Golden Empire

Details

  • Drama: Golden Empire
  • Country: South Korea
  • Episodes: 24
  • Aired: Jul 1, 2013 - Sep 17, 2013
  • Aired On: Monday, Tuesday
  • Network: SBS
  • Duration: 1 hr. 3 min.
  • Genres: Business, Drama, Family
  • Rating: Not Yet Rated

Statistics

  • Score: 7.4 (scored by 502 users)
  • Ranked: #2258
  • Popularity: #1524
  • Watchers: 2,006

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Completed
Cheer
48 people found this review helpful
Sep 19, 2013
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 6
Overall 9.0
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
This drama was a weekly dose set to satisfy my hunger for sharp screenwriting, cliché-free storyline, intense events, dazzling characterization and top-notch acting.

Golden Empire is simply gold but that gold isn’t for everyone to watch and I can fully understand why the audience would avoid a business/romance-free drama. Has it been a time when you were watching an excellent drama but you find out that most people are ignoring it and the internet buzz is almost inexistent? That’s my case with Empire of Gold.

If you want to watch this, forget about the synopsis; it’s misleading and makes you expect things you shouldn’t. This is a story about power struggle for 20 years in order to rule the golden empire which is Sung Jin Group that’s owned by the Choi family. The three main warriors are: Choi Seo Yeon; the daughter of Choi Dung Sung who’s the owner of the group, her cousin Choi Min Jae; the son of Choi Dung Jin who’s the co-founder of the group and Jang Tae Joo who built himself from scratch and came to win the Empire of gold.

Out of all currently airing Korean dramas I was watching synchronously with Golden Empire; this one managed to to snatch the top spot and remain as my top obsession all the way through; this drama excels in screenwriting and witty dialogues, this is a drama where billions were flying on the dining table and a cup of tea can decide someone’s destiny: Yes, I had to mention that because once the table is set for a cup of tea, you should know that you will be blown away by the characters’ dialogue. What I like the most about their dialogues are the metaphors, the quotes and the historical events that they use to deliver their ideas whether directly or indirectly that’s why I always thought that this drama’s writers are geniuses; not only they wrote amusing discussions but they also provided us intense thrilling events and intriguing twists without any drop of slow moments that can reduce our intention: loud claps for the most brilliant writers in Kdrama's history.

The acting department was simultaneously stunning; Go Soo, Lee Yo Won and Son Hyun Joo are astonishing actors that I can’t imagine this drama without them. Jang Tae Joo, Choi Seo Yeon and Choi Min Jae are equally alluring, smart and impressive; just get ready to cheer for them, hate them, love them, distrust them, pity them, curse them but the most important thing is that you will feel them. They led this drama and made the excitement within its storyline through the alliances, the schemes and the conspiracies that were masterminded by those three or the rest of the cast who were equally convincing as actors and highly appreciated as characters.

In a line, I want to give credit for the music that suited this drama’s business theme in a magnificent way.

The rewatch value is low because such an intense drama will lose its twists and the factor of surprise if it's rewatched.

To make the long story short; this drama isn’t directed for everyone but one thing’s for sure, it’s unlike other same-plot dramas since there are no cheesy moments, weak characters or shallow acting. This is a high class screenwriting that’s very rare to find in Korean or Asian dramas in general.

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Completed
mysecretsoul
24 people found this review helpful
Sep 21, 2013
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
Charles Dickens once penned, "Gold conjures up a mist about a man, more destructive of all of his old senses and lulling to his feelings than the fumes of charcoal." The basic meaning applies well to Golden Empire: one taste of money infects the bearer, and those blinded by it are subject to its venom. Literary and historical references enhance this drama, apparent in the deeply evocative dialogue and vibrant plot twists taken over its course. Just as classic novels may enrich readers, Golden Empire embodies the same potential for viewers in its uniquely realized sprawl. By that same token, some will feel daunted or bored -- as some may when dealing with any form of entertainment considered "classical" or "high brow."

As a period piece, Golden Empire explores harsh years in Korean history. While we are enfolded by this unique atmosphere, the opulent poison represented by the Choi family's own corporate power and wealth begins to take hold. Managing to be highly personal and impactful (even as it tackles complicated business affairs), this is a drama without cliche. Potential viewers should note only negligible romance is present. A few dalliances do exist, but these are far from sweet. For instance, one of the first and foremost openly compares its trajectory to the ill-fated connection between Eva Braun and Hitler. Of the heavily explored ties, family and business are king. Don't expect fuzzy heart flutters here; in the world of Golden Empire, loved ones stab you in the back for even one more share and prison is just another business trip.

Some imperfections exist admittedly; early episodes are strewn with time skips and somewhat confusing cinematographic cuts. It took about five hours submerged in this drama for me to find my footing and solidify my understanding of the plot. Once I could, the rest of the experience was riveting.

The leads offer juggernaut performances. Go Soo becomes Jang Tae Joo with almost theatrical flourish, building him impressively. This character represents the unpredictable, behaving radically in the race for money and influence. As such, his portrayal adopts a delightful and intoxicating element of controlled volatility, comparable to a lightning strike. It was a pleasure trying to figure out what he might say next and just how. Son Hyun Joo and Lee Yo Won embody the brilliant, but tragically flawed Choi cousins. Both of them had an amazing ability to begin friendly conversations and end them with figurative claws out. Out of the three addressed in this section, the persistent Min Jae (Son Hyun Joo) captured my attention without fail. His scenes comprise some of the most dynamic I've encountered in any drama; truly, both character and actor are highlights. Watch out for any scene including even two of these talents; it's guaranteed to be thrilling, especially if it includes both men.

Orchestrations were generally well applied, often serving to add that extra punch to a scene. The best description that can be made of them "moody, elegant, and high drama." Beyond the incredible introductory piece though, I'm not sure any of them make for good post-view listening. Vocals are another story, with Yeon Gyu Sung ("Crying"), ALi ("In My Dream"), and Sun Soo Jin ("Shout to the World") serving up some of the best I've heard all year. Despite romantic lyrics occasionally inappropriate to the series, but hey, they sound great.

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Completed
KiaSoul
18 people found this review helpful
Apr 1, 2014
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
If you like poker and classical allusions (mostly Chinese), _Golden Empire_ will have you thoroughly engrossed. It had me (thoroughly engrossed) though I don’t play poker and I recognized a mere fraction of the classical allusions. I’ll admit that Lee Yo-won’s prettiness and icy demeanor had me riveted, but equally riveting were the depictions of cutthroat ruthlessness that are at the heart of the drama.

Early on, there are two scenes that portend what’s to come. One is when Sungjin’s chairman apologizes for involving his daughter in the family business and its innate “dirtiness,” which he had hoped to shield her from; and the other is a noodle peddler’s son, now a high-stakes broker, proclaiming that business is “war.” From then on, moral scruples are subordinated to vindictiveness and revenge, putting everything, including blackmail and the covering up of a murder, on the table, as viable options.

With no heroes per se, I found myself pulling for the three characters who want nothing more to do with power and prestige (to the extent they try to sabotage their nearest and dearest who are busy selling their souls for the sake of the “Golden Empire”) to be the ones who resolve the drama’s ending. It was wishful thinking, as there has to be a winner and a loser(s), and as it would’ve been implausible for a truce to be called and the winner declared in the spirit of fair play after all the no-holds-barred beat-down of one another. And the writers don’t disappoint. To quote Adam von Librikov “Death is a matter of style.” And death, stylish death, is the note which the drama’s most heroic character goes out on while its most attractive is left to ponder the unbearable cost of winning.

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Completed
algelic
20 people found this review helpful
Oct 19, 2013
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 10
Rewatch Value 7.0
"Do you know that my painful love is you?"

These lyrics echo throughout the drama, as the amazing singer Ali sings the main song "In My Dream". It's a song about unavoidable fate, tragic love and dreams.

"Empire of Gold" is definitely not a drama for everyone. I'm sure half the viewers were bored to death while the other half was helplessly glued to the screen dying to know what happens next.

This is a drama about greed. The path is Hell but the winner gets Heaven. But to get there you need to fight, sacrifice everything you love, shake hands with enemies... and sell your soul.

The synopsis is extremely misleading. There's very little romance in this drama and even though there is something like a tragic love story, it doesn't involve the two characters you'd expect from the synopsis.

The strongest point in this drama is definitely the writing. The characters are complex, the dialogue is intelligent, the whole story is extremely well written. The cast boasts some very good actors but the quality of their performances seemed to fluctuate... in some scenes they were insanely good while in others they were a bit lacking.

Sometimes I felt that Lee Yo Won wasn't fully able to convey the complexity of her own character Choi Seo Yoon. In some scenes the dialogue seemed to hint at something but her face didn't express anything. On the other hand, Go Soo seemed to express TOO MUCH sometimes.

This is a drama that relies heavily on its actors' performances. The action and tension isn't created with big car chase or explosion scenes, but instead with tight dialogue and hidden intentions. It's a merry-go-round of backstabbing.

The last half drags a bit, since some characters fall from the chessboard. The sets become repetitive: Office A, Office B, Office C, living room. But still we watch, too curious to see the outcome.

Then we get that ending... which received a mixed reaction. I think it was a suiting ending. He fought in a wold of Hell because he believed that it became Heaven for the winner. But there can be no Heaven for those who sold their soul.

Even though this drama is definitely not the type I enjoy watching, I was hopelessly addicted to it. And it did leave an impression long after I finished it.

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Completed
nastja1404
9 people found this review helpful
Sep 20, 2013
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 6.0
The synopsis really misleads. This Drama isn't romance oriented at all. There are some romantic feelings involved but they stay in the background of the story. The real plot is about the fight of people to reach the highest position of the 'Golden Empire'.

Golden Empire is 'just' a business drama which doesn't mean that the story is boring. The plot actually moves fast and keeps you on your toes. You never know what happens next. The writers always manage to throw a twist into the story. Because Golden Empire is so business oriented the dialogues sometimes are difficult to understand. You really need to pay attention to the stuff happening on the screen. Even so the writing is really well done. But in my case I missed a little bit of romance.

The acting in this drama is outstanding. The cast managed to portrait their characters really well. Even the side characters were amazing.

Overall Golden Empire is a really good Drama. The writing is really well done and the story never goes the way you would expect it to go. I don't think that this is a drama that you would rewatch.

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Completed
purplenette
7 people found this review helpful
Mar 22, 2015
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 5.5
Story 5.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
Are they kidding me with that ending? There are so many things that I enjoy regarding this drama. The dialog is really good and the character development is excellent, but there is just something missing. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but I think it is that I don't like any of the characters. I don't feel anything for them, I wasn't routing for anyone to win. I was mostly routing for one particular person to lose. Some of the story line felt like the writer lost the point of the drama. Actually, even right now I am not sure what the point of the drama is. If your greedy, then you lose everything? These people pretty much sold their souls and their loved ones for money. You should be equal with your children so they don't try to cut each others throat? The family was only loyal when they had to be. Except the one character who wasn't greedy and loyal to a fault. If you fail, then you might as well die and if you win, then you are alone anyway? Seriously? This is my biggest problem with the drama. Why would someone so strong stop like that so suddenly...what 12 to 15 years later? I also think the writer lost a few possible ways that would make this story more enjoyable. To say nothing of the fact that they must have had a low budget, because the sets are pretty much revolving. That stupid breakfast table. LOL Anyway, I'm just glad it is over. I feel strung out and somewhat disappointed.

The acting is what makes this drama worth watching. There really doesn't feel like there is any tension in the story line and it was created by the actors. I'm a huge fan of Soo Hyun Joo and he didn't disappoint as Min Jae. Go Soo as Tae Joo and Lee Yo Won as Seo Yoon are also really good. I don't know if I was supposed to feel so much hate toward Seo Yoon, but I did. The one character I was routing against was her. I hoped she would lose everything the entire drama. In a way she did. There are tons of other good actors in this drama also.

The music is really good and appropriate.

I will never rewatch this.

I think some people would find this boring. If you like great dialog and good acting, then this is the drama for you.

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Completed
BrightestStar
4 people found this review helpful
Sep 19, 2015
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
Whoa! What a ride it was. This drama is one of a kind! It's not perfect, and had its ups and downs, but is different from anything I have seen in asian dramas, specially from Korean dramas. I can see the disappointment for some viewers, as it was marketed really differently from what it really was. This drama has its audience, but certainly isn't one with a mass appeal. The main reason: there is no romance or action. It is a corporate political story. It can be considered a present day corporate dynasty. I was listening to a podcast recently about about the world wars and European conquer, all betting on what the other will do, and making their decisions based on it. That is exactly how Empire of Gold is, but on a smaller scale. The writing is the star here, it's the GOLD, with the most thought provoking dialogs, the characters nuanced, complicated.

This is a story of greed. The story starts about four characters, four sides, playing each other off, until only one is self on top of the empire. A man coming from the ghetto, who will do anything he can to get on top of the world, on top of those who step on him, not out of revenge, but of envy. A man always there next to that empire, but can never enter it. So close yet too far, he will stop at nothing to take it from those who deny it to him. A woman alone on top of the empire, who always wanted to escape it, but finds herself being the only one part of that empire capable of preserving it. Finally a woman who's own self-victimization keeping her from realizing her truth, greedy and selfish. Most of the drama is spent sitting, either having a meal or drinking tea. During those events, allies happen, betrayals, power switched from one hand to another, lives change, some go to prison, other to castles. It is a hell of a life.

As for the acting, it really got me hooked! I think it's my first time watching Go Soo, and oh boy he swept me off my feet. He's flawless, with a beautiful face that he sure isn't afraid to uglify it to suit the mood and state of the character he plays Tae Joo. Tae Joo sure is an inspiring character. Despite being a greedy jerk, what made him capable of turning his fortune he is what I would call a great leader. He manages to move people to his side, have them loyal to him, all in this together, taking the same path. As one of the characters say, he manages to both fill his stomach and his heart. That is where Seo Yoon fails, and will never fill anyone's heart. Her attitude of always telling people *stay put, behave, and I will take care of everything for you* is overbearing. She is very loyal to the family, but her way of showing it, in short, sucks. I'm not a fan of Lee Yo Won, but she plays her character magnificently. Son Hyun Joo is AMAZING! He can do the most devilish thing, but the moment he does this sad look in his eyes, he just gets to me! He was the one I was rooting for, for the most run of the drama. The chemistry that got me hooked was the one between Go Soo and Son Hyun Joo. When they are fighiting, when they are allies, and they face each other off, there's this excitement when they share the screen together.

There are many other intriguing characters. The list is too long, but just a couple of highlights: Uhm Hyo Seop as Won Jae, the older brother that is too simple for that hell of a world; Jang Shin Young as Seol Hee, who find a way out of her greed always has an interesting story to tell; Ryu Seung Soo as the awkward gangster with a sense of humour; Kim Mi Sook as Sung Jae's Mom's was terrific.

Other than those points, another terrific point is the soundtrack. It was overall a good soundtrack but there was this dramatic music that played out every time a new turn of fortune happen, and had this way of adding of drama and excitement to the scene. I got really addicted to it.

As I said the drama is not perfect. One of the main issue it may not have many people complete it, and the reason it took me so LONG to finish it myself is that it drains my energy, specially when you have someone rooting AGAINST. Every time I finish an episode, it just becomes too hard to start a new one, but once I start the episode, I couldn't take my eyes off it, as much as it drained me.

Another issue is one I have with many kdramas, there is no sense of time passing. We meet the characters from the time they are in there mid to late 20s (or older), and over 15 years pass, but they are as beautiful as ever, no sense of aging at all. It takes out from the sense of realism, especially when so much emphasize is put on the time those battles took from our protagonists' lives. There was also not much care put to show the different eras the story goes through, from the 90s to the 2Ks. Finally, as the episodes go by, the amount of flashbacks kept increasing, and while I was watching this drama very slowly, I didn't need THIS MANY reminders of what this person said or did.

So to summarize it all, it is an amazing, unique drama,that is for a specific audience. It's not perfect by any means, but it excels in its good points. If you like an intelligent drama about people's greed, playing each other off, and corporate politics that mirror real life politics, then that is the drama for you. However, it is NOT a drama about the romance between a self-made man and a heiress. Sometimes I wonder how the drama would've turned out if it followed the synopsis, but I realize it'd probably just be like another kdrama. Then again with such genius writing who knows.

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Completed
PatrickPham
1 people found this review helpful
Jan 27, 2015
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
How much would one sacrifice and change just to rise to the top? This drama beautifully portrayed what an economic war would feel like. It's a long and hard battle between family members and a man with an ultimate goal: to take over the most successful corporation in Korea. The characters dealt with major conflicts in the story such as ambition, greed, and economic order. The story/plot was well thought out and written. I felt like I took a semester's worth of business/economics classes just by watching this drama. It was really intriguing to watch. Sure there were confusing moments, but you aren't expected to understand 100% of what's going on. I had a general idea of what's happening, and that's all you really need to follow the story. If you find business, economics, modern day monopoly intriguing, this drama is perfect for you. If you're in it for just the romance, unfortunately you will be a little bit disappointed. (Also: when watching this, it best to keep fully attentive. 5 seconds you look away from the tv and you'll be thrown off, especially with all those fancy economic vocabulary words they use)

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Completed
Jemima
5 people found this review helpful
Sep 17, 2013
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 6.0
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
The end wasn't as I expected. But It was logical enough. They, family were fighting each others for money and power. The big emptiness inside their heart is what they all have.

Seo Yoon's father was so bad even to his children. Why he never thought the happiness of their children. Poor Soe Yoon, she had to walk on her life full of miserable to obey her father. In the end she has nobody.

I like Go Soo's acting as Jang Tae Joo and his chemistry with Lee Yo Won as Soe Yoon. Son Hyun Joo's acting as Choi Min Jae was so strong as always. I think every cast played very well.

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