The concept of the drama was based on Insurance crime and for those who don't know much about it, it might as well be a little complicated to follow. The scenes where all the schemes and cases were explained were dialogue heavy with some technical terms and for watchers who want their shows easy to digest, it could be a bit of a problem.
That's not the case with me though. I don't like my dramas to hand me everything on a platter. I want to be able to think about the events taking place and then have this lightbulb moment of 'Oh, so this was what happened.' I like it when a show makes me replay some scenes to catch a dialogue I missed because this means that I care and a drama has to be good if it makes me care.
I'm not gonna say Mad Dog was perfect. It had some flaws here and there, some plot-holes, some illogical things but when you looked at it as a bigger picture you saw that actually yes, this could've happened in real life too. It wasn't far-fetched from reality and you realized that the plot was indeed very well-connected and backed up by smart characters with brilliant planning who were always trying to one-up each other.
While the show started off slow, focusing more on introducing all the characters and their dilemmas, once it hit the 9th episode mark- it skyrocketed and the real action came out in play.
However, the strength of the show wasn't its plot, rather it was the character development. This was a story about how a team (Mad Dog) of lovable individuals each with their own unique talents joined hands with a lone wolf, scam artist (Kim Min Joon) and how together they grew into one tight knit group that was closer than family.
Every role was beautifully constructed and the moment I felt that a character wasn't getting much attention, the script changed its course and swallowed down all my complaints. Besides our amazing team, there were some very endearing side characters (Nurse Sem and Manager Park) along with intriguing and well-portrayed antagonists that helped the show retain its charisma.
Yoo Ji Tae is an actor that emotes with his eyes and Mr. Choi with his vengeful looks and determined actions gave me so much life, especially because YJT's acting was exceptionally brilliant towards the end. Jo Jae Yun (my all time favorite supporting actor) once again brought forth a memorable character. Cheetah shi was so cute with his matchmaking skills, a softie heart and the gangster ways. Kim Hye Sung with his adorable Pentium; a genius and kind-hearted boy, stole many hearts and Ryu Hwa Young gave life to the badass, headstrong but caring Jang Ha Ri that you couldn't help but adore.
But, despite the presence of the more experienced and brilliant cast members, Woo Do Hwan once again snatched all the spotlights. He should honestly be named 'show-stealer' because whenever he takes a role he owns it so completely that other people are given a deadly run for their money.
Try as I might, I couldn't believe this was just the second show he's starred in because he's just too fucking good. He's the kind of artist, I can imagine in every possible role because of his humongous talent and versatile personality. Without bias, I can say that despite being a newbie he's one of the best actors in dramaworld. I love the way he walks, his charming quirks, his beautiful smile and his amazing voice. (Now, is where the bias is speaking.)
So there was no surprise in the fact that Woo Do Hwan's Kim Min Joo slayed me completely and then went for more. Kim Min Joo with his German adlibs, sneaky personality and fearless swag was truly one of a kind. He was incredibily smart with a talent in annoying people to death. He loved pulling everyone's leg, all the while calmly laughing while doing so. He was a bit arrogant, definitely not one to mess with but ultimately, a huge sweetheart. I loved how realistic his character was. He didn't develop magical super powers when people came to kill him (and they came a lot) nope, he innocently got beaten every time instead, was a huge scaredy cat and couldn't even throw a punch properly. And I loved that. The highlight of the show was seeing him warm up to other people and letting go of his trust issues and finally being given a family that he could rely upon.
The dynamics within the Mad Dog team (Kim Min Joon included) were simply everything. The way they had each other's back was extremely heart touching. These people had so much love for each other that at one point, I was shipping every-one with everyone. I loved their little missions, their secretive and conspiring shared glances, their smart strategies and their protectiveness of one another, so much.
And last but not the least: The romance. Even though it was done as a sub-plot only, it was so so good. Kim Min Joon and Jang Ha Ri were a match made in heaven. The small moments they had with each other were so incredibily sweet and their chemistry was fire. The minor touch of romance in this show was far well-done than some of the wholesome love stories I have seen. I think I've never wished for a kiss scene before in my entire life. But ah, we can't have it all now can we?
While Mad Dog did have some great 'Oh shit, what's going to happen next' scenes, it wasn't a show centered on 'the bext big thing'. The beauty of the show was in the small, intimate moments between the characters, the way they grew on each other and the way they evolved together and as individuals.
If you let it, Mad Dog will make you feel. It will touch your heart deeply and make you feel joy, sadness and love. So much love.
I really enjoyed the OST of the show. From NiiHwa's popping and catchy track to Eric Nam's soulful ballad- the sound track did great things for the mood of the drama.
I loved the cast and their antics, so much so, that I really didn't have the heart to let them go till the very end. Although the ending was a little bit rushed, it left me with a wide smile and some heartfelt happy tears.
So while Mad Dog might not be everybody's cup of tea, it was a steaming mug of delicious cappuccino for me.
Definitely one of the better shows of 2017 and one I surely recommend.
Was this review helpful to you?
Let me count them down with you:
1)Corrupt people in power who have successfully fooled the public into believing that they are good.
2)Our underdog hero and heroine who have a tragic past caused by the above mentioned corrupt people in power.
3)Our hero and heroine having coincidentally linked childhood history of some sorts.
4)An abundance of convenient plot-devices and complications that happen just for the sake of happening.
6)Our hero having magical powers that makes him have an IQ of 269, ninja fighting skills and a slightly whacked emotional quotient.
Yeah in 9/10 K-crime/law dramas this will happen. I bet my left tit on it. So if you are going to wear your granny glasses and make these the basis of judging what is original and what is not- you might as well save yourself the hassle and stop watching these altogether because by these standards you’re never going to find a drama that is “original”. Even if you do find one that seems different on the surface, I assure you it too will have a lot of typicalities in its core. And I say this in the nicest way possible ‘cause been there and done that.
So you ask me, Jeana, if they all tell more or less the same story what’s the point in watching? So glad you asked. The thing is, while the story may not be entirely never-before seen; the characters that tell the story and the way they tell it, is. And that makes all the difference.
Lawless Lawyer, in its core is also a typical crime/law drama and it has all those tropes I just mentioned above. However, the reason why it’s a must-watch is because it fulfills the goal all dramas strive to achieve: entertainment. And ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you this: LL is entertaining as fucking hell. It has moments that will have you cracking up, moments that will have you hold your breath in suspense even when you can already predict what’s going to happen and moments where your heart will fill with pride because of the characters you will surely come to love.
I’ve been eyeing Lee Joon Gi ever since I saw him single handedly carry the clusterfuck that was Scarlet Heart Ryeo on his beautiful broad shoulders. His acting chops are no joke. You bring him on the screen for two minutes and he’ll show you he isn’t playing. You know how we say that “some actors just emote with their eyes”? Yeah well, LJG emotes with the very flex of his jaw, the flick of his eyebrow, the tilt of his head- you name the part and the man will show you how to act with it. Simply put, he is brilliant. Which is why it’s literally a surprise to nobody that Bong Sang Pil is an extremely enigmatic character with madness in his eyes and gold in his heart. It was a joy to watch him and by the end of 16 episodes I was mighty fond of him.
Holding her own alongside LJG was our beautiful and talented Seo Ye Ji who first impressed me in Save Me and now won me over in LL. Her character had a solid backbone and she wasn’t afraid to show it. I usually have a bone to pick with beautiful actors -both male and female- because they rely heavily on their looks and decide to model their way through the episodes. Even when they are talented, you can see them take it easy and just roll through. I hate that and even my superficial tendency to fawn at pretty faces, masculine abs and collar bones isn’t enough to stop me from giving the drama a big fat 4 if I felt like the actor relied more on looks than putting in work. Here however, both LJG and Seo Ji perfectly embodied their characters and did their job despite being two very gorgeous people and that just made watching them extra sweet.
Some people say that a show is only as good as its antagonists and worry not my folks because the villains here are also an absolute delight. I have loved Choi Min Soo since his supporting role in Warrior Baek Dong Soo where he stole all the spotlights from his younger and more popular co-stars. Some people think that he tries hard or exaggerates with his roles but I disagree. I feel like he always brings these unique characters to life whose actions you both love and hate. He was an excellent villain in Lawless Lawyer and his Ahn Oh Joo- a greedy, ruthless and power hungry goon made me enjoy every second he was on-screen.
Next up on the antagonist list is Nam Soon Jo who with her over-the-top screaming and deliberately evil expressions never failed to amuse me and then finally, last but definitely not the least- we’ve got Cha Moon Sook played by Lee Hye Young. The evil mastermind and the woman on top of the food chain. She was as cold as they come. As sophisticated as she was cruel and I loved every scene she was in.
Lawless Lawyer was a very enjoyable ride from start to finish. There were many endearing supporting characters and some side roles and cameos by older actors who I adore. The music wasn’t too extraordinary but it was well-placed throughout the episodes. There wasn’t too much of a love story either; as a lot of potentially good chemistry between our leads was left unexplored but I’m not complaining because there were some good kisses and cute moments and I don’t ask for much in a drama which has romance as a sub-plot only. Other than that, I’d say LL had basically a bit of everything- love, laughter, kickass action scenes, suspense and emotion and so baby, I was a happy camper.
Yes, there were things that could be better. Some scenes could have developed more properly, some events more fleshed out. The ending more nicely executed but you know what? This show got me out of a three month slump. Before this I kept dropping shows half-way through or near the end ‘cause I just lost interest but with Lawless Lawyer I was compelled to watch episode after episode and I just didn’t want it to end.
So be brave, give it a shot and delve a little in the land of the lawless. ;)
Was this review helpful to you?
This review may contain spoilers*Before I begin the review, I have sincere advice for anybody who hasn't started watching the show: Do not read the plot description of Princess Agents on Dramalist. Not only is it filled to the brim with spoilers, it also reveals things that the watcher should definitely not be aware of going into the show. They have copied the synopsis from Wikipedia which is highly misleading and so, in order to fully enjoy the show you need to forget about it.*
Princess Agents has most definitely been my favorite drama of 2017. I have been waiting for a long time to write this review and many a times I almost gave into the urge to gush about it to everyone but unlike some impatient little boogers, I decided to wait for the drama to completely air first. I'm glad I did.
Even though, Princess Agent's story remained interesting from start to finish, it was the cast and characters that were the essence of the show.
Everyone who knows me, knows that I for one have a lot of love for my lady badasses and Chu Qiao was the definition of a badass. She was brilliant, witty, an excellent fighter, loyal to the bone and fully determined in her beliefs. Nobody could boss her around and she always stuck to what she thought was right. Watching Zhao Zanilia on-screen has always been a pleasure. She's such a versatile actress and her effortless elegance along with her sincere charisma never fails to make her acting seem extremely natural. I loved Chu Qiao so much and her fighting scenes always blessed me with these unexpected bursts of adrenaline rush that left me jumping around in excitement.
One thing I absolutely hate in Chinese dramas are the robotic and emotionless male leads that are perfect in every way and while, YuWen Yue started off as being cold and aloof, he soon began to win hearts with his unadulterated devotion towards our girl. He's someone who's not afraid to express his honest feelings and show his vulnerable side and that is what made him so endearing. Lin Geng Xin put out the acting of his life and was able to easily deliver YWY's innermost emotions without having to do much. The chemistry between Chu Qiao and YWY was simply electric.
Princess Agents was Kung Fu made sexy and these two characters communicated their every feeling with it. Every time these two were in a room together the temperature rose a few considerable degrees until everything felt hotter and a lot more sensual.
However, even though I was wholeheartedly rooting for YuWen Yue, my love for Yan Xun wasn't insignificant in any way. Dou Shawn brought to life, with his stunning acting, an unforgettable character. His transition from a reckless, know-no-better, kind-hearted prince to a cruel and blinded by vengeance duke was heart breaking. No matter what he did, it was so hard to truly hate Yan Xun because he was a man shaped by the scars of his life; someone slowly losing grasp of the humanity that defined him and it was all just such a shame. With his sharp eyes and an even sharper jawline Yan Xun slayed the hearts of the viewers without even trying.
Normally, I despise love triangles. Primarily because I'm almost always more inclined towards one of the male leads and then all the romantic scenes with the other just piss me off. However, deciding between Yan Xun and Yuwen Yue was such a hard thing to do because they were both fully committed towards their love for Chu Qiao. Whenever my heart was cheering one of them on, there came fluttering a scene with the other man that melted by insides. Chu Qiao had significant history and a strong bond with both of them and by the end of the show, I was almost praying for YX to mess up in some way so she could go to YWY.
Another actress whose work needs to be commended is Li Qin. She played the role of the extremely annoying, holier than thou, too stupid to live princess and played it in such a way that she was still tolerable till the end. Chun'er, time and time again made me want to bang my head with the wall. Not only was she extremely naive and selfish, she always ended up making a tragedy out of herself. She had everybody bend over backwards to save her worthless ass from her own mistakes and then she chose to blame others for her failures. All of her schemes always failed and it ended in her being utterly humiliated. So it was only because of the brilliant acting that by the end of the show the watchers still harbored some sympathy for her. Li Qin is undeniably talented and her portrayal of some scenes often left me open mouthed.
Backed by stunning visuals, a hauntingly good soundtrack and a gripping plot-line, Princess Agents was a treat throughout. It had me waking up at 7 am every morning because I wanted to see the new episode as soon as the subs were released. It had me watching entire episodes in raw form just because I was too impatient to know what happened next and it had me wishing away my weekends because I had no episode to look forward to then.
All in all, this review clearly shows how much I loved this drama so you must be wondering why then, did I not give it a solid 10? That is where we address the elephant in the room. Up until most of the show, I was willing to give it a 10 without a second thought and then came the outrageous ending.
The drama ends with the worst cliff hanger in Asian Drama history with absolutely nothing resolved. It's like the thing that you've been looking forward to throughout 67 episodes finally appears and when everything is at its peak, the show ends and your celebratory moment is snatched away from you. However, it would've been all okay if a second season with the same cast had been confirmed. Then this horribly disappointing finale would've been converted to a powerful episode that filled one with anticipation for the next season but that is not the case. The news for the second season is muddy at best and there's a high chance that the actors for the show will be changed out.
That is what makes millions of viewers so angry and devastated because this seems like a huge injustice. A disrespect to the drama, the actors who worked their ass off and the viewers who had been wholly attached to the story. What we wanted was closure but instead it was like we were handed the short end of the stick. The last few episodes were filled with unnecessary filler trash and the writers cramped everything into the finale, shoved all of it under a rug and dusted their hands with it.
This is the reason why this show could have been something phenomenal but ended up having its head cut off due to poorly planned decisions made on the behalf of the Princess Agent's team. Just like in the show the foul actions of an insecure King ruined the lives of many, the reckless actions of the drama creators eradicated many hopes.
I myself felt betrayed. The ending was like a personal offense and all the hours invested into the drama suddenly felt wasted. In that moment I wanted to give it a 4/10 rating out of rage, which is why I completely understand the low reviews and the hate comments. Once you see the ending, slowly you start to judge the entire show and downplay everything about it. All the things that seemed so great before, start to leave a sour taste in the mouth. However while I understand it, doesn't mean I would do the same myself because even if I had known beforehand the way it was going to end, I would have still chosen to watch the show. Because upon further thinking I realized that for me being on this journey with these amazing characters and creating a bond with all of them, alone was a great experience and discrediting the whole show just because of the ending seemed unfair.
So if you're considering watching it, don't dread the result rather enjoy the process.
Was this review helpful to you?
If you’ve read the real history of Prince Sado, you would know that he was a horrible monster of a man. The tales are filled with his brutality. He’s one of the most controversial figures in history. A man so scarred by his father that he lost his mind along with his humanity. But this film is not about the atrocities he commited. It’s about what made him that way. What turned a bright, warm-hearted and full of life man into a madman starved of affection, who wreaked havoc wherever he went. It’s an entirely different interpretation and considerably more heart breaking. For this movie, do away with all your past knowledge of history and shatter all the preconceived notions. Because if you let it, it will move you to an extent you didn’t know was possible.
Kings cannot be fathers. Sado is essentially a story about how a King driven by his own fears and inferiority complex, destroys his son’s life. It’s about a filial son who could never win his father’s favor no matter the extent of loyalty and affection he showed. It’s about little sacrifices and huge betrayals. But most of all, it’s about how love holds no meaning when there is no understanding.
This film isn’t an easy watch. The emotional and physical abuse of such a pure--hearted man breaks your soul. There are a lot of gray areas. No concrete villains or heroes. No absolute goodness or evil. Even when you want to detest some characters, you can’t. Because the tragedy of it all is just too great.
The moment I started this film, I knew I won’t be coming out unscathed. I had a tight ball of dread firmly lodged in the back of my throat and as I continued watching, that ball quickly transformed into liquid misery and came running down my cheeks. As soon as I wiped my tears, they were replaced by more. So much so, that I just stopped wiping them at all. Halfway through, I could literally feel my cheeks burning. And my heart? I felt as if there were a thousand hammers crushing it to dust.
The funny thing is, I didn’t even watch this in one go. During one of the most intense scenes of the film, something urgent came up and unfortunately I had to put a stop to it. The only time I had, to pick it back up was an hour before I had to go somewhere. I was dressed up and had my makeup on. Only 30 minutes of the film was left and because so much time had passed since I first started watching it, I thought “oh well, now the tempo is broken, I won’t be as affected anymore. Let’s get done with it and lay my curiosity to bed”. I was wrong of course, because the moment I pressed play I was back in that horrible world- as if no time had passed at all.
I remember just staring at the screen for at least 5 minutes even after the ending credits had rolled and needless to say, my makeup was a mess. I had to do it all over again.
I know that this is an acquired taste. Nobody likes too much sad shit- excessive sobbing and you lose the emotional appeal entirely. But the thing with Sado is, even when it is over the top, it somehow feels justified and doesn’t fail to pack jarring punches one after the other. It’s disturbing and yet, simple in its execution.
After this movie was released, people invented the term “ Yoo Ah In Shi Dae” which means “Time of Yoo Ah In” or “Yoo Ah In’s Golden Age” and I honestly cannot refute it. There are no words, no expressions in which I can describe the brilliance that was his acting. This, in my opinion, is his best work ever. You can see him go the extra mile and portray an extremely controversial character in such a heart-wrenchingly sincere way that it makes you weep.
The rest of the cast hold their own. They are all spectacular. The women, The King and especially the child actors.
It’s been 11 months since I last gave out a ten rating. Usually, when I rate something I deliberate a lot about it but surprisingly whenever I give out my 10’s, I don’t think or fuss at all. It’s always spontaneous and absolute. I know there could be flaws but my heart completely overcomes any critical thinking I could have done and I have no regrets.
The soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful, both manic and melancholic; perfectly embodying the Prince’s life. The fusion of past and present is impeccably done. The movie caters to small details, for example: the resemblance between the the actors playing the past and present of a character is remarkable, thus increasing authenticity.
I will re-watch this. There’s no doubt about that, but only when I’m feeling particularly masochistic.
Watch this if you want to experience the cream of Korean Cinema.
Was this review helpful to you?
I haven’t seen this much heart in a drama before. It’s beautiful and melancholic. Serene and hopeful. And ultimately: very important.
The drama has a reputation for being an easy, fluffy, heartwarming watch however that’s just one element of it. Prison playbook, in its core is a show about a couple of men in a bad place, who’ve done bad things but have good hearts. It’s about finding purity in the most unfortunate circumstances and seeking warmth in a cold, hopeless time.
There are some hauntingly dark and jarring moments but the beauty of the show is such that it overcomes its darkness with a good dose of laughter and love. There will be times when you have to pause the screen to let out a jolly good cackle and times when you can’t stop the tears because you’re so overcome by feeling.
All the characters are fully baked and beautifully developed, so much so, that you’ll find yourself forming a personal connection with each and every one of them. The story flows smoothly with "almost" no plot-holes and the writing is exceptional, giving attention to detail and a tight plot. Each episode plays with a range of emotions with never a boring moment. It’s far from a tension drama and develops very slowly, yet it managed to hook me in a way that I binged it as fast as I would do any crime-thriller.
The OST is perfect. The screenplay is immaculate. The acting is top-notch. Kim Hae Soo plays one of the best male leads in a drama in a way so natural and effortless that you can’t help but adore him.
The drama gives birth to one of the most iconic bromances in K-Drama history. There’s real brotherhood and friendship here. The relationships between characters are incredibly fleshed out and the side of romance is also well-done.
So over-all, Prison Playbook is an excellent show. The only reason I didn’t give it a perfect score was because I had mixed feelings about the last couple of episodes. The fact that some of the characters that I had grown very attached to were given a somewhat realistic but quite unsatisfactory and abrupt open end, while other characters were given an almost ideal personality change and happy ending made me raise eyebrows. This contradiction made me wish that there was an additional episode that gave much needed closure to some aspects of the show and closed the story cleanly. However, in the grand scheme of things this could easily be overlooked.
Filled with sugar, spice and life- Prison Playbook is definitely one of the best dramas out there.
Was this review helpful to you?
Then, somewhere in between Just Between Lovers took a turn down the typical K-Drama alley. It became overly melodramatic and sappy. In order to create a tragic hero, they piled every problem possible in the world on his beautiful shoulders and there was only so much I could buy before I started giving it the side-eye. Physical health problems gave precedence to mental. I won’t say that it romanticized mental illness but it did gloss over it all. PTSD does not randomly vanish like this.
However, despite all this, one thing that was very clear to me at the end of it all was how much I enjoyed this show throughout. I was even more relieved than disappointed because of all the tropes it chose to follow because they provided the much needed escapism we look for in dramas. Even though, it dealt with heavy issues it didn’t drown in it. There was always a comedic gesture, a heartwarming moment and a swoon-worthy interaction between the leads to balance things out.
I think this drama had one of the best K-Drama romances ever. This was exactly the kind of relationship I fall for. It was a beautiful slow burn, where two people grow individually and together. They go through obstacles, they have their highs and lows and they become stronger through them- both in harmony and independently. And, it was all absolutely beautiful to watch. I’ve never been this starved for skinship between the leads and when it finally happened, it was so sweet and intimate that it was worth the wait.
Both the main leads were very dear to me. Gang Doo was simply an angel. I don’t think people like him exist in this world anymore but it would be a huge relief if they did. Moon Soo, even though some of her actions at the end were questionable was undeniably a sweetheart. There were some side characters I was lowkey annoyed with (Think: Second Male Lead, Second Female lead (though she had her moments) and the female lead’s parents) because of how much they victimized themselves even when other people had it far worse. But at the same time, I also adored a lot of other characters. Like basically everyone related to Gang Doo; his grandmother, his Doona, his brother figure and his team leader. You know what they say, good people are surrounded by good people.
As far as the acting goes, I won’t say it was exceptionally outstanding or that I was floored by it. Their inexperience and freshness shined through however, this worked out in their favor. Because the way the two portrayed their characters was so sincere and natural that it didn’t fail to capture the audience and touch hearts.
One of the best things about the show is the OST. I really recommend watching this show in a print that has the songs subbed while they play in the background. The lyrics are so meaningful to the plot and the play timing is perfect. So when you know what the songs are saying at a particular moment, it gives all the more depth and insight to the story. And it’s simply gorgeous.
So ultimately, Just Between Lovers is a show about healing, friendship, love, serenity and brilliant dialogues. Even though it develops slowly and maximizes emotion, it’s never boring. There are some tears here and there but with that comes so much more hope and so much more warmth.
Was this review helpful to you?
It was one of my highest anticipated dramas of 2017 and I was expecting that first episode in and I'd be ready to give it a solid 10. However, as I watched the series, one by one all my hopes came crashing down.
The drama's worst flaw was its lack of an original plot. The fact that it was extremely badly written with a truck load of plot-holes and stroppy pacing, didn't help the case. From the first episode to the last, I guessed everything that was going to happen. It was such cliché, same old bs that at one point, I was even correctly predicting the character's dialogues before they spoke them. I saw plot-twists coming from miles ahead. I knew exactly what the main leads were going to do and how they were going to do it. Trust me, it ain't a nice feeling when you're ten steps ahead of your main leads.
Some people say that a show is only as good as its antagonists and that is one another point where Witch Court loses out on. From the daily episodic rapists to the main antagonist, all the villains were less than mediocre and slight variations of one another. It's like they were trying way too hard to be evil but unfortunately, ended up being cheesy instead.
You know how when kids do something bad, like steal a cookie and you ask them about it and they're all innocent smiles to your face but the moment you turn your back, they start smirking mischievously, triumphant that they managed to ''fool'' you? That's exactly how the bad guys were in this show.
The cringey smiles and 'evil laughs' they gave behind our main lead's back just added to their extra personalities and not in a good way. I mean how many times before have we seen a story about a corrupt Mayor in power being the villain, acting all nice and kind infront of the camera? Too many times to count. Bring me something new, please.
All the side characters were poorly constructed, barely making any contribution to the plot.
At first, I was very intrigued by our male lead. He seemed like a breath of fresh air, unlike the typical macho alpha assholes. He was supposed to be this smart, gentlemanly guy who actually gave our heroine the upperhand. How amazing, right? Not really.
Even though he is made out to be different from all the other drama male leads, the show still shoves him into the 'cool tall neighborhood oppa' stereotype. I'm always amazed when everyday prosecutors adopt ninja fighting skills out of nowhere. But those things were the least of his problems, because as the show progressed he became increasingly annoying. I love my upright handsome guys who're adamant to uphold the law but, Prosecutor Yeo was just all talk and no show. He had the classic 'dumb but heroic' vibe throughout. Way too self-righteous and equipped with dramatic declarations, he didn't do any of the actual work and soon became a pain in the ass I could really do without.
Even though the show is tagged 'romance' there was nothing of that sort here. The main couple had no chemistry and they just seemed like regular colleagues on good terms.
Surprisingly, the show did its flashbacks fairly well but like I mentioned before, the pacing was shit. Things that needed to be drawn out and be dramatic were so anti-climactic and things that needed to be rushed on were dragged out.
Some things that happened were so questionable because they were far out of the sphere of logic. Most of the times, our prosecutors won the cases because of convenient plot devices instead of actual smarts.
So seeing all these flaws, it's quite just that I rate it low right? But why then, does it pain me so much to do so? Well the answer is: Ma Yi Deum.
The heroine of this show was undeniably the saving grace. She was the only thing unique about the otherwise run-of-the-mill drama. Watching her antics was absolute bliss. Jung Ryeo Won brought forth a character that was extremely real and relatable. Often, I felt like she was my soul sister considering how many similarities I had with her. This is also why she was so easy to connect with.
I loved the fact that she went through life staying true to herself and not giving a fuck about what people thought. Even though, at times, she acted like she was all over the place, in reality she was a very composed and strong woman. Her face remained impassive in the worst of situations and she always had some clever tricks up her sleeve. Her bright smile, dark red lipstick and bad hair cases gave me so much life.
She was the one making the show, for every second she went off-screen the show turned utterly boring. Ma Yi Deum was so lovable and a character that I'll always remember. This is the reason why, even though I have a lot of problems with this show I still reccomend it so that other people can witness Prosecutor Ma's quirky weirdness and like me, be thoroughly entertained by it too.
The fact that the show revolved around rape cases is something I found to be commendable. Rape is a taboo topic and people often hesitate talking about it so openly and this show (while not perfectly) still managed to bring some fairly brutal cases on the forefront and that effort needs to be acknowledged.
The OST doesn't really stand out but the instrumental that plays at Ma Yi Deum's badass moments was really good.
I hope who ever reads this considers this review a good thing, instead of being let down because this will lower your expectations and then when you do end up watching the show you'll be pleasantly surprised.
While this is not a drama you can go in with the thought that your high hopes will be met, it is definitely a good time-pass.
Was this review helpful to you?
This drama is a total hypocrite. It tells one thing and shows something entirely different. Supposedly, it tells the viewers that it's against patriarchy with the 'girls can be great at computer science too' bullshit. It preaches 'brains over beauty' and all that spirtual crap however, it 'shows' an entirely different story; for this drama, in its core is wholly patriarchal. The main heroine only truly gets acclaimed for her beauty and even though she is supposed to be this smart person with a trillion scholarships, we don't really see proof of her intellect. Sure, she wins a few games against other weak ass females but the moment she goes against a powerful male opponent, she loses which is why her MegaGenius boyfriend has to sit by her and dictate all the moves and only then, she claims victory. Like okay?
The male character is honestly, so fucking overhyped and again, if we really try to find the heroine's contribution to the plot, you'll find none. She is supposed to be this brilliant computer junky and yet, when she does the internship (in a company filled with men) her sole job is to bring food, drinks and matresses to the guys who work day and night. Like??
So even though, on surface it looks like this unique drama with a never before seen plot, in its core, it is still filled to the brim with superficiality.
Now, lets talk about the cast and characters. The main guy is literally a robot. Like, the kid has no emotional depth whatsoever and so clearly the actor didn't have to tire himself by actually acting because all his role requires is to be a pretty but expressionless face. To make matters worse, he's a chauvinistic asshole. And not in the 'bad boy' way, where you love and hate them, no, in his case you're just annoyed by him. He is literally so perfect and the only flaw he has is the fact that he can't cook. I mean, come on.
To be honest, between his extra hairy armpits, pre-pubescent face and red ears, he isn't really much. Also, what irked me is the fact that he treats his girlfriend like a pet (dog). (No kidding, she actually herself makes the comparison once.) And he's full of himself, sadly, without much basis.
Like the girl is having a fight with her best friend and instead of really consoling her or saying some meaningful shit the bastard says, "She's a very small part of your life, while I'm your everything. From now on, you're not allowed to shed tears for anyone else." Now this is the exact fucking quote, no lie and the braindead heroine actually feels comforted by this. Deceased.
I mean don't get me wrong, I love his type; the cold, uncaring, perfectionist asshole who eventually thaws towards the heroine. We have Simon Bo, Kang Ma Roo and even Baek Sung Jo (tho one could argue on Kim Hyun Joong's acting skills) but all these characters have different sides to them and they show complex personalities, Nai is the same from beginning to end and I can't believe I'd tolerate a lifeless and boring as hell person like him in real life.
Now, the heroine: Sure, she's cute, quirky and very gorgeous and unfortunately, the only one acting in the show. But soon, you realize that she's recycling her facial expressions, so much that her acting becomes quite monotonous after a while.
Speaking of monotonous, the whole show is dead as fuck. Here are so irrelevant scenes that you just stare at the screen trying to comprehend why the fuck are you being shown this unnecessary shit. The game scenes are depthless. The fighting scenes lack vigor. And I wanted to bang my head against a cactus, everytime the heroine interacted with her friends because all they did was act like juvenile brats and gushed about the main guy. I mean, you guys are supposed to be these tech savvy college students, the least you can do is show an ounce of maturity, but no. Too much to fucking ask.
Furthermore, I think I froze because of all that ice between the couple, tbh. There is no heat or chemistry whatsoever and they remain awkward and detached throughout. The affection seems forced and their union wasn't natural at all. Atleast the guy has one quality; he's an excellent kisser but the girl literally stands like a dead fish in response. No, even a dead fish has some sort of pucker going on, this bitch just has her lips in a straight line and proudly shows that kissing her is akin to that of kissing a cardboard box.
For me, romance or basically any sort of relationship can only thrive and grow stronger if two people go through complications and get out of it together. Or if, they do selfless and thoughtful things for each other, no matter how small. Here, everything is rainbow and joy- literally no problems at all- and the best things the characters do for each other is treat each other to meals. That's all. Which is why their relationship is so flat, unrealistic and plagued by stangnancy throughout the show. Tsk, tsk.
The only thing fairly enjoyable was the actions of the hero's friends. Those three made me laugh a bit from their silly antics but that's about it.
Rewatch value? This shit doesn't even have 'watch it once' value. The drama truly highlights that people will always be attracted to surface beauty no matter how much substance it lacks. This is an absolute fail and I only recommend it for people who want mindless fanservice and zero plot.
Was this review helpful to you?
This review may contain spoilersGenerally speaking, I usually have the opposite effect for over-hyped things. The more hype a thing has, the more likely it is for me to not like it. I went into watching Eternal Love with low expectations and as I had predicted at the time, I didn't find it too extra ordinary in the beginning.
Eternal Love is comprised of the following three stages:
This is when Yang Mi plays Si Yin and we are mostly being introduced to the characters. Ye Hua and Su Su meet up. It sets the pace of the story. This part doesn't have any wow factors, rather it provides an undercurrent of mild amusement. At this point you're not completely invested in the story but you also cannot let it go.
Now this part was just plain torturous. This constructs the build up towards the main plot. It showcases Su Su's and Ye Hua's love and all the hardships she had to face as a mortal. Even though their sweet moments were heart warming, over-all this is literally the deadest portion of the show. It's not exactly the shows fault, rather the sypnosis's. We already know that SuSu is going to go blind and kill herself and honestly, I just felt like only after that, the true story would kick in which is why I had to fast forward some scenes because the whole wait did get, frankly, very boring. I understood that it was necessary for the character development and it provided a strong basis for the story to continue but that didn't mean that I found the drag-on particularly enjoyable. But since my intuition said that the light at the end of the tunnel would be very bright, I persevered.
And this is when the show sky rockets to its summit. I think Episode 30 was by far the best episode made. From here onwards there are so many emotions; one great scene followed by another and suddenly I went from being half-heartedly interested to full on obsessed.
Damn, I think I have a little bit of a crush on Yang Mi. She's such an absolute star to be honest. She portrayed her different personalities excellently. From the youthful and mischievous Si Yin, to the kind-hearted and vulnerable SuSu and finally to the boss ass queen Bai Qian; she simply slayed. There is this utter grace with which she speaks and moves that you can't help but be entranced by her. She was the true embodiment of a Queen and a total badass. Her fighting scenes were so empowering and the way she wields that Jade Purity Fan; just dang. She's a woman of power to her core and when Ye Hua forcefully kisses her once, she doesn't just let it be -nuhhun- she bestows him with a five fingered bitch slap 'cause ain't nobody messing with the Queen of Qing Qiu.
Mark was also a very nice surprise. He expressed a multitude of emotions just with his eyes. He didn't have to speak or show rather even the slightest twitch of his face spoke volumes. To be honest, I really fell in love with Ye Hua's character in the later part of the show. He's so selfless and devoted in his affection for Bai Qian that you can't help but root for him. Mark's delivery of Mo Yuan's character was also very impressive. Mo Yuan is a personality that demands respect and he gave him the elegance and majestic aura that was required.
Their chemistry is sizzling hot and both of them compliment each other to the max. I love how their love story transcends all worlds and they're two people destined to be together. I mean towards the end I was so committed to seeing their happy ending that for the first time in my life, I deliberately went to seek out spoilers just so I could have a consolation that everything wouldn't be in vain. Even though the ending is pretty sappy and the consequent events just turn out to be interestingly very very convenient for everybody, I think I wouldn't have opted for less.
The most annoying part of this show probably has to do with everything that was related to the Ghost Realm. Xian nu is literally the world's dumbest villain to ever grace the screens. I mean sure if you gonna be a negative ass bitch, filled to the brim with inferiority complexes, the least you can do is actually have some brains to execute your deviltry, instead she remains pitiful throughout and besides being an annoyance, doesn't amount to much.
Never fear though, because her husband matches her toe to toe as far as stupidity is concerned. Li JIng has a constant "woe-is-me" expression plastered on. He always acts like he is the most tragic person alive and he's constantly throwing pity parties and pining after someone he wronged. Like really bitch, if you gon' whine about how pathetic your life is and how you're suffering so much you should've thought better when you decided to waste your life being a nuisance and cheating on someone you supposedly loved. Smh. I was very thankful when both of these roaches finally ended up dead 'cause they literally belonged with each other in hell.
One of the best things about Eternal Love are the side stories. I had so much love for Dijun and Feng Jiu. Dijun, with his constantly amused face (as if the whole world was a huge joke to him) and Feng Jiu, with her endearing personality and child like tendencies really won me over. This show has so much character development and attention to detail. With excellent emotional delivery and story writing, I think the hype surrounding it is more or less justified.
One thing that I found hilarious was how little Bai Qian truly cared for her son like, ain't nobody got time for that but A-li is legit a ball of adorableness and the few moments they share together are absolute bliss.
Rewatching a 58 episode show is no easy feat so I don't think that I'd be doing that but there are definitely some iconic moments that I have already watched a thousand times over and will continue to revisit.
Was this review helpful to you?
Game Rai Game Rak, like almost all Lakorns comes with its fair share of bullshit. You've got an old Island crone whose eyes turn bright blue everytime she sees the future (which ofcourse is completely irrelevant to the plot), you've got a one-dimensional villain, a nasty insecure bitch of a relative who basically destroys lives left and right but somehow has a change of heart in the last ten minutes of the show, wins everyone over and sets off in the sunset without ever having to pay for her crimes.
You've got a selfless and highly forgiving damsel in distress who's constantly being sexually, physically and mentally harassed by our main lead who misunderstands her because of trusting the lies his worst enemy fed him.
Not the brightest tool in the shed, I tell you.
Ofcourse there is always that one guy who is like a brother to our heroine (however always conveniently having waaay more skinship than normal siblings have) who inspires jealousy and possessiveness in the male lead who then proceeds to humiliate the heroine by calling her a slut and whatnot. We also can't possibly forget the one or two or in this case, three other guys who're interested in the female lead and are so insignificant, they might as well be invisible.
Everything is overdramatic and over the top. Rape gets romanticized like nobody's business. People get shot and catch bullets on the daily. Corny dialogues flow out like bad breath everytime someone opens their mouth. Obnoxious music starts playing every ten minutes; effectively swiping away any sincerity that the show managed to portray. Scenes are constantly repeated and the plot-line soon gets derivative.
In short, it's an honest to God definition of a hot mess.
But then again, nobody watches Lakorns for a solid story, well developed characters or a good plot with lack of loopholes. No, people mostly watch Lakorns because they're the classic guilty pleasures and because they get the chemistry between characters spot-on.
Game Rai Game Ruk is no different, which is why despite everything, I still watched it to the end.
This is the third Thai drama starring Yaya, that I have watched and unsurprisingly she impressed me once again. Her acting is always a 100% genuine and the characters she brings to life are so hard not to love.
Game Rai Game Rak is very very similar to Kleun Cheewit; having an almost identical feel at times, but where Jeerawat was a fierce and fearless woman, Fahlada radiates innocence. She's pure, delicate and basically the classic good girl- all the while, successfully staying far away from the 'kind but dumb' category everybody hates.
However, as adorable as she is, I feel that if you don't like YaYa you might not like Fahlada either. In Kleun Cheewit, I started to love the actress because of the drama and her role in it but in GRGR, I liked the drama only because I loved the actress and if I had seen this drama first I might've never adored Urassaya as much as I do now.
After watching this drama I finally understand why Yaya and Nadech are such a big deal in Thai entertainment industry. Their chemistry is absolutely electric and while I did feel that Nadech has a short emotional range as an actor, I believe this was one of his best roles.
From start to finish, it's impossible to hate Saichon. Even when things get ugly and he acts like an ultimate creep by smelling Fah's hair when she isn't looking, taking pictures of her when she's unaware, spying on her with a telescope, tying her up again and again and degrading her, (there's always the rape and all the other times he makes her cry and do things without her will) the reason you can't hate him is because of their sweet as hell moments in the island and the surety that no matter how rotten he acts he still deeply loves Fahlada.
The ultimate on-his-knees groveling session at the end and the fact that Fahlada hits him quite a lot all the time really does help his case furthur and to be honest, even though I am highly unforgiving of assholes there was never a moment where I didn't root for them to be together.
So all in all, Game Rai Game Rak is the kind of show that you can only watch while being extremely lenient 'cause the moment you start to notice all that is wrong with it, you'll start hating it. While I reccomend this for a good time-pass, personally, I skipped and fastforwarded a lot of scenes because, as the show progresses the episodes begin to be filled with more of the same thing. So even if it is skipped a bit, it won't effect the over-all watching experience.
Your classic bad boy-good girl story that you'll love to hate and hate to love and unfortunately do both by the end.
Was this review helpful to you?
I've never really understood the allure of Lee Min Ho before and admittedly, I sought great enlightenment in that regard with City Hunter, however, 20 episodes in and I'm still lost. It's safe to say that he is the namesake of Korean Entertainment Industry, internationally famous and even No#1 on the most popular list on our beloved MDL but for all that hype, there isn't much basis. To put it bluntly, he really isn't a very good actor. Sure, he's plenty cute but sadly his gorgeous looks can't save his acting from being plagued by redundancy and lack of versatility.
Lee Min Ho is like a bar of undiluted highly sweetened chocolate; eat one and you'll thoroughly enjoy the delectable sugar high but eat too many and it will turn from delicious to downright nauseous real quick. In other words, he's not the type of actor whose shows one can binge-watch because doing so will be akin to subjecting yourself to the monotony of a recycling machine.
For being an almost perfect hero with no flaws, his character "Lee Yoon Sung" is surprisingly not the sharpest knife in the cutlery and even though the writers created him to be very likeable, he is straight up annoying at times. The biggest example of that is probably when somebody close to him gets shot or severely injured in front of him. Instead of calling the ambulance like a normal person would, he absolutely has to act out the whole 15-minute-long over-emotional dramatic scene filled to the brim with hysterics where he clutches the dying person to his chest, looks deep into their eyes, cries tears of heartache and assures them that they will indeed not die, all the while sufficiently increasing their chances of said death.
I mean, how Kim Na Na survives after being shot is still an enigma to me because our dear Yoon Sung did try his level best to cause murder due to excessive blood loss because wallowing in misery and repeatedly asking your girlfriend why she'd take a bullet for him is oh so important than taking her to the nearest hospital. (Of course, he donates blood to her later and saves the day because we can't let our watchers forget who the true hero is, now can we?)
Park Min Young is a cute actress and Kim Na Na is essentially someone that I would really root for. Which is why, obviously, the creators had to abuse her character to the maximum. I mean if you're going to sell me the fact that a woman who can fight off eight thugs when her man is in trouble, walk right into the heart of danger without an ounce of fear, is an excellent shooter, a level four in Judo and just a badass in general can just as easily be kidnapped, drugged, taken hostage without so much as a mewl in defense by a single man, I'm sorry, but I'm just not going to buy that bullshit. The only thing that I despise more than spineless damsels in distress (without just cause) is a spineless damsel in distress disguised as a strong and highly intelligent heroine.
Na Na did not deserve to be used as a tool to highlight Yoon Sung's character just so he could appear to be the perfect knight in shining black mask, rather, she should've been an independent and resilient woman in her own right who could effectively save herself, but alas chivalry trumps all.
If that isn't enough, City Hunter gives a new meaning to the term "bad romance". It introduces two people who don't deserve to be together in any possible realm and force them to fall in love. As it happens with forceful collision, the result is destruction of both entities. Their affection for each other is completely unbelievable. No matter the martyr syndrome, noble causes and tortured hero bullshit- simply nobody should have to deal with Yoon Sung's horribly immature and selfish attitude. He's constantly pushing and pulling at her, switching gears and being cruel for no reason and Na Na's highly self-sacrificing, outrageously understanding, Mother Theresa level righteousness is frankly, pitiful. Add zero chemistry into the mix and you get a perfectly stiff romance that is difficult to swallow no matter how many justifications you provide to wash it down with.
To top it all off, both the actors have a very short emotional range and their crying scenes made me feel like the awkward back-patter who has to fake sympathy in order to not look like a douche-bag. Furthermore, you got to love how every single dirty politician is exposed with video recordings because it's absolutely 100% inevitable that sooner or later all corrupt criminals will announce the entirety of their sins word by word in thin air. You just have to conveniently be at the right place at the right time with a recording device at hand and you got yourself a wonderfully detailed confession. How exotic.
However, get depressed not, because the show does admittedly has its moments. The best thing about it is the fact that the few things it chooses to well develop are indeed, excellently executed. The injuries are very realistic and if our protagonists get hurt they actually suffer for a lengthy period of time instead of possessing magical healing powers. (Ahem, K2, ahem)
Kim Sang Joong is simply the star of the show. I mean, talk about charismatic villains. Not only is he extremely handsome for an ahjussi, he's also a brilliant actor and I think his cold-hearted glares ultimately made this show worth watching. Lee Jin Piyo is a ruthless mastermind, too cruel and extremely focused on his single-minded revenge. Anything that comes in his way is collateral and messing with him is synonymous for signing a death warrant. I'm not going to lie, I seriously shipped his and Yoon Sung's father-son relationship (as lacking and unhealthy as it may be) and one of the best moments of the show was their showdown in the last episode.
Prosecutor Kim with his holier than thou attitude, fierce determination and power walk (despite the fact that he in reality accomplishes nothing as a prosecutor and loses every time to the City Hunter) really grew on me over-time which was why it was really heartbreaking what the show did to him. I mean, if they were going for emotional impact they got it because honestly, I got very teary-eyed in that particular instance.
There's no denying that the story of City Hunter is very well thought out, the suspense element is nicely done and the interaction between the main characters and some of the supporting one's (Yoon Sung's mom, Bae Man Deok, Sung Chang Hoon and Jung Joon) were really touching to see. The music is good and even though City Hunter's strategies aren't exactly Sherlock-esque, I thoroughly enjoyed all of his exposés. There is a tiny idealist that resides in my heart that secretly loves the whole sentiment behind a masked hero saving the people in times of need and despite all of his flaws I was still sincerely rooting for Yoon Sung.
So, in conclusion I'm going to say that City Hunter is over-all a pleasurable drama, it makes you stick to it till the end and anticipate the incoming episodes with a fervor but when you sit back and ponder upon questions like; "What scene would I like to rewatch and put on replay?" "Which event was unforgettable?" "Which part got my heart racing?", nothing comes to mind. It is surely a good time-pass but not something that'll get you invested.
P.S: I hope all the Lee Min Hoes and City Hunter fanatics out there don't have a Cerci-mode walk of shame leading to execution-style murder in mind for me. Y'all are gorgeous human beings so please go easy on pelting the "This review ain't helpful" button.
Was this review helpful to you?
I mean, how do you get better than this? Healer is, to sum it up in a single word; precious. An utterly precious and beautiful production that gives so much warmth and joy. And so much love.
Now, normally I try to be "cool". Really, I do. I go around rooting for the underdogs. Over-hyped and mainstream artists usually do not get my adoration. Lee Min Ho, Kim Woo Bin, Park Shin Hye- all of these over-popular celebrities don't really do it for me. Clean cut looking, cutesy flower boys aren't my type either. I even go around putting an air of aloofness whenever I see crazed fan-girls and wonder how they can be so completely obsessed over a guy who barely looks 18. These are all the reasons why, me falling in love with Ji- Chang Wook is a great hypocrisy in its entirety but alas, it has happened and I have a terrible feeling that it's going to last for an eternity.
If it's any justification, I would say that the first time I saw him in Empress Ki, I really did think I was never going to like him and his beautiful face truly did nothing for me, rather, it was his excellent acting that ultimately sat my judgmental ass down. And if I was reduced to an obsessed mess for his highly flawed character in Empress Ki, I knew I didn't stand a chance with Healer.
To put it simply, watching him is pure bliss. He's just too fucking good. Despite the fact that the other characters brought their best, it's no denying that Healer is the king of the show. A puppet master that plays your emotions with utter abandon. I found myself getting attuned to his mannerisms; the way he often tilted his head as if considering the situation at hand, the way he spoke, his confident swagger and his innocent smile. I found myself sighing in complete content whenever he showed his face, bawling when he was in pain, pausing the button and literally caressing his face on the screen whenever he was down. I mean, at this point I am not even embarrassed to say that I more or less resemble the rabid fangirls I once scorned.
It's an evidence of his versatility that Ji-Chang Wook can perfectly execute entirely different roles and yet, retain the sincerity that always encompasses his acting. I'm blessed that I still have more of his shows left to watch because I know that stalking his Instagram feed and bookmarking his ridiculously adorable videos is nearly not enough for me.
The other actors do a marvelous job too. Park Min Young portrays the sassy and quirky girl with a big heart to the T. Even though I felt that her emotional scenes weren't as strong as they could've been, I have to admit that her character is very likable and strong throughout. Yo Ji Tae with his Kim Moon Ho always dazzles and the Ahjumma- the brilliant and hilarious hacker who always had Healer's back is a delight in her self.
Like many other users, I too agree that this show has one of the best OTP's in K-Drama history. The romance between the main leads is so untainted and pure that I swooned every-time. Their chemistry is absolutely electric and their love-story is heart melting. (If that's a word..)
With intelligent script writing, wonderful action scenes, epic romance, excellent screenplay, thoughtful plot and spot-on acting, Healer really does come full circle.
It will make you feel all sorts of emotions, with never a boring or forgettable moment and bestow upon you a journey that you wished would never end.
Without a doubt, a must watch.
Was this review helpful to you?
I am sure that if someone with a critical eye was to peruse through this review, they'd "Tsk Tsk" just like El Temur did to show his condescension for things he thought beneath him but I am past the point of caring. For I am hopelessly and utterly in love with everything about this drama, blissfully ignorant to all of its flaws and honored to have witnessed characters that made me feel all there was to feel and more.
After I was done with it, I felt so emotionally spent that it was almost physical. Every waking moment of my existence had been consumed by this production and the withdrawal symptoms were kicking in with a vengeance. Now, there is so much to say, but not enough words. I want to shout its praises from the rooftops but I'll settle for writing this review that can't possibly ever truly deliver the amount of feeling I had for this drama.
This is a story about vengeance, lust for power, loyalty, sacrifice, the blurry line between good and evil, the ugly side of human nature and lastly one woman's quest for justice. You cannot go into this if you don't want to get invested because trust me you will. It will possess you and maneuver you around like a puppet until its characters' emotions are your own, their pain your pain, their heartbreak your heartbreak and it will make you want to burst from all the sensory overload.
If I am to be honest, I admit that I have never seen a more brilliant piece of acting before. From the minute roles to the colossal one's every single act is done with perfection.
This was my first time watching Ha- Ji Won and six episodes in, I had already added her to my favorite actress list and vowed that I will not stop until I had followed her into every show she ever starred in. Simply put, she is my Queen. Her acting is so real and raw that it breaks you every time and leaves you in awe. It's really no surprise that she won a Daesang for her role.
I don't think I have ever felt more strongly for any female heroine before Niang. The intensity of love that I felt for her was crazy. She's a woman of power, deadly beyond measure, a master mind and the definition of strength. In Asian Dramas, there is always more talk than walk about how intellectual the heroine is. Producers use the classic element of make believe and create so much hype that people really start to see the MC as smart and witty even when there are no visible actions to back it up. In the synopsis it would be stated repeatedly how much of a genius she is, the characters in the show would boast about her relentlessly but in reality she usually turns out to be a hollow personality-less beauty vessel constructed on baseless compliments.
Niang doesn't roll that way. She is the real deal from the start; a highly intelligent woman, a schemer, a warrior, a meticulous planner and a ruthless executioner. She doesn't need other people to gass her up, because everything she does speaks for itself. She doesn't require saving because she is the savior. She is a Queen in every sense of the word and honestly, I would rather kill everyone -love interest or not- if they dared hurt her. My heart clenched whenever she faced a setback, my fists pumped and I screamed joyfully every time she was victorious, I cried with her, I smiled with her and I rooted for her every single time. I can honestly sing odes in way of her perfection and it would still not be enough.
Before I started with the drama, I had heard a lot of praise for Ji Chang Wook and when I saw his face and got a glimpse of the character he played I had instantly stuck my nose up, jutted my foot out and turned the other way. I thought that there was no way that I'd ever root for such a privileged, weak and spoiled wimp of a Prince. It didn't help that I had hated characters like him in the past (See: Goo Joon Piyo from Boys over flower, Mike He from Full house, Yune from MiSa) but as I watched, piece by piece the ice around my heart fell off until I was effectively boarded and happily sailing on his ship.
Ji Chang Wook is a gem and I truly believe he deserved a Daesang too. Ta Hwan is a highly flawed character and an anti-hero at best. He's selfish, cowardly, naive and obsessive. For one good deed is followed by a hundred missteps on his part and there were multiple times where I wanted to just slap him senseless. But despite all this, JCW made me fall in love with him. A lesser actor or any other actor for that matter, couldn't have even dreamed to do the same.
He's the type of character that you'd love to hate and hate to love but soon enough you see the deep scars he harbors, the purity of his heart and you understand him. In a palace full of people under his command, he's utterly lonely, horribly abused by everyone he trusts, constantly forced into his insecurities and you cannot help but weep for him and the pain he has had to suffer. Once you understand him, every horrible action he commits doesn't make you hate him, rather it breaks your heart. I had so much affection for him that I bawled every time he was either volatile, helpless or bordering on insanity. I honestly prayed for his relief.
As for the other male lead, I had my doubts about Joo Jin Mo at times but soon, I realized that he held his own too. Even though I felt like Wang Yu was way too likable I did come to adore him. The loyalty his men showed to him, his persistence in fighting for his country and his devotion to Niang warmed my heart. Plus, the guy has really beautiful and expressive eyes.
As far as the couple ships are concerned, Ta Hwan and Niang was the only one that made sense to me. Sure, Wang Yu and Niang have some heart warming moments and their love for each other is supposed to be strong but the moments between Ta Hwan and Niang are simply emotionally intense. There is so much misery between them but their relationship is powerful. She builds him up when he's nothing, she's his support system and his love for her is obsessive because in the midst of so much cruelty she is his only friend and confidante. The only time he attempts to be selfless is when he's with her and she makes him want to be a better man.
Tbh, they both were my babies and they absolutely dominated the show.
The beauty of this show is that everything bad that could possibly happen; happens. In most shows you don't have to guard your heart because you're sure that when things are their absolute worse, a convenient plot device will somehow come in handy and save the characters from catastrophe but here, there is no such luck. The villains are extremely fleshed out and three dimensional which makes it all the more easy to despise them. This drama truly depicts that 'evil is bad that believes it's good' and that is the most dangerous thing about the awful one's because somehow they all have reasons that are wholly justified in their eyes. People I liked transitioned into horrible power hungry monsters and people I hated with a passion tried to force me to feel pity for them. It was such a mixture of charcoal and pristine that I was constantly in a whirlwind.
I'm not going to lie; I bawled a lot in this drama. However, none of my tears flowed when people died or were killed rather they were for the tiny moments; the moments where the helplessness of the characters was shown, the moments where they are trying their best to hold on but falling apart, when they are striving to fight madness but stumbling and it's so beautifully heartbreaking that it wrenched out sobs from me.
This drama is filled with small immensely impactful scenes that combine to make the whole production powerful.
The side characters are very strong and multiple story-lines make the drama diverse and interesting. I majorly love me some Tal Tal; the smart, loyal and brooding man that you just can't get enough of. Wang Yu's men were always a source of happiness; Jokho and many others too make the list.
One thing I agree with many reviewers was that I too wanted the MC's to take a breather. From start to finish they are battling complication after complication and I desperately wanted the sweet moments to be drawn out and for them to bask a little more in the fleeting happiness they were granted. I mean, I wanted to see the faces I love express joy so badly that after finishing the show, I spent hours watching behind the scenes and blooper videos to lighten my heart and seeing those actors laugh and goof around filled me with inexplicable warmth.
As far as the ending is concerned, I'll dole out the same advice a friend gave to me and that is to not dread the tragedy too much for it's something that's bound to happen and you might actually find it quite acceptable. Who knows?
I have said so much, yet I feel that there is so much more to say. I am positive that I can write a thesis on my love for this drama and still not be satisfied so I'm going to end this here.
Every single second of this is nerve wracking in some way, the violence isn't over-produced, the action scenes are beautiful, the dialogues are excellent and although I never really re-watch seasons even when I say that I will, this is one season that I'm absolutely certain that I will binge re-watch and will most probably once again, be strung like a live wire because of all the feels.
An undeniable must watch.
Was this review helpful to you?
To be completely honest, I think the premise of this show is quite exciting and I bet the novel it's based on would be something spectacular. I will even admit that I really liked the idea behind the General's and Ping Ting's character. They were supposed to be strong and witty people in their own right and that was essentially what lured me in. But by God, that's not what this drama really ended up being.
Matters were made worse by the horrible acting. There is a lot of negative stigma attached with AngelaBaby but I did my best to keep an open mind and not be influenced by all the drama. Unfortunately, it was a wasted effort because she literally cannot act. Half of the time she's a blank board and in the other half she looks like a psychopath with her crazy eyes and creepy smile. I liked what her character was supposed to be but she destroyed it quite effectively.
Wallace Chung is a good actor but all the edgy scenes really didn't make him cool, instead, Chu Bei Jie mostly just comes off as an asshole who's trying and failing to assert his dominance over everybody.
The overdramatization makes everything more unbearable. With all that flying in the air, jumping over mountains and exaggerated facial expressions, General and I can't possibly expect the viewers to take its bullshit seriously. I watch Asian Dramas for their sincerity and poignancy, not whatever this superficial serialization was offering. So fucking disappointed.
It didn't help that I started watching it in between episodes of Eternal Love, which is why its flaws were even more noticeable than they would've been if an incredible show was not there for comparison. I really tried to give it a lot of chances but by the nth chance, I thought it better for my sanity to skip most parts.
This is an unpopular opinion and if you are someone who has diligently watched all of its episodes and have arrived on a different conclusion, then good for you. Boos should always do their yous.
Was this review helpful to you?
I know that you're not supposed to write reviews for shows if you haven't completed them but honestly, I just couldn't contain my bewilderment with this one. I really truly don't understand why anyone in their right mind would watch this. (Especially a non-EXO fan) If you know the answer to that, please enlighten me.
I mean, this is just plain bad. Period. You've got to get high and lose a few brain cells in order to find this shit hilarious. Don't get me wrong, I've got no problem seeing Sehun, Chanyeol, D.O and Bacon do their thing but when you add one hell of a TSTL (too stupid to live) heroine in their midst, it just turns everything sour.
I couldn't handle Ji Yeon Hee's immaturity for a single second and her brother's cute awkwardness wasn't nearly enough to balance it out. She's cringey on a whole other level and it's not adorable in the least. Also, the way she talks with her mum is just awful. I swear the brat needs to sit the fuck down and check her priorities. Funny how, she's always being a snarky ass bish to her family but she can't utter a lone syllable in front of boys. And she's 22. Enough said.
Furthermore, let's not forget how they got Chan to play the brooding, cold, bad boy type. Like, I just can't at this moment. Chan out of all them? Chan, really?
He's like an adorable little puppy at his worst, m8. Why, oh, why must you do this to me?
Obviously, I watched it for plain ol' fanservice and wasn't expecting a plot, good acting or a consistent storyline and fairly enough, it did indeed lack on all those fronts. But what I also didn't expect was the human embodiment of complete and total aggravation that was our female lead.
It is amazing how I even managed to stand 4 episodes of this nightmare. It truly is a fete when a show is so horrible it makes a 15 minute episode feel like an hour. I repeatedly checked how much of it was left and when I realized that I had endured so much suffering and only 5 minutes had passed, I think I decomposed a little inside.
The only good thing that came out of this was that the guys were able to make money off of it. As far as I'm concerned, I'm sorry but I'm just not strong enough to bear this kind of agony.
I am in dire need of an efficient eyewasher and a mental detox after this. I'd try to come back after I heal and watch four more episodes to support the group but surely, recovery from this requires total mental rest for atleast more than 365 days.
For all those people who watched and enjoyed this, I envy you. Really, kudos to you. I don't know how you did it. Fighting!
(At this point this isn't even a review, more like an existential crisis.)
Was this review helpful to you?