by animefayinc, August 22, 2013

How many of you are familiar with Korean actor Lee Jun Ki? The Lee Jun Ki who is often regarded as a quintessential kkonminam* idol? The now famous actor who, like many others, started as a model then climbed his way up the entertainment ladder? No? Then sit back and enjoy as I rant discuss Lee Jun Ki's acting career and why he is worthy of a stalker's guide :) 
*basically, a stereotypical Korean "flower boy" (handsome/pretty man)
You will find this 31 year old actor fifth from the top on the second page of MDL's list of "Top Actors", but that is not how I found him... for me, it all started with... 

IlJIMAE- Robin Hood of the Joseon Dynasty... Geum/Yong/Iljimae
"There's no place in this world I can't rob because... I'm Iljimae." ~Iljimae

Really. How full of yourself can you get. From the beginning, Yong is quite full of himself. He is a cliché troublemaker, full of energy and spirit. He seems to be a cheerful type of guy, very sociable (in good and bad ways) and very carefree. However, this is just a mask he uses to hide his terrible past. You will travel with him as he becomes a masked vigilante on his path to revenge.

Unlike the majority of other action based dramas, Yong did not start out as a good thief/fighter. Sure, he could throw a few punches here and there, but missions such as breaking into nobles' homes... I wish you luck in prison. So how did he go from an average lower class citizen to the talented Iljimae that the townspeople worshipped? Hard work. He was not born with superior fighting skills, but acquired them through willpower, perseverance, and training. In this way, he is less like a superhero type Iljimae, and more like an Iljimae we can almost relate with. And my gosh can Lee Jun Ki pull this off. It was not hard for me to be convinced that Yong and Iljimae had two completely different personalities. Lee Jun Ki can go from the happy-go-lucky Yong shown above to the heartbroken Iljimae out for revenge in mere seconds, which was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his acting skills.
Laugh with him. Cry with him. You won't be able to help it.

Bond to be acknowledged: The bond that I enjoyed the most in Iljimae was the father-son bond between Yong and his adopted father. Beautiful yet tearjerking at the same time.

TIME BETWEEN DOG AND WOLF- The man who lost everything... Lee Soo Hyun/Kay
"When everything's smeared in red during the sunset, you don't know if the silhouette over the hill is the dog you raised... or a wolf that's going to harm you." ~Lee Soo Hyun/Kay

For your information, this is going to be extremely hard for me to write without spoilers. 

As an action nerd... I absolutely adored this drama. Undercover agents, powerful criminal organizations, misunderstandings that lead to unfortunate situations... This is my type of drama. I watched it for Lee Jun Ki and I am not disappointed. My adoration of him was rekindled with this drama. Lee Jun Ki does dark and tortured amazingly well, I was thoroughly surprised, especially after seeing him so cheerful and lively in most of his other dramas. 

Combine intelligence, great combat skills, and a tortured soul and what do you get? Lee Soo Hyun. From start to finish, Soo Hyun never failed to grasp my attention and keep my eyes glued to the screen. And yes, I mean glued. In action roles, Lee Jun Ki has this aura... it screams danger, which matches very well with his personality in this drama. Revenge is a very scary thing when coupled with Soo Hyun's violent temper and his abilities as both a gangster and an NIS agent. However, there are scenes where he is shown as a caring and compassionate person, which again shows Lee Jun Ki's acting capabilities by playing polar opposites.

Bond to be acknowledged: The most beautiful bond I saw in Time Between Dog and Wolf was the bromance bond between Soo Hyun and Min Ki. Even in the worst situations possible, just seeing the two on the same screen made my heart shudder a little.

ARANG AND THE MAGISTRATE- The one who can see ghosts but chooses to ignore them- Kim Eun Oh
"'I'm sorry', 'Thank you', 'I love you'. Those three sentences. What's the point of learning those useless sentences?" ~Eun Oh

Eun Oh is a man who likes to mind his own business. That includes ignoring the ghosts that run rampant everywhere he goes.

... Until he meets one ghost, whom he just can't ignore.

Maybe because of the circumstances under which they met (the ghosts don't realize that he can see them), which were very awkward indeed, but their relationship blossoms into something much more than that. All Eun Oh wants to do is to be left alone to look for his mother, which is why he refuses to be sidetracked by ghosts asking for favors. He is selfish and very goal-oriented, which is why the relationship between him and Arang is a bumpy ride.

Anyone who uses a pitiful ghost for his own desires seems pretty cruel, no? Actually... not really. In the drama, Eun Oh and Arang have a mutual agreement to help each other reach one another's goals. It is weird seeing Lee Jun Ki play the role of a selfish and arrogant noble, especially considering all his past roles. As usual, he pulls it off nicely. A perk to this drama is that he is not as tortured and cold as he was in Time Between Dog and Wolf, but like the majority of his roles, he has a past that he'd rather not talk about. Also, this drama reminded me just how much I enjoyed Lee Jun Ki's shocked and exasperated faces X3

Bond to be acknowledged: The mother-son bond between Eun Oh and his mother is impossible not to notice. The story started with him and his mother... and the end, well, looks like it's time for you to watch the drama. Eun Oh is such a loyal and amazing son. His mother should be proud.

My Girl
I apologize to those of you who were expecting me to talk about these two dramas, but I don't think I can do them justice, seeing as I either dropped them or put them on hold. I'm going to give them a try later on. Remember when I told you that I'm an action nerd? It's almost impossible for me to finish dramas that lack action so... sorry D:

Now onto his movies... 

THE KING AND THE CLOWN- Gay entertainer Gong Gil

"Heaven has seen the evils of your tyranny." ~Gong Gil

Well he isn't exactly "gay", but Gong Gil does cater to both sexes. And he is attractive to both sexes as well (as you will see in the movie). Seeing as Lee Jun Ki IS known as a pretty-boy, it would have been a waste not seeing him in a role such as this one, no? Call me crazy, but I think this was one of my favourite (if not my favourite) role that Lee Jun Ki took on. Yes, he is a versatile actor that can pull off nearly anything, but who else can pull off a role as a male clown who also caters to men?

This drama focuses on touchy subjects, such as homosexuality, but they managed to do it without too much controversy. In fact, Lee Jun Ki was praised and received many awards for his role. It's sort of weird to say, but his role as a homosexual clown was the one that made his name known around Korea.

This drama itself is a chaotic mass of emotions, and it was hard for me to actually grasp the story the first time. Gong Gil doesn't talk much, so it was almost impossible for me to figure out what he was thinking. Even then, barely speaking a word, Lee Jun Ki portrayed his characters emotions wonderfully.

Fragile. Delicate. Easily broken.

I never thought Lee Jun Ki to be the fragile and shy type. He just keeps proving me wrong and wowing me with his wide spectrum of roles. 

FLY, DADDY, FLY- Student turned mentor Go Seung Suk

"Thank you... Daddy." ~Go Seung Suk
That quote won't have much meaning until you actually watch the movie, so go and watch the movie XD

Lee Jun Ki plays Go Seung Suk, a student who accepts a father's request of teaching him how to fight in order to get back at the guy who hurt his daughter. Although the movie centers around the father, Lee Jun Ki didn't have a small role either. He is often seen reading books (which books? I have no idea, but he sure seems engrossed in them). After Seung Suk accepts the father's request of teaching him how to fight (more accurately, box), he takes the job seriously, and does whatever is in his power to make the father stronger... strong enough to beat a boxing champion- in only 45 days. The training regime is hard, but the father perseveres through it all and Seung Suk doesn't give up on him. 

It is nice seeing Lee Jun Ki in a mature and serious role for once. To be honest, I missed his cheerful attitude and bright smiles, but seeing the Lee Jun Ki deep in thought while reading his books was quite the sight. The father-student relationship was very convincing thanks to Lee Jun Ki and Lee Mun Shik (actor who played the father). Although it was a little hard focusing on Lee Jun Ki (since Lee Mun Shik portrayed the father so well it was hard to pay attention to anything else), he was always there, in the corner of your eye, and not only the father, but Seung Suk too, grew to be a better person.

How Lee Jun Ki managed to hide his smile for all those scenes in order to portray a serious character, I have no idea. But it paid off. Fantastic movie. 

VIRGIN SNOW- Outgoing foreigner Kim Min snow/snow19np8.jpg

"No. I don't want to touch that poop stuff." ~Kim Min
Kim Min is a Korean exchange student studying in Japan with his father when he meets THE girl. Yes, the girl that brings the cascade of romance and happiness into his life. Kim Min shows that he is very capable of a foreign romance, and the language barrier just serves to enhance the overall cuteness of this drama. You can't make it too far in a foreign land without risking your face, and Kim Min ends up in embarrassing situations more than once while chasing his love. 

Once again, you see Lee Jun Ki as a stereotypical happy go lucky dude. He's outgoing and cheerful, and has no problem expressing his feelings. He tends to speed headfirst into relationships, but thankfully, it didn't turn out too badly for him. It is a sweet drama, and Lee Jun Ki is a sweet guy. However, like almost every other drama out there, there are misunderstandings that lead to unfortunate circumstances for the two of them. I can't say any more without spoilers, so go and see for yourself!

But if you're an action nerd like me... it might be hard to sit through the entire movie. It was for me.

MAY 18- Playful and innocent little brother Kang Jin Woo

"If anything like that happened to you... I would get revenge." ~Kang Jin Woo
This movie reminded me of why I never watched war movies. Because they are depressing as heck. The first war movie I watched was 71: Into the Fire. I think that was the closest to crying over a character I've ever experienced. The second war movie... was this one.
Innocent. I couldn't see Kang Jin Woo as anything else. Between him and his brother, there was the cliche sibling bond-- sibling rivalry, but also a brotherly bond strong enough to withstand anything... Anything? Kang Jin Woo was indeed very loveable. He was willing to do anything to protect not only the ones he loved, but also the ones who needed saving. He was just another innocent civilian who was caught in the middle of the GwangJu massacre. The fact that this is based on a true story makes it that much more depressing to watch. A movie is one thing, but watching that movie and realizing that the same events actually occurred sometime in history... that's an altogether different story.

I couldn't help but fall in love with this character. His inextinguishable spirit and contagious laughter were very enjoyable moments in the midst of drama addictions. But all good moments come to pass...

And now to end off with a soon-to-air drama that is already fairly popular around the web...

TWO WEEKS- Two words. Protective father. Jang Tae-San
Yeah... no. I can't really imagine him as being the father-like character... 

Which is why I'm SHAKING WITH EXCITEMENT to see what Lee Jun Ki can pull off this time! At first, I was really excited for Lee Jun Ki's new drama, but after reading the plot, I wasn't sure how long I could stay interested... I mean, it sounded like a modern version of Heaven's Order, which I couldn't finish (or at least, I haven't finished it yet). However, the trailer alone was enough to convince me otherwise. Why? It seems Lee Jun Ki has decided to star in another action/thriller. "Intense" is what I would use to describe the trailer. All I wish for is that the actual drama will be just as good. Just as action-packed. Especially since I need to get out of a slump set on by "I hear your voice" and "Cruel City".

Curiosity spiked? Short teaser vvv

Be on the lookout for Two Weeks, airing on August 7th.

Half of the reason I started stalking Lee Jun Ki was because of him. His acting skills and his pretty-boy face. The other half was because of the roles he took on. When I watched Iljimae, it was the perfect drama to pull me out of the drama slump I was in. Even before the first episode was over, I already decided that he was going to be my next stalking target, and I wasn't disappointed, as he led me to the great dramas/movies seen above. Every time I see him, I can't help but smile because I think of Yong in Iljimae. That sort of cheerful attitude and high spirit is sometimes exactly what I need when I'm in one of my "moods". 

What are YOUR favourite roles that Lee Jun Ki has taken on?

I'm curious as to which roles YOU thought Lee Jun Ki played best, and which ones he couldn't really pull off (if there are any).

The fearsome thing that all fans of any male actor watches out for... Mandatory military service. No need to worry here, because Lee Jun Ki has already completed his military service as of February 16, 2012. So he's all free to star in more dramas and movies in the years  to come.

Along with acting, Lee Jun Ki has also released four albums (the most recent one being released January of this year), and has also guest starred on a few variety shows and reality shows. He has also held fan meetings and fan concerts, but... well... it's hard attending those events when you're thousands of miles away Q-Q

Thanks for taking the time to read this long article~ ^^ 

Good morning and have a nice day~ ^^ (it's 2am over here at the time of submission)

If there is an actor or an actress that is worthy of a Stalker's Guide in your opinion, and you have watched enough dramas of his/hers to prove it, please contact Elisabetta about it.