“Jeon Woo Chi” is a fusion action sageuk (historical drama) that is based on a novel. It is a story of Jeon Woo Chi the guru who gained his powers by swallowing a gumiho fox bead and his revenge on his friend’s betrayal, which caused him to lose his father-figure Hong Kil Dong and his lover Hong Moo Yeon. So in order to avenge their deaths, he travels to Joseon, and becomes a reluctant hero for the people. Hong Mu Yeon who is a princess, the granddaughter of Hong Gil Dong, and the love interest of Jeon Woo Chi.
“Jeon Woo Chi” is a remake of 2009 fantasy action movie “Jeon Woo Chi” which starred Kang Dong Won, Kim Yoon Seok, and Im Soo Jung.The drama is planning on drawing out the hidden stories and sides of Jeon Woo Chi, who is regarded as a super hero of Joseon.
Cast & Credits
The show has two facets in my mind: the serious side, that's a story about the troubles our hero and Joseon face as they battle corruption and wizardry. And then there's the funny side, which is Cha Tae Hyun going around being hilarious. The funny side is brilliant, but the serious side is just so-so.
The plot wasn't the show's strong point. At times it went around in circles a bit without much actual progress in any one direction. Later in the drama I felt like some episodes got too wrapped up in government affairs, forcing Woo-chi out of the spotlight temporarily, which was not something I enjoyed much. The show was at its best when Cha Tae-Hyun's characters were front and center.
Throughout the drama new wizardry rules were introduced whenever it was convenient. It felt a bit TOO convenient for a character to be near death... and then surprise, someone casually mentions a rule that affects how they can use their wizard powers, and thus the tables are turned or someone's plan is foiled. A bit too much of a deus ex machina for me. I wouldn't have been too bothered if it had only happened once, but it seemed to be a recurring issue.
Overall the plot wasn't horrible--the issues I had with it were always momentary and it kept a good pace most of the time. It could have been a lot better though.
ACTING + CHARACTERS: 7/10
There are a whole bunch of really, really awesome characters in this drama. Cha Tae Hyun's characters of course steal the show. Between his two characters, I honestly preferred Lee Chi (his alter ego)--his character was much more amusing in my opinion. Woo-chi was certainly funny as well, but at times he was playing the role of the serious and principled hero, which I didn't find quite so entertaining.
Bong Gu was a thoroughly wonderful side character. As were Hye Ryung, Chan Hwi, So Chil... Far too many great characters in this show to name them all. I would have liked it if we'd gotten a chance to see more of some of them, but nevertheless they were strong supporting characters.
Unfortunately some of the main characters I don't think were so great, Mu Yeon in particular. I have no complaints about Uee's acting, but I have no idea what the writers were thinking when it came to Mu Yeon. For the first half of the show she was mostly just unconscious--hard to develop a character much when she's asleep in half her scenes. When she's finally conscious, she just faded into the background and became more of a side character than anything. She had a few moments in the spotlight, but that's about it.
As for the bad guys, Ma Sook I also think could have been done better. At one point in the show we get some interesting insight into his motivation for doing evil stuff... but then it's pretty much never mentioned again. It could have been a really good way to give his character more depth, but instead they just tossed out a quick explanation and decided they were done with it. He then follows Mu Yeon's lead and fades into the background.
Kang Rim I found a more interesting bad guy in the beginning. He was doing evil stuff, but he still had traces of a conscience and and uncertainty in what he was doing. It made him a great character and even made me sympathize a bit with him. But then, God knows why, a switch is flipped halfway through and he becomes a one-dimensional bad guy that totally lacks the depth his character had in the beginning. How boring.
One more thing that I find worth mentioning is the special effects. It's not something I really want to judge the show negatively for, but they were so bad that I almost stopped watching before I'd even finished the first episode. Thankfully I grew accustomed to them as the show went on and they stopped being so much of a distraction, but I wish they had prioritized the special effects more for a show that uses them so heavily.
Despite my criticisms of the show, it's still something I'd recommend watching if you're a fan of comedy and/or Cha Tae Hyun. The drama is mediocre in a number of respects, but it's sure as hell funny.
The story was not all fantastic, but as with all sageuks, the king and queen come to feature quite heavily in the show.
Cha Tae Hyun is great in this show, as usual. He is pretty hilarious as Jeon Woo Chi. Bong Gu steals the show as Jeon Woo Chi's hilarious sidekick. Unfortunately, UEE is very underused, being the second lead. The development of the villains as characters is also quite poor, but Lee Jin Hoon does a really good job with what he is given as the villain Kang Rim. Thankfully the story is kept moving along quite swiftly through various plot twists and plot devices.
On the sageuk front, this is not an excellent show, but as a lighthearted comedy with some royal intrigue that is not too addictive, I recommend this show.