The Killer’s Shopping List (2022)

Profile:
Drama: The Killer’s Shopping List (살인자의 쇼핑목록)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 8
Release Date: April 27 – May 19, 2022
Runtime: Wed. & Thu. 22:30

Plot: A murderer is out killing women in the neighborhood. Daesung tries to solve the murder through the clues in items the killer buys in the supermarket.

Main Cast:
Lee Kwang Soo – Ahn Dae Sung
Kim Seol Hyun – Do A Hee
Jin Hee Kyung – Han Myung Sook

Review:
This is a simple and short mystery murder drama that makes you think of who-did-it. I love the idea of trying to solve the case by analyzing the items bought in the supermarket!

Adding Lee Kwang Soo as the lead helps make the show fun and light. But they are always leaving the supermarket unattended, no wonder sales are going down LOL. I had a feeling the murderer was not anyone from the supermarket team so I liked how they revealed each one’s secret/story per episode. You really do not know what a person is going through day to day.

This drama is also not just fun and games because what happened to Yul is heartbreaking and traumatic for a little girl!

Sometimes the actions of the characters are dumb. I particularly do not like Detective Choi and the older police officer. And 5 dollar guy was annoying.

The last episode felt like they dragged the story to be able to have 1 hour episode. The killer was able to get away because the leads focused on room 408 when it was more urgent to arrest the killer. The drama also didn’t really explain why the killer killed the 2 other victims.

Rating: 8/10

The Great Battle (2018)

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Movie: The Great Battle (안시성)
Release Date: September 19, 2018
Runtime: 135 min.
Distributor: Next Entertainment World
Country: South Korea

Cast
Jo In Sung – Yang Manchu
Nam Joo Hyuk – Samul
Park Sung Woong – Taizhong
Bae Sung Woo – Choo Soo Ji
Um Tae Goo – Paso
Seol Hyun – Bekha
Park Byung Eun – Poong
Oh Dae Hwan – Hwalbo
Jung Eun Chae – Shi Mi
Sung Dong Il – Woo Dae

Review
As the movie name suggests, this 2 hour movie is about the 2 month battle between the 5,000 army of Commander Yang in Ansi vs the 200,000 army of Chinese emperor Taizhong.

Not sure how accurate the war strategy depicted in the movie, but while watching with my friend, we were thinking, if we were Yang, how can we defeat a strong army with few troops and limited resources? The answer is a lot of strategy, courage, and faith. We did think they could have done more to defeat the Chinese army, like using fire and pushing the ladder much earlier but i guess they delayed these for a more epic scenes.

This movie boasts of an ensemble cast so they tried to have some story for each one, like Samul’s trust in Yang, the rivalry between the Hwalbo and Poong, the tragic love story between Paso and Bekha, and love between Woo Dae and his mom. Jumong’s bow added a mythical touch to the story (like King Arthur and his sword or Thor and his hammer).

Rating: 8.5/10

Awaken (2021)

Profile:
Drama: Awaken (낮과 밤)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: November 30, 2020 – January 19, 2021
Runtime: Monday & Tuesday 21:00

Plot:
A detective, rookie cop and ex FBI agent try to solve a series of murders, which maybe connected to the White Night Village tragedy 28 years ago.

Main Cast:
Namgoong Min – Do Jung Woo
Lee Chung Ah – Jamie Leighton
Seolhyun – Gong Hye Won
Yoon Sun Woo – Moon Jae Woong
Yoon Kyung Ho – Lee Ji Wook

Review:
Anything Namgoong Min, I will watch! I love him so much! And why are my favorite ahjussis bad guys?? I’m not used to them being bad. Anyways, this is a scifi drama so you need to adjust your viewing lens to enjoy this.

I thought the premise was interesting. Kids being experimented on a remote island. One night, people just started killing themselves. Only 7 (if i remember correctly) survived, plus 3 unknown kids. Several years later, the kids are grown up. The experiments are still ongoing and Do Jung Woo, the top test subject is a detective hell bent on taking down the White Night foundation and stop the experiments.

I think for the most part, this drama was able to tell its story, link the plots from episode 1 to episode 16 quite well, even the ending wrapped up each of the characters’ stories neatly. What they didn’t do well is to setup the full background and history of the what, who, how and why. So if you need to know everything to believe the story, then you’ll probably hate this. But if you take the story for what it is and let go some of the logic (remember, this is science fiction so imagination is required), then this is good enough.

I like Do Jung Woo – although I mostly don’t understand him – I know he’s super intelligent, but he also seems to have speed and strength and he doesn’t seem to die! At a very young age, he was able to come up with a formula to gain immortal life. Something his mother and Hye Won’s dad has been trying to solve for years. I like the twist on the pink lollipop – I’ve been wondering for 16 episodes what it was for and I liked the reveal on what it was supposed to be! I loved the piece about being a “monster” — the final act was a nice surprise as we finally understand what it means! I preferred a different ending for Jung Woo, I didn’t mind if he didn’t survive the explosion, but I guess knowing that he’s alive is good enough. I was shipping him with Hye Won — but I know it’s futile to think of any future between them.

Just to go back to the research and Jung Woo’s mom, the mom was too creepy!!! I have a lot of questions — simple ones like I was confused at first if they were real kids or test tube babies but looks like the mother really gave birth to them — but who’s the father?? The mom was too obsessed with her research I dont know when and how she would have gotten pregnant twice. Same with Gong Il Do. I even thought that maybe Hyun Hee and Il Do had the kids or maybe it was Son Min Ho but I’m glad they didn’t go the makjang route. I was shocked that the mom never aged and we later learn the reason for it, but why did it take them years to track the 3 kids??? That i couldn’t understand. how could they not know that Jung Woo is 113? He is quite visible and if the kids can recognize him, why not the foundation, Minho, Il Do or Hyun Hee? I also liked how they resolved Hyun Hee’s story — that living forever in pain and suffering is better punishment than a quick death.

Gong Hye Won – i liked her a lot, but I found it funny that she already resigned from the police force yet she was able to run around with her gun and arrest people. She’s also amazing at kicking the bad guy’s butt – it actually made me wonder if his father ever tried to inject some serums on her. I also liked that she was smart and was able to figure things out even outside the police or Jung Woo.

As for Jamie Leighton, I was intrigued by her at the start, but I never warmed up to her character, mostly because of how she treated Jung Woo – like she was so sure he was the killer etc. When the reveal showed that not only were they brother-sister, they were actually twins, I still didn’t warm up to her, and it’s because I thought she didn’t do enough to help Jung Woo. She mostly did her own investigation with Ji Wook and the third child (which I appreciated because it ran parallel to Jung Woo’s investigation on the secret lab and foundation). Even in the end, I didn’t even feel that she mourned her brother’s death. She just went back to US as if nothing earth shattering happened. I also didn’t really see her disassociate identity disorder (will call this MPD) (was it whenever she tried to stop a truck?

The actor playing Lee Ji Wook will forever be Teddy Jeong to me (from Team Bulldog). He was annoying at the start, but I also end up liking him. I still dont know how he was able to quickly figure things out, like immediately thinking that Jamie has MPD without any facts/evidence supporting his theory. I thought it was to setup the plot that Moon Jae Woong has MPD. He was also there when Jung Woo was trying to get info from Son Minho (that first time when Jungwoo was tagged as the suspect) – he filmed the whole thing yet he didn’t hear Jung Woo talk about the White Night Foundation or the name of the president. I thought that was odd that he wasn’t curious to start researching about the foundation. but i love this links to Hye Won because his investigation also helped a lot.

Moon Jae Woong – middle of the story I already knew he wasn’t the main baddie. I thought his main reason for hating the twins because they left him all alone that night was dumb. Just like what Jung Woo said, “Didn’t I tell you to wait for me?” Can you imagine if he waited, he wouldn’t have been struggling all this time and harboring a useful grudge?? And having MPD as side effect of the drug also wasn’t explained. And how did he know and remember how to use lucid dreams to do the forewarned murders just like how Jung Woo did all those years ago? I also wasn’t sure if his computer skill was due to his special ability or he was just naturally good at it? Poor Yong Shik though, thought he didn’t deserve to die like that but at least he was finally free of the third child.

Son Min Ho – although very critical to the story as the face of the White Night Foundation, I couldn’t understand why he was never held accountable for the tragedy. We also dont really have enough information on his motives, other than greed and wanting to be the chairman of the new foundation. i think he was a side villain that didn’t really matter and thought it was fitting to die as a test subject.

The main baddie — it was so obvious from the start that he was the President that Jung Woo’s reveal about him fell flat to me. What i wanted to know was the why and how. The flashbacks saw him already old, so I couldn’t understand how the drug was able to reverse his aging. I thought it was so the person will never age (like what happened to Hyun Hee) but here, he just became young, which didn’t make sense. And how can no one not recognize him as the previous president? He didn’t do any plastic surgery, so there must still be some pictures from his previous times. And how did he become chief secretary with zero background /past? and beyond wanting to have an immortal life, who were the two old people attached to the tubes? I’m guessing one is his previous wife, but who is the other one? And what’s the point of keeping them alive? So many questions, not a lot answered, but i guess that wasn’t the main point of the story. We just needed to know he is the guy funding everything. Seeing him die in his old self was satisfying.

The unsung hero of this drama, for me, is Old Man. I loved him. He seems to know everything! He’s a sniper, he can get all the info that Jung Woo needs, he even got the ambulance/get away car for Jung Woo. I’m hoping that they are still together, keeping Jung Woo company and almost like his father figure.

Rating: 8.5/10 (8 for the story, but adding +0.5 because of Namgoong Min)