New Year Blues (2021)

Movie: New Year Blues (์ƒˆํ•ด์ „์•ผ)
Release Date: February 10, 2021
Runtime: 114 min.
Distributor: Acemaker Movie Works
Country: South Korea

This is a story of 4 different couples a week before New Year. The movie is quite long, clocking in at almost 2 hours. Halfway I was started to get a little bored because the story kept switching between the 4 couples. I think 4 was too much. This would have been better if there were only 3 couples that we needed to focus on.

My fave couple was Kim Kang Woo and Yoo Inna (or maybe I’m just biased towards Kangwoo ๐Ÿ˜Š). I like the gruff bodyguard and sweet female couple.

My fave story/ending was Lee Dong Hwi and Chen Du Ling plus Yum Hye Ran as the sister. I also cried when Dong Hwi’s character was confessing to his fiance. and laughed when he came out of the drum.

The most romantic setting is Lee Yeon Hee and Yoo Yeon Seok in Argentina although their story seems out of place. (Sidenote: why does Yeonhee keeps going abroad when she gets heartbroken lol) and the funny cameo of Choi Siwon.

The one I was confused because I didn’t know why they were fighting in the first place was Yoo Teo and Choi Soo Young’s characters. They seemed to be okay, I think it was more on guilt from the guy’s side.

Overall it was a nice holiday film.

Rating: 8.5/10

Woman of 9.9 Billion (2020)

Drama: Woman of 9.9 Billion (99์–ต์˜ ์—ฌ์ž)
Network: KBS2
Episodes: 32
Release Date: December 4, 2019 – January 23, 2020
Runtime: Weds. & Thurs. 22:00

A man and a woman encounters a truck accident one night and discover that the truck contains boxes of money worth 99 million dollars. They decide to steal the money. An ex-cop tries to investigate his brother’s death and finds out about the stolen money and meets with the woman. He helps her run away from the owners of the money, who are trying their best to get it back before their boss returns to Korea.

Main Cast
Cho Yeo Jeong – Jeong Seo Yeon
Kim Kang Woo – Kang Tae Woo
Oh Nara – Yoon Hee Ju
Lee Ji Hoon – Lee Jae Hoon
Jung Woong In – Hong In Pyo
Im Tae Kyung – Leon / Daniel Kim

The big question that this drama is trying to answer: how much are you willing to do and sacrifice to get 99 million dollars?

There were so many different people trying to get hold of the money for their personal reasons, and I liked the overall message that money (especially greed) shouldn’t control your life.

Money flows like water. From top to bottom. The one with money rules over the ones without it. It sweeps over everything cruelly, and takes everything relentlessly. After being swept away like that, nothing remains. Money blazes again like a fire. From the bottom of the wick, to the top of the flame, it burns with no hesitation. It never flickers or stops. The fame of desire. The flame burns everything it touches, in order not to get out. Money eats up human desire and it has no mercy. You have to be merciless just like money. So you can sweep over everything and burn everything.

Seo Yeon’s monologue in episode 23

Tae Woo is probably the only “good” person in this drama, everyone else, even Seo Yeon is so gray. I loved it because it felt so real (although the situation is not) – as much as i love to hate Heeju or Jae Hun, i could understand them. Even Minkyu and Seung Jae, i actually felt bad for them.

I love Tae Woo and Seo Yeon as could-have-been couple. They only met recently but then understood each other well. Maybe because they went through the same experience.

Tae woo’s confession and Seo Yeon telling him about his brother’s death was painful.

I was disappointed at the final scene because Tae Woo liked Seo Yeon so much he was willing to go with her to Tahiti, but then he ended up rejecting Seo Yeon 2x and it didn’t make sense to me!!! He was the one who went for her and she was the one who hesitated, but in the airport scene, she said, “I will wait for you to join me in Tahiti”. I was expecting him to say, “yes, wait for me, I’ll go to you when I’m ready”, but instead he said, “Dont come back. Stay there and be happy.” ๐Ÿ˜ฅ Just killed any chances of them being together!!! I’m so sad.

The epic showdown in the middle of drama where they all gathered in one abandoned warehouse was amazing!

Loved Seung Jae even though his character didn’t stay long. I already have a sense that he will die protecting her sister, but didn’t expected it to happen so soon!

I also appreciated Jang Geum Ja becoming like Seo Yeon’s mentor / mother figure in this drama. She got burned by her greed for money years ago and it is perfect for her to advise Seo Yeon not to do the same thing. And I love the gradual change in Seo Yeon’s attitude from “i need to have this money if if it kills me” to “i will earn my own money”.

Probably better if this ended in 12 eps. Loved everything until Seo Yeon saved Leon. It was a fantastic idea – Leon wants to kill Seo Yeon, but she ends up saving his life. What will he do next? The whole part about Daniel Kim was messy plotwise. I was expecting more fireworks and twists, now that Daniel Kim is hiding in public and interacting with Seo Yeon, Hee Ju and Tae Woo, but it didn’t really happen.

The main villain, Leon / Daniel Kim is not convincing to me. Maybe it’s because the face of the actor is too nice to be scary, or because he doesn’t have any background story that will make me at least understand his motivations. Drama mostly told us he was bad, his goons kill people but I don’t see him actually do anything more than to look expensive. And how can he evade authorities from all over world and be respected as Daniel Kim without anyone knowing who he really is? I thought that was too unbelievable. And if he is really a genius, how can he try to go back to Korea and play the same investment fraud scheme and think he can get away with it?

The final showdown was underwhelming because i expected something as explosive as the epic scene in the middle but still okay since it neatly wrapped all the character stories (mostly through death lol)

Funny that almost every time, In Pyo gets the money, mostly because he hides in the shadows, so when everything dies down, he comes in and takes the money. Quite ingenious actually, and he is able to plant all the bugs without everyone knowing (except for Min Kyu) and knows all the details even if he was really out of place. A little too convenient at times, that he is always there when Seo Yeon needs him. When he finally got the money and ready to escape Korea, he realizes life is not complete with Seo Yeon by his side and so at the eleventh hour, he suddenly developed a conscience and went back for Seo Yeon. And eventually dies saving her. I think he was a psychopath all through out the drama that I’m not sure if I wanted to remember him as a “hero” although him dying is like paying for his sins. But I also think that if he was able to escape with the money, technically he deserved it because he worked hard for it, but it also didn’t feel right because it wasn’t his money to take.

Not sure how the writer did it but I actually felt sad when Jae Hun died. His attitude also made a 360 degrees from cheating to loyal husband in the end, but I could also sympathize with him. He was under pressure by his father in law, and was being controlled by his older wife. Still doesn’t justify his previous actions, but at least he redeemed himself by telling Seo Yeon that Daniel Kim is Leon.

I still have mixed feelings about Hee Ju, and again, terrific writing and acting here. Hated her for being so bad to Seo Yeon but I know she had more reasons to get the money and seek revenge on Leon. I’m glad that in the end, the money went to the right person.

Overall, I loved this drama. There were some plotholes and the show was very dark, like a super extended crime movie, but still loved it.

Rating: 8.5/10