Narco-Saints (2022)

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Drama: Narco-Saints / Suriname (수리남)
Network: Netflix
Episodes: 6
Release Date: September 9, 2022
Country: South Korea

Plot:
A businessman who goes to Suriname to import skate to Korea ends up helping the NIS on a mission to capture an evasive druglord.

Main Cast
Ha Jung Woo – Kang Ingu
Hwang Jung Min – Pastor Jeon Yohan
Park Hae Soo – Choi Changho
Yoo Yeon Suk – David Julio Park
Jo Woo Jin – Byun Kitae

Review
This drama feels like an extended movie. Turns out it was supposed to be a movie, but they decided to make it into a short drama. To be honest, the story is nothing new, but it was an intense 6 episodes of anticipation and thrill. There were lots of double crossing, guns, gore, and drugs. Surprisingly, no nudity except for 1 short scene. The stellar cast of Ha Jung Woo, Hwang Jung Min, Park Hae Soo, Yoo Yeon Suk and Jo Woo Jin made the story more larger than life than the usual drug movies/drama.

I love that Ingu as the ML is very smart and capable, quick thinker, calm even when lying, and plays well with the big guys, even outsmarting both drug lords and NIS. HJW made Ingu work very well, and any other actor may not have made Ingu sympathetic. I love that there’s always this doubt if he is really working with NIS or getting tempted by Yohan or if he has his own agenda. That final fight scene with the pastor was a long time coming and felt satisfied seeing him punch and strangle the pastor after ruining his life. (And HJW looked so hot holding the gun lol) Ingu has been very calm and biding his time ever since he got out of prison, so seeing Ingu finally snapped and fight — I was also thinking, that is HJW that I love!! Ingu may not be as buff as the others but he made up for it with his judo moves, smart strategies and fancy suits.

Pastor was so magnetic and powerful. And weaselly enough to not get caught over the years, but he didnt seem as smart as I expected him to be. He was easily played or maybe he trusted Ingu too much and thought they could really be partners. I loved how sick it was for Pastor to create a church, get the blind believers to follow him, feed them drugs and make them dependent on him.

Byun was bad ass and it was obvious he was going to be the secret agent. That fight with the bodyguard was fantastic. Poor David and Chen Zhen.

There’s a lot of conversations so some found the episodes boring but I loved them (or maybe I was so mesmerized with HJW every time he’s onscreen) — yes, I’m completely obsessed with HJW.

Some thoughts on the ending (spoiler alert):
I wonder what happened to the girl and the rest of the cult. I wish there was a short resolution to them. Were they also arrested? Was the girl able to go back to her family?

At first, I thought the ending would be Ingu taking over the coca farm – that would have been fun for a season 2. He is so smart, he can probably do better than Yohan, but I don’t want Ingu to fight with Changho or get arrested and die. But still, I was okay with the ending since they neatly closed the drama with Ingu finally back and reunited with his family. I laughed when Ingu told his wife, “wow you got prettier!” and the wife responded with, “why did you get uglier?” HAHAHA. Ingu learned to treasure what he has and not get too greedy. And also, don’t trust the government. Like seriously, Ingu risked his life to help NIS, but NIS didn’t pay him cash like they promised. Also, interesting thing about the baseball. Yohan really did trust him and wanted him to be his partner.

Here’s fun promotion /game from the cast in case you want to get to them more:

Rating: 8.75/10 (9 less 0.25 for the unresolved cult)

Hospital Playlist S2

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Drama: Hospital Playlist 2 (슬기로운 의사생활 2)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 12
Release Date: June 17 – September 16, 2021
Runtime: Thursday 21:00
Country: South Korea

Plot
Season 2 continues from the first season as we see the 5 friends/doctors and their relationship with their patients, colleagues, families and partners.

Main Cast
Jo Jung Suk – Ikjun
Jeon Mi Do – Songhwa
Yoo Yeon Seok – Jeongwon
Jung Kyung Ho – Junwan
Kim Dae Myung – Seokhyung

Review
Season 1 review – Hospital Playlist (2020)

Season two was not as exciting as Season 1 but I still loved their relationship and seeing their day to day activities.

The first few songs released didn’t feel as nice as s1 but made up for it in the latter part. Hearing my old favorites like “I Love You More Than Anything” by Bijou and “Already One Year” by Browneyes being remade is so nice, since the younger generation and newbie Kdrama and Kpop fans can listen and enjoy these classic hits. Plus the unexpected cover of Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” by Ikjun (and the acoustic version sung by Yoon Mirae). We also get to see Jeon Mido sing in her normal voice in that episode when they were singing karaoke – Junwan and Iksun thought Songhwa had terrible singing voice, but to Ikjun she was like an angel (she sang Come on Baby Tonight – i dont know the original singer, i just know the FinKL version).

The friends started out as single, now they all have someone by their side. Esp loved Ikjun-Songhwa and Seokhyung-Minha. I didnt like what Iksun did to Junwan but still loved them. Never been a fan of Winter Garden. Rosa and Director was also great! I just thought that just because they were now coupled out doesn’t mean they will spend less time with each other. I didn’t like how Ikjun said this might be their last performance. In season 1, Jeongwon and Junwan had gf but they continued to meet up regularly. I dont see how they can start being busy when Minha is just in the hospital like Gyeol and Songhwa is already part of the group.

Each episode was sooo long that I honestly fast forwarded a lot of the medical scenes, esp those in the operating room. It’s because there wasn’t any tense situations, almost always the doctors have successful surgery. I wished they lessened that part and focused more on the personal relationships. In season 1, Gyeol had a huge crush on Jeongwon who never showed her liked her more than as an intern but then last episode he suddenly confessed and they were a couple. In season 2, Seokhyung has been turning down Minha all this time but then again he had an epiphany (and I dont know when or why or how) and confessed to Minha that he likes her. Not only that, but Jeongwon in the last episode again dropped a bomb that he will go to the US to study about bowel transplant and Gyeol is coming with him. Like what? What for? Doesn’t she have her own life? What will she do there for 1 year? I didn’t think they had to be together even in their professional lives. A lot of fans may kill me, but I never felt any chemistry between Winter Garden.

There were less stories about the nurses and interns this season but i loved the episode about the importance of the ER team.

One of my fave characters this season is Jaehak, his bromance with Junwan, his story about his wife and getting his money back from the scammer!

I’m gonna miss the group but I don’t think season 3 is necessary.

Rating: 8/10

New Year Blues (2021)

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Movie: New Year Blues (새해전야)
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 😊). 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

Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim S1 (2017)

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Drama: Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim (낭만닥터 김사부)
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