Posted in kdrama

Penthouse Season 3 (2021)

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Drama: Penthouse 3 (펜트하우스 3)
Network: SBS
Episodes: 14
Release Date: June 4 – September 10, 2021
Runtime: Friday 22:00-23:10
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot
The final story of the tragic lives of the people in Hera Palace.

Main Cast
Uhm Ki Joon – Joo Dan Tae
Kim So Yeon – Cheon Seojin
Eugene – Oh Yoon Hee
Yoon Jong Hoon – Ha Yoon Cheol
Shin Eun Kyung – Kang Mari
Bong Tae Gyu – Lee Kyu Jin
Yoon Joo Hee – Go Sang A
Kim Young Dae – Joo Seok Hoon
Han Ji Hyun – Joo Seo Kyung
Choi Ye Bin – Ha Eun Byul
Kim Hyun Soo – Bae Rona
Jin Ji Hee – Kang Jenny
Park Eun Seok – Logan Lee
On Joo Wan – Baek Jun Ki
Park Ho San – Yoo Dong Pil

Review
This drama finally ended after a year of craziness at the Hera Palace and will likely go down as one of the legendary Korean dramas ever to air.

I loved The Penthouse S1 (2020) and Penthouse S2 (2021) and was looking forward to the two new characters Jenny’s dad and Baek Junki. Thought the idea of Joo Dantae stealing Junki’s identity was genius plotline and was always curious about why the dad was in prison. I thought the first few episodes were great but their characters and stories were disappointing and didn’t add anything to the story. Wasted potential seriously!!

The first few episodes were strong and kept the momentum from season 2 but until they killed off Yoonhee and the story went downhill. I know Penthouse story is already crazy but the next couple of episodes just went off kilter outrageous. Logan surviving the explosion, Alex showing up played by the same character, Seojin under a chandelier yet surviving, Joo Dantae escaping from Japan, dying but showing this beggar looking like him. Blech. Too much.

I always thought that Seojin is worse and more intelligent than Dantae and I was right. And i wondered how they will face off so I laughed in evil glee when they attacked each other after Logan Suryeon exposed them in public. I personally loved Joo Dantae as the villain but his sexy evil charisma was gone in season 3. And his sad story came too late for viewers to feel sad for him.

I could never understand why Suryeon and Logan were loved by the viewer and were branded as the “good ones” when they were equally bad. If Suryeon never plotted the revenge against Dantae none of this would have happened or it wouldn’t have ended so tragically for so many people. She could have just hired an assassin to kill him or poison him. She also has a lot of blood on her hands so to me, her suicide does not make her a hero. It just shows she was as flawed and selfish as the others.

It feels so long ago but even from season 1 i thought the parents were so toxic that the best thing was to kill them all. Well the main baddies died alright and they all died appropriate way. If they were in Squid Game, I’d say Kang Mari played her cards well and she was the ultimate survivor/winner.

The kids were all terrible even Rona the brat but I liked how they all got their second chances. Goes to show that parents highly influence their children’s behavior and adults should not include their kids in their own fights.

It was also very very satisfying to see Hera Palace crumble. The whole gold appearance and the lady statue with wings were too ostentatious and tacky to be “luxurious”.

Despite the middle part being too crazy, I still enjoyed the “happy” ending.

Rating: 8/10

Posted in movies

Accidental Detective 2: In Action (2018)

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Movie: The Accidental Detective 2: In Action (탐정: 리턴즈)
Release Date: June 13, 2018
Runtime: 116 min.
Distributor: CJ Entertainment
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot

Main Cast
Kwon Sang Woo – Kang Dae Man
Sung Dong Il – No Tae Soo
Lee Kwang Soo – Grasshopper

Review
I was looking for some silly fluff after a long week of hard work so I decided to watch this movie. This movie continues from the first movie where the two leads decide to open their own private investigation agency. However, the first few weeks they didn’t have any clients until a pregnant lady visits them and tells them that her husband is missing.

No this movie isn’t silly, the overall mood is light, and with the addition of Lee Kwang Soo, makes this movie funny. But the investigation and the case itself is heavy.

I love how Daeman is smart and catches the little clues, combined with Taesoo’s experience as detective. And in the end, they were able to catch the bad guys.

Can we have a third movie please?

My review of the first movie: The Accidental Detective (2015)

Rating: 8/10

Posted in kdrama

Police University (2021)

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Drama: Police University (경찰수업)
Network: KBS2
Episodes: 16
Release Date: August 9 – October 5, 2021
Runtime: Mon & Tue 21:30
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot
A relentless professor/detective trying to solve an illegal gambling case gets the help from his police university students, including a young hacker.

Main Cast
Cha Tae Hyun – Yu Dong Man
Jung Jin Young – Kang Sunho
Krystal Jung – Oh Kang Hee
Hong Soo Hyun – Choi Hee Soo
Lee Jong Hyuk – Kwon Hyuk Pil
Lee Dal – Noh Bum Tae
Yoo Young Jae – Jo Joon Wook

Review
This drama was my happy pill for the past few weeks. I could never turn down watching Cha Tae Hyun.

Yu Dongman and Kang Sunho’s mentor-student relationship was one of the best things in this drama and the reason I kept watching. The drama felt like a classic story yet also felt modern and fresh. I love Dongman as a character. He had integrity, even though he sometimes breaks the rules, it’s because he knows what he is doing and is very certain of his decisions and hunches. I teared up when i found out why he was so keen to crack the case. Likewise, episode 1 and 2 did a good job to show the background of Sunho’s story and why you would want to root for him and the initial encounter between the two. So the two of them growing closer and their journey through out the drama felt so touching. Like they said in the last episode, Sunho found his family and friends because of him while Dongman felt young and alive again after meeting Sunho.

I also loved the relationship between Sunho and Kanghee, from their meet cute, to Kanghee imagining Sunho with puppy face, the red bracelet, breakup and getting back together. The only downside is Kanghee breaking up with him during the time he needed her the most and Park Min Kyu’s character who was wasted here. I initially thought Park Min Kyu would be the annoying character at the start but will end up being part of the team. He did help them a bit but overall, he still was annoying for expecting Kanghee to like him over Sunho just because he saw her first.

But who cares for Min Kyu when Sunho and Kanghee have the best besties in the university — Bum Tae and Junwook!! I love their bromance, the funny love triangle between the girl, how Junwook gave way to Bum Tae (I was so happy when Bum Tae got the girl!!) and how they supported Sunho and Kanghee during the whole drama, even if they almost got expelled from the university.

As I said earlier on, once of the things that got me emotionally invested on the story was Sunho and his relationship with his father. It took a long time but they finally understood how much they loved each other and Sunho realizing that his dad treated him like his own son from the very start.

In the middle, I thought the illegal gambling story dragged and was going nowhere, and it’s mostly because there were too much whodunit teasers like C’mon tell us and take us out of our misery. sidetracked but didn’t mind because then we got more focus on the romance and bromance. I did appreciate that after everything else was revealed bad guy wasn’t that bad at all. Of course, the end didn’t justify the means especially when you’re breaking the law and hurting other people despite good intentions. The villain was also my initial guess even though I had no idea of his motive (just a guess based on the setup of the characters and probably from watching too many dramas)

The final episode was probably one of the best written endings where every one’s story was neatly wrapped up and gave me a warm happy fuzzy feeling that happy ever after can happen!

Also sharing two of the OST that I loved:

Rating: 9/10 (8.5 for the story +.5 for how this drama made me feel)

Posted in movies

The Closet (2020)

Movie: The Closet (클로젯)
Release Date: February 5, 2020
Distributor: CJ Entertainment
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Cast
Kim Nam Gil – Kyung Hoon
Ha Jung Woo – Sang Won
Heo Yool – In Na
Shin Hyun Bin – Seung Hee
Kim Shi Ah – Myung Jin
Park Sung Woong – Myung Jin’s dad

Review:
Since it’s October, though I’d watch a few horror or suspense movies this month. And this is my 5th HJW movie this year.

The Closet is about a father and daughter who moves to a new house after a traumatic accident. Yup moving to an old abandoned house in the middle of nowhere is always a good idea. LOL.

So one day the child disappeared while the father was out in Seoul working. While searching for her daughter he meets a modern exorcist who tells him that a lot of kids who lived in the house have disappeared for years and he will help find his daughter.

The movie is only 1 hour and 39 mins and I think that’s why the movie felt emotionally incomplete. We know what happened during the accident but we didn’t see enough reasons why there was a strained relationship between the father and daughter, enough for the ghost to take her to her special world. It just felt like both were grieving and the father didn’t know how to cope and raise his child alone. The daughter seemed sad but i didn’t think she hated her father.

There weren’t a lot of scary scenes, the ghost of the darkness are probably the scariest but the rest were just enough creepiness. We also didn’t get enough background of the exorcist and his shaman mother. So far i’ve seen KNG play a fiery priest, now an exorcist and i think his new drama is also about exorcism.

The reason for the ghost was heartbreaking and it felt like they could have explored the main social message in the epilogue better to have a deeper impact to the people watching.

Rating: 8/10

Posted in kdrama

Squid Game (2021)

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Drama: Squid Game (오징어 게임)
Network: Netflix
Episodes: 9
Release Date: September 17, 2021
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot
Players compete in dangerous children games for a chance to win billions of money.

Main Cast
Lee Jung Jae – Sung Gihun
Park Hae Soo – Cho Sangwoo
Jung Ho Yeon – Kang Saebyuk
Wi Ha Joon – Hwang Junho
Heo Sung Tae – Jang Deok Soo
Oh Young Soo – Oh Il Nam
Kim Joo Ryung – Han Min Nyeo
Tripati Anupam – Ali
Lee Byung Hun – Host

Review
Much have been said about this drama so I’m not going to dissect and analyze the drama in detail. I loved the six games and how each game levelled up the intensity and danger. I had no clue what the story was all about since I was able to avoid spoilers when this first came out. So when the first game started, the red light green light and shots were fired, I was as shocked as the contestants!! I think this was the perfect game to start it all. I felt as tense as everyone and was praying that they all get to the finish line safely! I honestly probably would have died in the first game! 😅

The second game, honeycomb was a little boring. I remember shouting at my TV, just lick the honeycomb so it will melt! I was so surprised when Gihun did exactly that!! By then I knew I couldn’t trust Sangwoo! He didn’t even bother to tell his neighbor/friend or help him even when he knew what the game was! A lot of people hated the thug but I actually liked him haha! (or maybe because I’ve watched Heo Sung Tae in variety shows and I know he is the exact opposite of his villain characters).

The third game, tug of war, was probably my favorite. It reminded me of when we used to play this game in high school! and the minute I saw they will be playing the game at such high place, really just amped the brutality of the drama.

Fourth game the marbles, had me crying. They’ve somehow built a bond the past few days. and knowing one of them had to die so the other can live was a tough pill to swallow. Sangwoo totally betrayed Ali (though I think Ali was too naive), even Gihun ending up betraying the old man to live. Saebyuk only came out alive because the other girl sacrificed herself. I was so stressed every single game, but knowing that the main leads won’t die until the very end made me a little less stressed.

And that’s the downside of this drama. I thought that the main lead mostly passed the levels because of luck or through someone else. Green light, Ali held him up. Honeycomb he barely made it. Tug of War, they were saved by the old man and Sangwoo. Marbles, he didn’t know it back then but the old man saved him. Glass bridge, yup, Sangwoo again. I honestly thought Sangwoo if we were to judge the perfomance of each other, Sangwoo deserved the money. He was strategic but he’s not the lead so in the end he lost against the “morally nice” guy.

Also Saebyuk, the actress became instantly famous for this role and I’m scratching my head why. Her character didn’t do anything memorable either. She barely spoke a word, had the same look on her face the entire time. Like Gihun, she also was lucky the whole time and made it to the last game because of Gihun and Sangwoo. But I’m not hating on the actress, it’s the character I’m wondering why is popular.

I wasn’t sure what was the message the writer wants to tell us. At one point I thought the lesson of the show was to learn to share and not be too greedy. Or find a way to work together and get out alive not kill each other and they will all get the money. But I was wrong both times since I realized there could only be one winner.

I was so disappointed at Gihun! After all the blood sweat and tears, Gihun sat on the money for a year and didn’t use them because he felt guilty and morally wrong to spend the money that killed lots of people! Hello!! He should have kept his promise to the people who had to die for him to live. At least pay off Sangwoo’s debts, give money to the mother, and get Saebyeok’s brother out of the orphanage. Live a better life. Go see his daughter and be a good father. Use the money for a good cause. Create a foundation that will help people like him so they won’t be desperate enough to join this dangerous game.

Another disappointment was the reveal of the main guy. I was already suspicious of him since there was a scene where the VIPs arrived and the host said the owner can’t join because he is busy and even though we only see the owner’s back, you can definitely see the white hair peeking from his mask. But his final conversation with Gihun in the abandoned tower was weird. His explanation didn’t make sense. Why go through all of that and kill hundreds of people every time just for the fun of it? So that he can feel something? BS.

Other things that were not explained and maybe a prequel like what they did with Kingdom Ashin of the North would be good. Like how did Inho become the host? And I didn’t realize that Inho was older than Junho. All throughout the drama, I was wondering who the host was. I thought the english was so familiar but I couldn’t remember the actor. So when I saw it was Lee Byung Hun, it was a facepalm moment to me!! Speaking of Junho, I thought he was there to save the day, like he will collaborate with Gihun and crack the case. Turns out, he had a separate story that didn’t feel connected with the rest. How was he able to go around the house without getting caught and without eating, showering, pooping, peeing and survive? And the whole organ transplant thing was another plot that wasn’t explored. And the VIPS were cringy and horrendous.

Overall, this was fantastic drama except for the final episode.

Rating: 8/10