Jang Bo Go was a slave from Shilla (a Korean dynasty that lasted from 57 B.C. until 935 A.D.) He was sold in China during the Tang Dynasty, where he was trained as a gladiator-slave. Through hardwork and perseverance, he made it back to Shilla and became a successful sea merchant. The sea passage at the time was plagued by pirates and Jang Bo Go went head to head with them inbattles and managed to keep the pirates at bay. This epic drama tells the story of a historical figure blending it with intrigue and battle of wit to make it into a successful drama of all times.
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Cast & Credits
The story starts a little slow but is still interesting right from the first episode. Its the kind of drama you could marathon but personally I didn't because although it gets really interesting, it was never so addictive that I couldn't stop watching (guess thats a good thing? Hehe). There are many unpredictables in the drama all around. Things that you'd usually want to happen in dramas but never happen will happen here and things you'd probably not want to happen will happen as well. You might like it because it feels fresh tries to avoid the stereotypical stuff rampant in dramas but you might also detest it and curse the writers for not allowing things to go the way you want. This might especially apply in the romance department, it never really goes in the direction the romance lovers would want it to (especially the way it ends).
Some nitpicks for this drama (why it doesn't get 10/10) would be for one, I couldn't agree with actress Chae Si Ra being cast as madam Jami (the main female antagonist). According to the drama madam Jami is supposedly beautiful, seductive, intimidating and at times, scary. When the drama tries to give you any of these impressions from the actress, it just falls flat. Also, I found some of the fight scenes hilarious with all the unnecessary jumping and funny sound effects but overall they are actually very well done (also considering the year it was done, the experience the cast had at the time with fight choreography and just the overall fact that Korea has never been on par with China when it comes to martial arts in films or dramas). Anyways the hilarious parts are few. The ost in the drama are ok. Sounds like typical stuff if you're a k-drama veteran. You either like the ost or dont really care.
As a whole this drama has amazing production, excellent actors, deals heavily with themes of dirty politics, merchants & trade, pirate battles, country wars and is highly recommended to all k-drama lovers especially those who like the historical & martial arts blend and the rise of an underdog.
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The ending is why a lot of people might rate this drama poorly and I'd have to agree that it was a bit bad. Not anything I couldn't swallow so it didn't weigh heavily on me like the ending of Queen Seon Duk did (maybe because Ive seen worse or maybe because it seemed ridiculous). You could say the ending is similar to Bad Guy with a little extra. It sort of makes sense but if the writers wanted to, they could've made it happier.
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