The Call (2020)

Movie: The Call (콜)
Release Date: November 27, 2020
Runtime: 114 min.
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Distributor: Next Entertainment World
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Main Cast:
Park Shin Hye – Kim So Yeon
Jun Jong Seo – Oh Young Suk
Kim Sung Ryung – So yeon’s mom
Park Ho San – So Yeon’s dad
Lee El – Young suk’s mom

Scary!! The movie is about a girl who is able to communicate to a girl who used to live in the same house using an old wireless phone. Just when she thought she saved her from being killed by her stepmom, turns out she unleashed a monster.

I was loving the movie until that gas explosion scene and the story went downhill very very fast.

I’d blame this with the main protagonist who I thought was dumb. Everything that happened to her happened because she made too many stupid decisions.

And the while parallel universe logic was too simple and unbelievable. Everything changes in the future but its only physical. She never gets the memories from the past and that knowledge to help her win against the girl.

And that final twist at the end was too much. I almost didn’t see it because I thought the movie was over and wasn’t paying attention. I’d say they should have scrapped it.

Rating: 7.5/10

Sisyphus: The Myth (2021)

Drama: Sisyphus: The Myth (시지프스)
Network: JTBC
Episodes: 16
Release Date: February 17 – April 8, 2021
Runtime: Wed. & Thu. 21:00

A young female from the future goes back to modern time Seoul to protect a genius engineer from enemies who won’t stop at nothing to get his time travel machine. They work together to try to change the future and to prevent the destruction of Seoul.

Main Cast:
Cho Seung Woo – Han Tae Sul
Park Shin Hye – Gang Seo Hae
Tae In Ho – Eddy Kim
Jung Hye In – Kim Seo Jin
Heo Joon Seok – Han Tae San
Kim Byung Chul – Sigma
Choi Jung Woo – Hwang Hyun Seung
Sung Dong Il – CEO Park
Chae Jong Hyeop – Choi Jae Sun

I really liked the first half. The premise was so interesting, the visuals were flashy and story was action packed. The middle (around ep 8-10) dragged because the story focused on the budding romance between Taesul and Seohae and it felt like nothing was happening. Then after that, the story stopped making sense. Probably the reason why I didn’t stop halfway through because I love Taesul and Seohae as a pair. I’m not exactly rooting for their romance (Park Shinhye still can’t kiss well on screen) but I loved them together, as friends, as comrades. And Taesul always has great ideas, like he makes the world as his own science experiment! haha. He may not be good at fighting or guns (that’s why I love badass Seohae), but he is so smart and plans ahead. But just like the story lost focus in the latter episodes, I thought Taesul’s actions also started getting conflicted when he fell in love with Seohae. He kept choosing the girl vs the world. Or as my cousin says, he tries choosing both because humans are greedy, but in the end, we know that we can’t have it all.

Another story line that I loved was the relationship between Seohae and her dad, both in the future and current time. As early as episode 1, we see future Seohae and her dad navigating the future bleak Seoul and we only find out the whole story and how it links to when Seohae first arrived in current Seoul in the last 2 episodes. While the parallel story was interesting, i felt that it was revealed too late and it didn’t have as much impact to me. Or maybe because I just want the drama to end and put me out of my misery. *spoiler* Still doesn’t make sense to find out it was Taesul who built their shelter all along. That reveal came out of nowhere and didn’t make sense to me considering the timing of the events.

Okay, Taesan and Taesul’s bromance was sad. Time and time again Taesan protected his brother and Taesul ignored him when he got rich. That part when Taesan gave him the injection so Taesul can go back while he remains stuck in that dreamland made me cry buckets of tears. Made me wonder if Taesul invented the time machine, why didn’t he get on it to save his brother? Is it because he died before he can do it? Oh no, i’m getting confused again!

I also liked Park’s story and the Asia Mart team. At first I thought Park was that annoying character that won’t stop bothering the main leads, but turns out he was one of the most pivotal allies that Taesul can have. We also get a reveal of Park’s story, which is that he was the one sending money to his current wife, which actually made the current Park furious and beat his wife (the irony of it!). What I didn’t understand is in the end, he didn’t have any regrets anymore so he should no longer exist in the future right (and we see him glitching but he never actually disappeared because later on, he was back to his normal self helping Taesul). I didn’t want to overanalyze anymore because the story is already crazy by this time.

Now on to my rants — I have so many questions and not enough answers!! First off, in most kdramas, they at least explain the time travel rules in the first few episodes and slowly reveal the twists. But this drama decided not to explain anything, except for people being able to travel back using the uploader and downloader. I guess the writers assume we understand the rules. My biggest confusion is when did the time loop started and who started it? Is it Sigma? Is he the first one to ever time travel? But how did he know about the time travel from Taesul? And how come he doesn’t remember anything? Is it because his old self died so his memories were gone? And how long has this been going on? I’ve lost count of how many possible Seohae has come and go, as well as the bureau that kept running after them.

Second biggest rant — Sigma as a villain is too lame. I think the actor tried to look as sinister and villan-y as he can, but his reasons are not enough to blow up Korea in that big scale. he just looked like a loser who is complaining of just wanted some love. If we had known that all it takes is for someone to pat him in the back and ask him if he’s alright (like what Seohae’s dad did), then the whole thing wouldn’t have happened in the first place. I thought he was a psycho like when he was a kid, he was angry at his dad beating him so we blew up their house, but seems like he just wanted to be noticed. Similarly, Eddy as the last minute bad guy felt forced, like you think the story is over? Nope, let’s make Eddy the bad guy this time and let Taesul suffer again. I get what they’re saying though. That no mater what happens, there will always be someone who wants Taesul’s time maching. But really? Taesul being a genius and all he can think of is sacrificing himself? That’s like a coward’s way out. His final decision just wasted everyone’s efforts of trying to keep him alive and change the future (and our 16 hours of watching and hoping the ending is fantastic).

There are also lots of unnecessary or wasted characters like Jaesun — instead of just being the guy that keeps sticking to Seohae’s side like an unwanted admirer, I was hoping he has more purpose to the story, but he seems to just be there when Seohae needs to be rescued. And also that guy that keeps chasing after Seohae — i have zero interest in this story because his anger at Seohae is so unwarranted. I thought that part where Seohae told him off that he is angry at himself and it’s the guilt that is eating him up inside will make him stop and be Seohae’s ally. But it seems like nothing happened and he just kept pursuing Seohae even in the end.

Watch at your own risk!

Rating: 7/10

Memories of the Alhambra (2019)


Drama: Memories of the Alhambra (알함브라 궁전의 추억)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: December 1, 2018 – January 20, 2019
Runtime: Sat. & Sun. 21:00

While looking for the cryptic creator of an innovative augmented-reality game, an investment firm executive meets a woman who runs a hostel in Spain.

Main Cast
Hyun Bin – Yoo Jin Woo
Park Shin Hye – Jung Hee Joo
Park Hoon – Cha Hyung Seok
Kim Eui Sung – Cha Byung Joon
Lee Seung Joon – Park Sun Ho
Seo Jung Hoon – Min Jin Woong

It has been so long since i watched Hyun Bin in a drama. He should make more and I should keep watching his shows. He was absolutely brilliant in this drama. I can feel every emotion from him and i was just rooting for him all throughout the show. I love Park Shin Hye as well though she never seems to choose meaty characters. When i heard that this is from the same writer as W, I was a bit hesitant to watch because W started really well then just fell apart and got crazy in the end. But the premise was so interesting that i was in awe of the first episode all the way til the end. Every episode was tense and exciting as I didn’t know what to expect. As i learned from watching W, I threw all logic out of the window and just followed the story as it was narrated by Jin Woo. If you do the same, you will probably love this show. Oh, and i might spill a lot of spoilers as i run down my favorites so proceed with caution.

Favorite character – Yoo Jin Woo hands down. He is the star of the drama. This is his story. I love how developed his character was, from a rich and arrogant guy, to a broken man to a guy willing to do deep and to the distance to “save” the world. He was just so cool and determined to finish what he started, sometimes, too much stubborn and too much ethical that i sometimes want to wring his neck and tell him to just stop everything, delete his userid, go away or just create his own game without all these bugs. Maybe there wouldn’t be too many deaths. Maybe he will still be the star of the tech world. Too brilliant for his star to fade into anonymity.

Favorite bromance – Yoo Jin Woo and Secretary Seo. I never thought that they will kill him – the only one that fully trusted him and protected him. I cried so hard when even after his death, his NPC character is still there protecting Jin Woo when he is in trouble.

Most heartbreaking scene – Yoo Jin Woo realizing that Secretary Seo is dead. As mentioned above, it was a big shock to me and i probably had the same look on Jin Woo’s face when we realize that he didn’t make it. Seeing him looking stone faced with arrows on his back was just terrible. The second most heartbreaking episode is when Jin Woo had to stab Secretary Seo to delete his bug. He hugged him and was crying until Seo was reduced to ashes. I am sure Jin Woo’s cries are a mix of regret and love for his friend.

Best acting scene – When Jin Woo was trying to take out the knife from his chest. Wow! You would think he was stabbed for real the way his veins were popping out.

Favorite couple – Unfortunately it’s not Jin Woo and Hee Joo. i didn’t really feel a lot of chemistry between them, but i could understand why they were drawn to each other. Hee Joo is like his safe place when he wants to recharge. But is it love? maybe some how but i dont think it’s passionate or romantic love. their relationship felt more like close friends being there for each other. Even their kiss i didn’t feel anything. But i am thankful to Hee Joo for being there for Jin Woo and for believing in him. I wish the writer gave Hee Joo more things to do than just cry. Instead, my favorite couple is Jin Woo and Hee Joo’s sister – they had better chemistry! i loved Min Joo’s scenes with Jin Woo – if Min Joo was older, i would think she could have been a way better match for Jin Woo. oh btw, Park Shin Hye as Emma was just gorgeous.

Character I hated – surprisingly it’s not Professor Cha, but Go Yura. She is a b*tch and a gold digger. One of Jin woo’s worst decisions is to marry her. I hate her more than Professor Cha because she is more manipulative and is not even sorry for what she has done. As for Professor cha, the minute i saw the actor on screen, i just knew he will be one (if not the) bad guy – i mean, he just has this evil look – he probably has perfected it since Train to Busan, Mr Sunshine and W. I think Professor Cha is not necessarily bad, had Jin Woo not go crazy, he probably wouldn’t have attempted to steal his company and put him down.

Stupidest character – Chanyeol’s character Se Joo is the main reason every thing fell apart in the first place. Why did he give the game to Jin Woo if he knew there was something wrong with it?? It only started because of him and i can’t believe Jin Woo gone through all the hardships just to release / save him and they never end up meeting!! and Se Joo as the main creator/developer of the game was useless! he didn’t know how to fix his own game, and he ended up being applauded by Jin Woo’s company employees, got his own subsidiary and money as researcher! the F!! and he has no remorse as to what happend to Jin Woo. Because of him, Jin Woo killed his best friend, hurt his leg, lost his secretary, pushed out of his own company and got stuck inside the game.

Most pitiful character – Aside from Jin Woo, it’s Sun Ho. that scene where he was inside the church and finding the remains of his 4 friends – Hyung Seok, Professor Cha, Secretary Seo and Jin Woo is a scene i wouldn’t want to happen to me. he was the only one who didn’t get sucked into the game, was level headed and tried to keep the company afloat. losing his friends, esp Jin Woo must be hard for him. No wonder he ended up retiring and stepping down after a year. But in a way, it was partly his fault. Jin Woo told him there’s something wrong with the game and yet he didn’t believe him and he still continued to push for the game. Likewise, Choi Yang Joo – i’m grateful he helped Jin Woo create weapons and help him in the game, but i didn’t even see a scene where he was sad about Jin Woo. He just continued to develop the game.

So, the burning question – did i like the ending? If you just follow the storyline, i would say, it was the right ending. It made sense that he gets stuck there (assuming you accept that Jin Woo is supposedly a bug that had to be deleted but that’s another story). Because where else can he go? I honestly was hoping that when Se Joo gets out of the game, the final episode would be Se Joo finding a way to release Jin Woo from the game. I mean, that’s the whole point of the drama right? Jin Woo leveled up in hopes of finding a way to fix the bug in the game. And yet, it didn’t end that way. Jin Woo got trapped inside the game instead. when you think about it, Jin Woo has been living and breathing the game for more than a year and for me, it felt like by the last episode, he is no longer Yoo Jin woo, the tech entrepreneur, but Jin Woo, the master AR gamer. thus, it made sense that he ended up inside the game. So, did i like the ending? I liked it but didn’t love it.

Do i wish for season 2? Yes. Yes. Yes. Jin Woo deserves a second chance at life. It would be interesting to see him get out of the game and try to start his human life again. Do i still want Hee Joo with Jin Woo when he gets out? Uh, not really. I think a good season 2 will be some other gamer girl who can release him from the game. Maybe someone as tough and determined as Jin Woo. The only girl i can think of right now is Ha Ji Won (who can do action and be feminine at the same time, plus it will be a good reunion) but Jeon Ji Hyun x Hyun Bin pairing would also be interesting.