      Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    Mikado Jul 5, 2016 - edited

    I'm so impatient. what episode does Mu hyul introduce? :)

    • Reply
      Fortuna Jul 20, 2016

      Do you mean actor Yoon Gyun Sang's character? He's introduced early on...I can't quite remember but definitely before 15.

    • Reply
      dearnadallas Jul 20, 2016

      He shows up in episode 5

    • Reply
      DianaCarvalho Jul 20, 2016
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      Fortuna Jul 20, 2016

      Gotcha. :)

  • Reply
    Arielle Jul 5, 2016

    The drama was perfect till gil tae mi aigoo crying

  • Reply
    Mikado Jul 4, 2016 - edited

    it took me a while to start this drama coz its 50 episodes. Im starting it right now and I'm in episode 5 without noticing it.. It's true what they say that you will not notice that you already watch 1 hour for every episode. I'm nervous coz I've became emotional esp. in episode 1 and 4..

    My favorite character right now is SaBong.. I think he cares so much for their nation. But I'm waiting to see Mu hyul to grow up. I think he will be funny character..hahaha

    oohh I love the song that Sabong sang in episode 2. what's the title?

    Looking forward for the next episode. I hope it will not drag...

Details

  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

    Drama
  • Episodes:

    50
  • Aired:

    Oct 5, 2015 to Mar 22, 2016
  • Aired On:

    Monday, Tuesday
  • Network:

    SBS
  • Duration:

    60 min.

Statistics

  • Score:

    8.9 (scored by 1,413 users)
  • Ranked:

    #22
  • Popularity:

    #42

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