Warrior Baek Dong Soo

Warrior Baek Dong Soo (2011)

8.3
Your Rating:
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 2,547 users
Reviews: 28 users

Set in the Joseon Dynasty during King Jeongjo's reign, this martial-arts fusion sageuk is centered around the events involving Crown Prince Sado's conspiracy. Warrior Baek Dong Soo was a real-life legend who created a martial arts guide in Joseon. His group who defends King Jeongjo is pitted against a mysterious organization of assassins who plot to kill the King.

  • Native title:

    무사 백동수
  • Also Known as:

    Musa Baek Dong Soo ; Honorable Baek Dong Soo ; Warrior Baek Dong Su ; Yanoe Baek Dong Su

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amrita828
28 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Apr 11, 2015
  • Overall 8.5
  • Story 7.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 6.0
It seems this drama has literally divided the audience into two groups: the passionate lovers and the just as passionate haters. I believe the reason resides in the gulf between the story and the plot, in other words between what the drama is about and the way it was written to convey it. I belong to the group of the lovers for 28 hours and 50 minutes and to the haters for read more the last 10.

The plot is a hot mess. Very hot on the eyes and the heart and very much a mess for the intellect. But, frankly, I was more than willing to overlook every plot-hole, every unrealistic twist, every narrative ingenuity while watching, because the emotions portrayed were so strong, so moving and beautiful, it was like swimming in self-inflicted, desired pain. This is a story of friendship, and this aspect is wonderful. I rejoiced in every scene which would bring the friends/rivals together on screen and not surprisingly those scenes are the best shot ones too, with some stunning choreography and mesmerizing music. I could have watched 29 hours of sword fights or friends silently sitting next to each other without complain. This is what the story is about and as I said it's incredibly beautiful.

On the other hand, the plot, or, if you prefer, the writing, goes everywhere and nowhere. Aliens could have landed in Joseon and killed them all with laser beams and it would have gone almost unnoticed in the circus. I'm not saying the politics didn't count, but I simply didn't care. What I cared about were the characters and their bond.
First, the kids: they enchanted me. Because this drama is totally devoid of mother figures – the only living one having refused to be such for 20 years – I suppose my very latent mother instinct came to the surface with a vengeance. The acting by both Yeo Jin Goo and Park Gun Tae was amazing and I'm kind of indignant they are listed as "guest roles" here. In less than 4 episodes they managed to make me love the characters and die to see how they'd connect to one another. The young Wun in particular must be the most harrowing character I've come across in a long while. My desire to kill that father of his with my own hands reached unexpected and disquieting heights.
Then, there's the older generation of friends/foes, mainly Chun the Sky Lord and Gwan Taek, who share a weird bond based on rivalry and grumpy respect shown with swords. I won't spend too many words on the two actors, they are simply brilliant and the director seemed to share my opinion since the best camera works are dedicated to them. I mostly appreciated Choi Min Soo's rendition of his character, which could have easily come out of a Sergio Leone's film.
This drama is based on a manwha and this is particularly obvious in all the main characters who are clear cut and distinctive like drawings.

Not so the adult Dong Soo And Yeo Wun, who mature and change, making this into a coming-of-age drama. As single individuals they are very different, one light the other dark, one goofy the other somber, one stubborn the other easy to manipulate, but together they shine. I loved the acting of both Ji Chang Wook and Yo Seung Ho; the first because he enters the character in a way that makes you instantly forget whatever role you may have seen him in before: here, he's Dong Soo. There's a lot of physicality in his acting, which makes his performance totally believable. Seung Ho has such expressive eyes he steals the screen by a single, all-telling glance. His character is all played on subtlety, which makes it extremely powerful. As I said, separately they do great, but together they are unforgettable. It helps that they are both so smouldering handsome; in a drama based so much upon visuals, this isn't a secondary aspect at all.

Also, I must be the only living creature who liked Shin Hyun Bin here. What everybody described as a wooden performance I found to be delicate and very fitting to her role. What that role was, is another story entirely: the romance is so secondary it's almost non-existent here. This in the most common sense of the word, since the drama is profoundly romantic in the classical definition of sentimental and tumultuous.

I invested a lot of feeling in this drama, this is why the very last minutes infuriated me. I can condone many faults of this script, but I will never, ever forgive the writer for not honouring a particular character the way he deserved, for cutting short on a farewell I had been kind of expecting (and dreading) since the beginning. Many tears welled in my eyes but never had the time to come out, leaving me frustrated and empty. I suppose I should thank the production for hastening my healing process this way, for reminding me life goes on, or I'd be still suffering now. I'm not sure it's fair to lower the overall score of a drama due to the last 10 minutes, but for a show that expects you to leave the brain aside and only watch with the heart it feels like cheating.

The music is a different story. To put it short, this is the best drama Ost I've heard so far. It contributes so much to the feeling I believe it is mainly responsible for my loving the drama and overlooking its faults. Honorable mention to BMK's powerful "Yanoy", to its harrowing acoustic version by Eun Tae Park and to the haunting "Stagnant" by Shin Sung Woo. If you have the chance, give a look at the lyrics too, as they are beautifully poetic.

I don't think I'll watch the entire drama again. I will definitely re-watch single scenes though, just for the wonderful aesthetic of them. On the other hand though, I've watched a disgustingly high number of MVs and fan videos only for the sake of Dong Soo and Yeo Wun. Given how many are to be found, it seems I'm not the only one.
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skytrip
24 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Aug 10, 2012
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 9.0
If you like action, bromance, political turmoil, and saeguk (historical) dramas, then this drama is for you! This is one of my favorite dramas! The fighting scenes are some of the best I've seen (and no, it's not wire acrobatics, thank goodness!). This is a drama to watch for action and the loyalty between three friends, it is not a drama to watch for romance. However, the past romance (between characters I read more won't name) is very well done. On the other hand, the romance between the other characters seems forced and more like an afterthought on the screenwriter's part. Don't judge this drama based on the first episode, because the first episode is a little confusing. If you are just watching this drama because of the actors, it takes a few episodes for the young Dong Su and Yeo to grow up, so be patient, I promise it's worth the wait and it's important for the storyline! I did not give this drama a ten because: 1) the forced/poorly developed romance between certain characters, 2) the plot slows down midway (it picks back up again, but was not as good as the in the beginning) and 3) the ending (it seemed like a forced episode that was unnecessary and out of place). So all that aside, this is definitely worth watching, especially if you love action!
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Make a Recommendation More recs (12)Recommendations

Both give a similar feeling and main character development is kind of same.
Recommended by lattebean_
Similar scenarios: A real friend will trust in you no matter what. Both drama's show the bond of friendship is stronger than greed and ambition.
Recommended by LizzyRayDrama

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Comments (52)

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  • Reply
    soojungstrash 2 days ago

    Watch this cuz of JCW and stayed only for him the story is just ok

  • Reply
    iambulletproof 13 days ago

    Yay, finally done. Oh no where to start. Reasons I started this is (of course, obviously) JCW and its high 8.3 rating in MDL. Sad to say it didn't live up to my expectations :(
    Ok, so what went wrong for me? First, I find it really dragging. It took like 16 episodes before JCW became the warrior he is supposed to be. I find JCW character ( Baek Dong Soo) weak, not physically but as a warrior/swordmaster. I can't help but to compare him from Jang Hyuk of Tree with Deep Roots (he was like my standard for a swordmaster). And then there is Yoo Seung Ho with his monotonous facial expression. I swear he wears the same expression until the end. I'm not sure if it was his character supposed to be or it is his acting that is lacking. The actor who plays the younger version of him (Park Gun Tae) showcased a lot more depth and variations in acting tho. Romance plot didn't help at all. I find the 2 main lead with no chemistry at all, at some point i actually wished that it just be JCW and YSH to end up together lol. Both male leads has stronger chemistry than the main pair haha. I find the female lead acting really dry. Acting wise, the older cast delivered really well specially Jun Kwang Ryul and Choi Min Soo.
    Im also a little disappointed about the plot. first half of the drama revolves around Prince Sado, and then the other half about Prince Yi San. i dont get why they name the drama after warrior baek dong soo if it will just turn out to be a political/palace drama. Another thing that frustrates me and actually irritates me the most is how they drag to put an end to one villain. Like, every episode is like an opportunity to get back/finish a bad guy but they always let is slide. Not to mention this one particular bad guy that they literally tried to kill every effin episode LOL.
    for my rating 7/10, only because of JCW, if not for him, 6/10

  • Reply
    TrinniBear Apr 27, 2017

    I really loved this drama even tho I cried so many times. Great cast and Ji Chang Wook was amazing, as usual ☺

  • Reply
    fullmetalbender Feb 10, 2017

    This drama is so terribly made. From the writing to directing and everything in between, it was a huge mess, almost embarrassing to watch. Honestly, after putting it on hold many times, I only managed to finish it because of Yoo Seung Ho and even that was because I knew of his acting abilities (which found no justice here).

  • Reply
    marys Jan 8, 2017 - edited
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  • Reply
    Shi Dec 1, 2016

    I recommended this drama to fans of ji chang wook and yoo seung ho and historical and martial arts.
    The first 4 episodes (child actors) was above of my expectation and i really enjoyed them. The child actors done their best especially yeo won's child actor.
    ignore the female leads and dont expect romance.
    This drama surprised me several times.
    The scenario is almost strong and good.
    At the end, i like the last episode and ost part 1 and 2.
    Overall 9.5
    Story 9.0
    Acting/Cast 9.5
    Music 9.5
    Rewatch Value 7.0

  • Reply
    Karinna Nov 9, 2016 - edited

    When I saw that Yoo Seung Ho was in this drama, I automatically placed this on my 'to watch' list. At first I thought he was the lead male, but then I realized it was Ji Chang Wook. Chang Wook is a good actor, but I have never managed to watch one of his dramas til the end. Except for this one and it was mainly because of Seung Ho's character. Yeo Woon made me cry several times during this drama. He is such a great actor. I liked the child actors as well. Park Gun Tae and Yeo Jin Goo are already some of my favorite child actors so it was great to see them in this drama. The older cast was great as well. Choi Min Soo is scary and he played and excellent role. Finally, I enjoyed Yeo Woon's character a lot and he made it to my list of top warriors in historical dramas. Yoo Seung Ho is such a great actor, but I know and have accepted that he will make me cry in all his dramas.

  • Reply
    MinaVIP Sep 11, 2016 - edited
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    Pleasanttales Aug 27, 2016 - edited
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      iambulletproof Sep 24, 2016 - edited

      how is this compared to 6 flying dragon or deep rooted trees? in terms of action

  • Reply
    HashimHassanShariff Jul 22, 2016

    awesome drama...nice OST...thou some things were lacking

  • Reply
    lattebean_ Jun 29, 2016 - edited

    I honestly didn't like this at all.. I watched this because of Ji Chang Wook and I had to make myself watch this until the end.. especially first half was so boring, full of political talks and less fighting scenes. If you don't like sageuk that concentrates heavily on politics, don't watch this...

  • Reply
    SylasBwixML Apr 16, 2016 - edited

    Can any one recomend a drama that is awsm like ths

    • Reply
      cuypersiris Apr 24, 2016

      Healer is also an awesome drama. It has the same actor (Ji Chang Wook).

  • Reply
    SylasBwixML Apr 16, 2016

    Can any one recomend a drama that is awsm like ths

  • Reply
    SylasBwixML Apr 16, 2016

    Can any one recomend a drama that is awsm like ths

  • Reply
    Kawaitanee Dec 8, 2015 - edited
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      kyuubi Jan 24, 2016

      Just finished it and completely agree.

Details

  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

    Drama
  • Episodes:

    29
  • Aired:

    Jul 4, 2011 to Oct 10, 2011
  • Aired On:

    Monday, Tuesday
  • Network:

    SBS
  • Duration:

    1 hr. 5 min.

Statistics

  • Score:

    8.3 (scored by 2,547 users)
  • Ranked:

    #331
  • Popularity:

    #273

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