Assassination (2015)

Movie: Assassination (์•”์‚ด)
Release Date: July 22, 2015
Runtime: 139 min.
Genre: Action / Period-1930 / Best Film-Movie of the Year
Distributor: Showbox
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Main Cast:
Jun Ji Hyun – Ahn Okyun /Mitsuki
Lee Jung Jae – Captain Yeom
Ha Jung Woo – Hawaii Pistol
Cho Jin Woong – Soksapo
Choi Deok Mun – Duksam
Oh Dalsu – Younggam
Lee Kyung Hyung – Kang Inguk
Park Byung Eun – Kawaguchi
Cho Seung Woo – Kim Wonbong

Review:
It was Jun Jihyun’s birthday a few days ago so I thought of watching this old movie of hers.

The story is about a secret mission to assassinate 2 important people who favored the Japanese. And several factions try to outmaneuver each other to either prevent or succeed in the mission.

The movie is quite long at more than 2 hours but I wasn’t bored!! The story is a little complicated because there were too many characters so I had to slowly watch to understand what was going on. It had lots of action, and double crossing, and deaths, and even managed to put in a little romance. The meet-cute at Hotel Mirabeau between Okyun and Hawaii Pistol is ๐Ÿ˜

The main lead is Jun Jihyun and the men were great support, esp Ha Jung Woo who sometimes stole the scenes. And I finally watched JJ’s famous court scene that is always reenacted in shows.

Rating: 9/10

Extraordinary Attorney Woo (2022)

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Drama: Extraordinary Attorney Woo (์ด์ƒํ•œ ๋ณ€ํ˜ธ์‚ฌ ์šฐ์˜์šฐ)
Network: Netflix, ENA
Episodes: 16
Release Date: June 29 – August 18, 2022
Runtime: Wed. & Thu. 21:00

Plot:
This drama tells the story of Woo Young Woo, who has autistic spectrum disaster, and how she navigates her way in her work and personal relationships.

Main Cast
Park Eun Bin – Woo Young Woo
Kang Tae Oh – Lee Jun Ho
Kang Ki Young – Jung Myeong Suk
Jin Kyung – Tae Sumi
Joo Hyun Young – Dong Geurami
Ha Yoon Kyung – Choi Suyeon
Joo Jong Hyuk – Kwon Minwoo
Jeon Bae Soo – Woo Gwang Ho
Baek Ji Won – Han Seon Young

Review:
Woo to the Young to the Woo! Park Eun Bin made WYW so cute and charming while being fierce at work. No wonder she has a lot of support from loyal friends and her dad. And she even managed to get the most popular guy in the office to fall in love with her. But of course, this is KDrama. In real life, sad to say, she probably wouldn’t be treated so nicely by her colleagues. Still the way they depicted WYW made me think how I should also treat people with disabilities and to show more consideration and support for them moving forward. I’m also curious to find out if there really is a genius autistic like WYW?

It’s a role reversal where the male lead is the candy girl, meant to be the support for the female lead and he doesn’t need to do much but to look pretty and support WYW. I hope they also give Junho a meatier storyline in S2. Like handling his own case at work, and exploring more stories of his relationships with his family, friends, and other colleagues that is solely about him and not relating to WYW. I want to know more about him and what makes him tick and thrive.

Another character I love is Ms. Spring Sunshine Suyeon. She is always nice to WYW and defends her when Minwoo and other people are mocking her, or putting her down. And even though she sometimes gets overshadowed by WYW, she doesn’t mind and instead even helps and supports her. In S2, I hope she is also able to show her legal brilliance and win cases too. And I’m curious to know more about her relationship with her father. Her only fault is liking Minwoo, which I really don’t understand.

Kang Ki Young has always played the funny sidekick or bestfriend/neighbor. His role as Jung Myeongsuk is slightly different because he is serious here, although once in a while his comedic skills still show. Myeongsuk is one of the nicest and most supportive bosses in Kdrama Land. At first I thought he would be the one that would hinder WYW to succeed, instead he is one of WYW’s mentors, to the point where WYW even visited him on the day of his surgery hoping he won’t die, and visiting him during his recovery. Was surprised at his illness, but it’s a big wake up call for him to live a better life (and to the viewers who have a similar lifestyle as him!). I hope he gets better and be happier (with his ex-wife) in S2!

I also like Dong Geurami and Hairy guy. Not sure how they are able to keep their restaurant afloat with zero customers (maybe Hairy guy is really rich?). And WYW’s dad sacrificed a lot for his daughter. A tiny part of me wishes he gets back with WYW’s mom but I think they despise each other so much it won’t happen (plus Sumi is still married and no way will she get into a scandal or relationship that will potential ruin her ambitions).

Speaking of Tae Sumi, Jin Kyung the actress has been playing villain characters in the past few years. I loved her when she played the nice characters and she’s scary when she plays the villain. Here, she plays a complex character of being a villain to WYW’s family because she abandoned them for her ambitions, yet I feel that she is also a good person. She is a respected attorney and boss in her company, and she seems like a good mom. I hope in S2, we get to know her and her son more and we get more interactions with WYW. It’s not too late to form a mother-daughter-sibling relationship. I think WYW can be a strength to Tae Sumi’s ambitions and she can also be a good influence to the younger brother.

My friend said she thought the format of the show was boring and repetitive but since this is a legal drama so I already expected episodic cases every week and not the slice of life kind of storyline.

The last episode was a little underwhelming maybe because we all know there’s going to be season 2. Season 1 didn’t go out with a bang, but it opened up so many possibilities and more stories to explore in the next season. I want to know why WYW’s boss seems to hold a grudge against Tae Sumi while she seems oblivious to her dislike. Will the boss turn out to be the villain and Sumi the good one? I also want to see the nice pro bono lawyer in season 2. I almost thought WYW will resign and work for her by end of season but I think WYW has a lot more to learn in Hanbada before she can leave and open her own practice.

The only downside to his drama is Minwoo (the character, not the actor). He was so awful to WYW throughout most of the show but suddenly the writer made him nice in the end, and justifying his behavior because he is poor and needs to take care of his family. Everyone knows he wrote against WYW in the bulletin board, but no one knows he tried to make WYW quit or that he also sabotaged one of the cases. He got off without getting any “punishment” for his bad deeds and even became part of the good team. And I don’t understand why 2 girls are fighting over him – are the girls too shallow? Geurami only likes him for his looks, while Suyeon started liking him just because he was nice to her in Jeju. She just shook off all the hateful things he did to WYW? If Minwoo is going to continue being part of the good team in S2, I don’t mind, it’s just that his character development was so rushed and he never apologized to WYW. They can introduce a new villain attorney that will keep WYW in her toes.

Rating: 8.5/10 (9 minus 0.5 for Minwoo)

Melancholia (2021)

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Drama: Melancholia (๋ฉœ๋ž‘๊ผด๋ฆฌ์•„)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: November 10 – December 30, 2021
Runtime: Wed. & Thu. 22:30

Plot: A misunderstanding of the close relationship between a student and teacher led to a scandal that ruined the career of the teacher and the student dropping out of school. Four years later, both of them goes back to school to seek revenge and expose the corruption in school.

Main Cast:
Lim Soo Jung – Ji Yoon Su
Lee Do Hyun – Baek Seung Yoo
Jin Kyung – Noh Jung Ah
Jang Hyun Sung – Sung Min Jun
Shin Soo Yeon – Choi Si An
Choi Dae Hoon – Ryu Sung Jae
Woo Da Bi – Sung Yerin
Kim Ji Young – Kim Ji Na

Review:
I never liked math in school but this drama made math sound so beautiful and interesting. However, since I don’t understand all the theories and concepts (the formulas they were studying were too complicated!!!), the point of the mathematical metaphors about proving and errors went lost on me. Still, I loved the first 6 episodes when they were still in high school and we saw relationship, which at time, was purely student-teacher, blossomed. You can really feel how much they loved math. Seung Yoo had a traumatic childhood with scary father, and for the first time, there was an adult, his teacher who listened and encouraged him and made him want to love math again. On the other hand, Yoon Su is loved by her students. She is compassionate and makes learning fun and challenging. Of course, being young, it wasn’t a surprise that Seung Yoo fell for his impressive teacher. I thought going on a trip with a male student is wrong and Yoon Su put herself in scandalous situation, without thinking of the consequences or his fiance. When Yoon Su discovered a potential cheating during the midterm exams, the jealous female student together with her assemblyman father and the corrupt principal decided to expose Seung Yoo and Yoon Su’s relationship to bury the their own scandal.

Starting episode 7, the story moves to the present time (which is four years later). We learn that the school continues to be corrupt, with students still as spoiled and terrible as ever. Seung Yoo dropped out of school, studied hard and won a Lucifer prize, becoming a very famous mathematician, while Yoon Su hides behind a math clinic with very strict confidentiality clauses for its students. Turns out, both of them have been planning to seek their own revenge against the principal and expose the decades long corruption. Episodes 10 to 13 dragged with so many useless scenes, i wish they cut them and made the drama shorter.

Similar to 4 years ago, there is another brilliant student, Si-An, whom I loved. She may be an orphan but she grew up well, is smart, happy and is tough to stand against Jina and the bullies. I also liked Jina later on (she was a b*tch for most of the episodes) but she was actually nicer when she met Seung Yoo and Yoon Su. It was very had to like Yerin. Since high school until present, she always had this sour face and was too stubborn and to admit her mistake. Her scenes were also boring, she just kept “stalking” and making sad eyes to Seung Yoo and blaming other people for her life. Again, it was Seung Yoo and Yoon Su, who made her realize that she was being manipulated by the adults and it was time to stand up on her own.

This is the second time I saw Jin Kyung play the baddie and I love it. She is so elegant but that maniacal laugh is scary (but not Cheon Seo Jin level). I also found the feud between the sisters very interesting. They were both bad people – Jung Ah is supposedly worse that Yeon Woo, and yet I was rooting for Jung Ah to win over Yeon Woo.

I also loved Sung Jae. He made a mistake not being brave enough to defend Yoon Su during the scandal, but I’m glad he finally found the courage to be like Yoon Su and expose the corruption. I actually wished Sung Jae and Yoon Su got back in the end. I thought he was a nice guy.

The drama ends with another time jump (not sure how long) but Seung Yoo and Yoon Su meet again the same way they did years ago (through a math group chat). But this time, Yoon Su finally accepted Seung Yoo’s love and they kiss. I felt that the romance wasn’t needed in the story. They could have ended as best friends or teacher-mentor and it still would have been a great ending. But the romance wasn’t the main story.

Rating: 8/10

Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim S1 (2017)

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Drama: Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim (๋‚ญ๋งŒ๋‹ฅํ„ฐ ๊น€์‚ฌ๋ถ€)
Network: SBS
Episodes: 20 + 1 special episode
Release Date: November 7, 2016 – January 17, 2017
Runtime: Monday & Tuesday 22:00

Plot
This medical KDrama is about the everyday lives of the doctors and nurses in Doldam Hospital, which is led by the great Doctor Kim Sabu.

Main Cast
Han Suk Kyu – Kim Sabu / Bu Yong Ju
Yoo Yeon Suk – Kang Dong Ju
Seo Hyun Jin – Yoon Seo Jeong
Yang Se Jong – Do Il Beom
Jin Kyung – Oh Myung Sim
Im Won Hee – Jang Gi Tae
Kim Min Jae – Park Eun Tak
Byun Woo Min – Nam Do Il
Choi Jin Ho – Do Yun Wan
Jang Hyuk Jin – Song Hyun Chul
Seo Eun Su – Woo Yeon Hwa
Joo Hyun – Chairman Shin

Review
Heard so many wonderful reviews about this show and season 2. I finally had the chance to catch this drama this year (it was in my bucket list for the longest time). Maybe I’m really not a fan of medical Kdramas (i only watch 1 medical drama a year) or I just kept comparing this to Grey’s Anatomy (i know i shouldn’t but that’s the only medical drama I avidly watched for most of its run until they killed off McDreamy), but I didn’t loved it as much as everyone did. I mean, I liked it, it just took a week or two for me to finish the 21 episodes (while simultaneously watching 3 other dramas), but this drama wasn’t a big WOW-i loved it so much-why did i only watch it now.

I think the main reason is I didn’t like the majority of the characters. Yes, even Kim Sabu. I loved Nurse Oh, Yoon Seo Jeong and Dr. Nam from episode 1 but the others? Kim Sabu and Kang Dong Ju I only started really liking them around ep 13. Do Il Beom? Ugh! Probably episode 17 or 18. He was too whiny. Jang Gi Tae was too dramatic and corny. Absolutely detested Dr. Song and President Do. Everyone else is just okay.

There were not a lot of dramatic or unusual cases in every episode. The whole squabble about who gets to do Chairman Shin’s surgery went 2 episodes too long. There were a lot of repetitive plot points. The young doctors do something wrong or they’re too whiny, Kim Sabu gets all grumpy and angry while teaching them, they learn a bit, then they do another mistake in the next episode. President Do comes and goes as he pleases to stop Kim Sabu, Kim Sabu finds a way to one up President Do and show his brilliance. Rinse and Repeat for 21 episodes. I only started to really enjoy the episodes and the cases from episode 15. And after Chairman Shin’s surgery storyline was over, we finally get to see a lot of scenes showing each of the doctors perform surgery, which I was waiting for.

I couldn’t understand the reason for the intense hatred of President Do against Kim Sabu. President Do was already VP at that time and wasn’t doing any surgeries. Kim Sabu was the star surgeon. How can they be rivals when they have different positions? Was Do scared that he’ll get overshadowed by Sabu? That Sabu will try to take his place? But Sabu never wanted his position in the first place. He is so popular and gets so many VIP clients to the hospital, shouldn’t Do be happy that he is raking in the profits without taking credit for himself? I get that they have different views about running a hospital, but I don’t think it merits ruining someone’s career. I think this was my second main issue why I couldn’t enjoy the intense scenes between the two. Plus, the final showdown in episode 20 during the celebratory party was LAME!!! They just kept talking back to each other without anything significant happening — until they had a fist fight! YES! Finally! Sometimes they just need to get physical and get all the anger and hurt out. And I like that after the fight, President Do came over and they had a good talk/truce.

So what did I like about the drama? I liked the growth that each doctor had during the course of the show. It took a long time though.
– Kang Dong Ju only had closure around episode 18 (or 19). I loved that he was grown so much from being a bratty top student to a real doctor. Plus his amazing stitching skills after practicing so many times got me clapping and cheering for him. He is a good student, he just needed a chance to be himself after getting rid of all his past hurt and prejudices.
– Do Il Beom, for the most part i didn’t like. He kept lying about his experience, he was arrogant and selfish. But i liked that Kim Sabu finally got through to him, and that he finally had the guts to confront his father (again too late, around episode 19 or 20) and be Do Il Beom, not President Do’s son. I still don’t like how he mistreats Yeon Hwa repeatedly. I get that he is trying to teach her, but shouting at her in front of everyone is not the right way.
– Yoon Seo Jung had some sort of closure, but not fully, which I’m sad. She got her dream of doing a collaborative surgery with Kim Sabu. She fell in love and finally got together with Kang Dong Ju. But how she got over her PTSD was not fully explored. She didn’t even talked about it with Kang Dong Ju. Even the coffee with the other nurse wasn’t satisfying. Is it just “let’s leave the dead guy” alone? He was a cheater but Seo Jeong never found out and it’s okay because she is over him?
– Kim Sabu, yes, he was a coward back then. He didn’t want to be a teacher, he just happened to be so good that students followed him. He was kind hearted but he was passive. He had a lot of regrets about what happened to his former student. And I loved that he finally embraced himself as a teacher to the young doctors. That he finally found the confidence to fight back and not run away like he did before. And i loved that he remained true to himself and will keep on staying at Doldam Hospital.

Life is about turning into different roads. Whether you want it or not, you have to face the reality which is placed in front of you. You can’t find the right answer every single time. But Teacher Kim always said this, “We need to keep asking questions about why we live and what we live for. The moment you give up on that, the romance in life ends.”

Kang Dong Ju narration, episode 20

I’m thinking if I should go straight to season 2 and break my 1 medical drama a year rule (haha!). But the April and May dramas are too overwhelming, so many good dramas are ongoing that I need to catch up very quickly!

Rating: 8/10