Sunday, December 28, 2014

Drama Review - Bad Guys

Following the format shift seen in this year's 'Reset', OCN has brought us another serial drama, meaning one focusing on a main plot, rather than offering one case per episode. Much like the 'Special Affairs Team TEN' series, 'Bad Guys' lacks a supernatural gimmick. What this gives us is 11 episodes of pure action, a lot of character development and an intricate main plot. With all of these elements combined for optimal story richness, the only question left is whether that combination worked.

Suspended violent crimes detective Oh Goo-tak is brought back in by his superior. He is given a special team which will operate on the fringes of the law to more effectively catch deadly criminals. Goo-tak chooses three unlikely team mates. Park Woong-cheol (Ma Dong-seok) is a gangster, Jeong Tae-soo (Jo Dong-hyeok) a hitman and Lee Jeong-moon (Park Hae-jin) a psychopath and serial killer. The three men are taken out of jail and under inspector Yoo Mi-yeong's (Kang Ye-won) supervision begin their work and face their past and present connections.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bad Guys".

Drama First Look - Seonam Girls High School Investigators

Bringing a fresh concept to Korean drama and cable television, 'Seonam Girls High School Investigators' has now aired two episodes of its crime-fighting high-school girl story. The series offers mystery, quirky characters, an almost cartoonish presentation at times and plenty of shenanigans. While everything should work well with what the series has so far, it also has some issues which could become detrimental to it further down the line.

Viewers of the more popular types of prime time Korean drama will no doubt find this series bizarre. All the tropes they are used to, the pervasiveness of romance throughout the main plot and the strong presence of attractive men as the center of everything is nowhere to be found in this show. However, the show balances that well by making its male lead a quite mysterious and therefore interesting and important character. This is a ladies' party, but men are certainly invited and will probably continue to be throughout the series.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Seonam Girls High School Investigators".

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Drama Review - Giant

When considering the genres of Korean drama, melodrama is without a doubt one of the major ones. Even shows not belonging purely in it include melodramatic tropes, concepts and even tone. From the downright soapy to the romantic to the more workplace oriented, melodrama comes in many forms. 'Giant' offers a mix of elements and is not without its faults, but it is also nothing short of an epic series and great display of melodrama done well.

Life has not been good to Lee Seong-mo (Park Sang-min), Lee Kang-mo (Lee Beom-soo) and their sister, Lee Mi-joo (Hwang Jeong-eum). After their father is murdered by a powerful military figure for the sake of money and their mother dies while on the run with them, the siblings are separated and find their own path in life. While Seong-mo has devoted his days trying to take down the man who started it all, Jo Pil-yeon (Jeong Bo-seok), Kang-mo and Mi-joo are just trying to get by. That is, until their paths meet again.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Giant".

Actor Spotlight - Lee Beom Soo

Maintaining a steady career in entertainment is not an easy feat. Maintaining a steady and popular career across media and earning respect is even harder. People can become stars, but stars fade. And those who usually support these stars rarely get their chance at the spotlight. However, many actors manage to find their way around these issues and earn their spot and the prestige that comes with it. Lee Beom-soo is definitely one of those actors.

While many go into the craft without prior studies or make their debut later in life, Lee has been focused on this from early on. After studying in the Department of Theater of his university, he debuted in a minor role in 1990 film 'Well, Let's Look at the Sky Sometimes' at age 19. Since then, he has worked across media, focusing more on film and later drama as well. His movie breakthrough role was in 2003 film 'Singles' and aside from a minor role in drama '8 Love Stories', his first major drama appearance was in 2007 'Surgeon Bong Dal-hee'.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Actor Spotlight] Lee Beom-soo.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Movie Review - Descendants of Hong Gil Dong

Family is very important in South Korea, but also in its entertainment. It often plays a big role in many genres. 'Descendants of Hong Gil-dong' combines a family comedy with action and adds to it an ensemble cast capable of handling both. The trick to making such combinations work is making each one matter in the progression of the other. The end result here is pretty satisfying.

On the surface, the Hongs are a model family. A housewife, a professor, a teacher and a student, all exemplary members of society. However, the Hongs are leading a double life as descendants of the legendary thief Hong Gil-dong, stealing from the rich to help the poor. This becomes a problem when Moo-hyeok (Lee Beom-soo) has to hide the truth from his girlfriend Song Yeon-hwa (Lee Si-yeong) while robbing a dangerous villain called Lee Jeong-min (Kim Soo-ro).

Full Article: [HanCinema's Film Review] "Descendants of Hong Gil-dong".

Drama Preview - Seonam Girls High School Investigators

There are certain types of stories we have seen time and time again in Korean drama. The appeal of the male stars is often somehow central in prime time shows and adult leads is the norm. JTBC's 'Seonam Girls High School Investigators' is an interesting deviation from that norm. Whether it will succeed or not, it will definitely be an educating experience.


Based on a novel, the series follows a group of high school students, led by Ahn Chae-yool (Jin Ji-hee), who solve mysteries at an all-girls school. Assisted by their teacher Ha Yeon-joon (Kim Min-joon), they crack cases and help struggling students.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Seonam Girls High School Investigators".

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