Sunday, August 30, 2015

Actor Spotlight - Lee Yong Nyeo

It is a fact that entertainment is not kind to women past a certain age. In film and television specifically, while being an older man still lands one opportunities, older women are given limited options. Ageism in entertainment is nothing new and most actresses adapt and manage with what is available. They portray mothers, grandmothers and other such roles. Lee Yong-nyeo, however, is someone who has found a unique place in these industries.

Lee was late to join the acting industry, having made her debut in 1993 at age 37. Since then, she has mostly done supporting and guest roles in film and drama. Movie fans might best remember her in roles such as Yeong-goon's awkward mother in 'I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK', while many drama fans will know her as Lady Go in 'Master's Sun'. Chances are, you have seen her in many of her dozens of works.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Actor Spotlight] Lee Yong-nyeo.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Drama Review - Hidden Identity

Good action shows can be hard to come by in Korean drama, especially outside of the crime-oriented channel OCN. Its sister channel, tvN is more known for its romantic comedies and other lighter offerings, but has occasionally taken a shot at darker works. 'Hidden Identity' is tvN's latest attempt at a sleek action show, offering a unique blend of actors and crime-fighting suspense. While not brilliant, it is quite a nice addition to the action genre.

The series follows an investigative team operating largely in secret and not always within the law. Cha Geon-woo (Kim Beom), their latest recruit is out for revenge over the death of his girlfriend; a death related to the latest case the team is handling. Jang Moo-won (Park Seong-woong) is the team's mysterious, but capable leader and someone who knows of Geon-woo's past. The team finds itself as the only group capable of capturing a dangerous individual called the Ghost.

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

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Drama Review - My Beautiful Bride

A big part of what often keeps dramas or certain concepts in dramas superficial is the refusal to get real and get dirty. From romance to violence, everything is too black and white and too idealistic. Style and substance are not mutually exclusive, which is frequently overlooked in fiction and especially genres like action. 'My Beautiful Bride' is a series which presents a grand romance in a suspense show, successfully combining genres others have failed to.

Kim Do-hyeong (Kim Moo-yeol) and Yoon Joo-yeong (Ko Sung-hee) are living a happy life together. That is until Joo-yeong's past catches up with her and she disappears. Do-hyeong finds himself going deeper and deeper into a dark world, as he will stop at nothing to find Joo-yeong. Cha Yoon-mi (Lee Si-yeong) is a detective who is connected to Joo-yeong and her illegal past. She handles Joo-yeong's disappearance case, which reveals the organization they were both connected to has resurfaced.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Beautiful Bride".

Drama First Look - Yong Pal

Drama fans who follow the domestic ratings for shows will know that the numbers have not been doing well in the last few years. Because of this slump, 'Yong Pal' has been quite the pleasant surprise, with ratings most shows of its kind can only dream of nowadays. There is good reason for those ratings. The series has appealing drama and an intriguing story. Even so, there are issues which will cheapen it if continued.

With the promotional material being quite confusing in tone, some potential future viewers might be wondering what type of show this is. While there is a medical theme and some action, 'Yong Pal' is still within the melodrama genre. We have an anti-hero whose hard life has forced him to act selfishly and put himself through danger for money. We also have a comatose heiress who is after revenge. The melodramatic premise and its potential are solid here.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Yong Pal".

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Drama First Look - Last

A lot of dramas include action and crime, but there is usually more to it than the world of crime itself. Revenge, justice, survival and other manner of more grand elements are the goal of those stories. 'Last' is an odd show in the sense that it approaches new topics and from a slightly different angle than what most shows go for. What has been quite a nice start can now hopefully evolve and succeed.

At a time when each given series seems to require several words to describe its often very different genres, this one comes in as a simple action crime show. There are subplots and each character clearly has their story, but the basic premise is simple. An arrogant, but skilled man makes a mistake, loses everything and then makes a probably bigger mistake to take it all back. There are fights, a lot of fights, gratuitous machismo and violence.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Last".

Drama Review - Masked Prosecutor

A lot of people like a good revenge plot. Others like tales about justice and the heroes who deliver it. Seeing good win against bad is a basic feature of most stories and easy to make exciting as a concept. A series like 'Masked Prosecutor' also belongs in a medium which is good with revenge stories, that being Korean drama. Unfortunately, the show manages to waste its opportunity with bad execution and unexplored intriguing topics.

Ha Dae-cheol (Joo Sang-wook) appears like a self-serving prosecutor who just wants to get big. In fact, Dae-cheol's true motivation is gaining power to punish the wicked. By night, he wears a mask and hunts those the law will not. Yoo Min-hee (Kim Seon-ah) is a detective who has a long-standing friendship with Dae-cheol, but clashes with his seemingly selfish character. When both get entangled in a case they are also personally involved with, they meet as cop and vigilante.

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

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Drama Review - Ex-Girlfriends' Club

Breakups are not exactly a fun time for most people, yet they become the topic of romantic comedy very frequently in fiction. This approach in a rom-com context might not be so frequent in Korean drama, but there have been works which went there, such as 'Sly and Single Again' and 'Emergency Couple'. TvN's 'Ex-Girlfriends' Club' handles the consequences of breakups in the present. The approach has potential, but this particular series, while entertaining, does not make the best of it.

Bang Myeong-soo (Byeon Yo-han) is a webtoon artist who uses his own breakup stories for his latest romantic work. Kim Soo-jin (Song Ji-hyo) is a struggling film producer who has a past with Myeong-soo and who needs to make a movie based on his work in order to stay in business. When they find out, the ex-girlfriends mentioned in it decide to take matters into their own hands and stick suffocatingly close to the production.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Ex-Girlfriends' Club".

Drama Preview - Yong Pal

The Korean drama industry is at a time where productions desperately try to mix every element imaginable in order to cover as many needs as possible. With ratings having severely declined over the past few years, many shows end up a mix of genres, tone and ideas. Occasionally that works, but some just become convoluted beyond repair. 'Yong Pal' might be in danger of this, but its premise does have potential.


Kim Tae-hyeon (Joo Won) is a skilled surgeon who finds himself working as an underground doctor in order to repay his debt and help his sister, who needs kidney dialysis due to her condition. He takes cases of people who cannot go to hospitals or registered doctors and asks no questions about their activities. Han Yeo-jin (KIm Tae-hee) is a conglomerate heiress who is being kept in a coma by her brother, who wants her position as a successor. Her story is about her betrayal and revenge.

Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Yong Pal".

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