Category Archives: Review

Review on Korean drama

Poem from The Equator Man

In The Equator Man, Seon Woo reads a beautiful poem to Ji Won.

너에게 이 시를 보낸다
I send this poem to you
니옆에 있는게 행복하고
I am happy being next to you and
니옆에 있는데 두려운 나는
I am afraid while I am next to you
너를 만나기 이전으로 돌아가고 싶지 않다
I don't want to return to the state before I met you

깊은 터널에 갖혀 앞이 보이지 않는 시간
Inside a deep tunnel, the times we cannot see ahead
너와함께 이 터널의 끝을 볼수 있다면 얼마나 좋을까
It would be so good if we can see the end of this tunnel together
우리 둘만 아는 길
A road only we know
우리 둘만 아는 시간
A time only we know
너도 나와 같은 마음이라면
If you feel the same way as me

Tell me

난 길을 떠날거야
I will leave

넌 여기남아도 난 널 새겨서 가는길이 외롭지 않을것이다
Even if you remain here, I won't be lonely because I engraved you in my heart
그는 그녀에게 편지를 썻다
I wrote this letter to her

Important Message Told in Dream High 2

Towards the end of episode 9 of Dream High 2, an important message is left. Shin Hae-Sung was on stage talking about a dream. She says that the school is divided up into two groups. One is for the regular class and the other one is for the honor class. She asked the audience, “Is a dream only meant for the talented? If you have no talent, does that mean you shouldn’t even dream?”

“If you want to dream, you must first close your eyes. When you close your eyes, it doesn’t matter how people look at you. When you close your eyes, you can face yourself, not the person they see you as. I tell myself to never give up a dream. Because it is not for the talented but for people who dream. We will run for our dream even with our small talents.”

The message is strong and I believe it summarizes the drama very well.

Thousand Days Promise Review

Thousand Days Promise is about Lee Seo Yeon, a woman who has Alzheimer’s disease at a very young age. After Park Ji Hyung learns that she has Alzheimer’s, they get married and he takes care of her. This drama is a sad one and it was hard for me to watch. Seo Yeon was an intelligent woman and as she started to lose her memory, she turned into a fool. She forgets to turn off the stove, how to get home from work, the names of people, how to dress up and even how to go to the bathroom.

One of the things that Seo Yeon says in the drama is that she didn’t choose her path. It was given to her. She’s miserable about her life but there isn’t anything she can do to change it.

When watching Thousand Days Promise, you will see that Ji Hyung takes responsibility of his wife and does everything that he can to take care of her. It’s beautiful but I don’t think it’s common to see this in real life. Can love be so strong? After all, it is a drama.

49 Days Review

49 Days is a Korean drama that revolves around Shin Ji Hyun, a girl that gets into a big car accident a few days before her wedding. Her soul walks around and she meets the scheduler, the one that decides when someone dies. He tells Ji Hyun that she has 49 days to get three drops of tears in order to return to her body and become conscious again. Three drops of tears each from someone that is crying because of her. During the day, she lives in the body of Song Yi Kyung who is a woman that lost her family when she was a little girl and lived in the orphanage. Yi Kyung lives alone several years after her best friend’s death and she doesn’t care about her life and career.

Through her 49 days, Ji Hyun discovers that her fiance cheated on her and is trying to steal her family’s assets. She also discovers that her long time friend, Han Kang, is the man that truly loves her.

49 Days ended last week and the ending was surprising. Song Yi Kyung and Shin Ji Hyun are sisters. This is the part that was hard for me to believe. To me it seemed like the writer tried too hard to connect the two together but it didn’t quite make sense to me.

But the message of 49 Days is powerful. In the final minute of 49 Days, Yi Kyung and Han Kang stand in front of the grave of Shin Ji Hyun and Song Yi Soo. Yi Kyung and Han Kang say that people live their lives as if they will live forever but the two of them continue to live as if they have only have 49 days. Live your life as if you only have 49 days.

Dream High Review

When I first heard about Dream High I expected it to be like the 2006 MBC drama Over the Rainbow. They both are about singers and dancers becoming stars. They both had a real K-pop artists as part of their cast. Over the Rainbow has Hwanee and Dream High has Suzy from Miss A, Taecyeon and Wooyoung of 2PM, Ham Eun Jung from T-ara and IU. After finish watching Dream High, I realized that it’s a really different drama.

One of the aspects that makes Dream High a better drama is the moral of the story, the lessons that the teachers taught their students. Compete fairly, no cheating. Everyone has a dream and they should reach high for it but remember to be patient.

Another good aspect of this drama is the cast. There were at least four new faces and that can always make a drama series fresh in the eyes of the viewers. One of the questions I couldn’t quite answer throughout this drama series is “Who is hotter? Suzy or Ham Eun Jung? Kim Soo Hyun or Taecyeon?”

It was wonderful seeing Suzy’s character, Go Hye Mi, develop in this drama. In the beginning, I actually disliked her a lot. She was selfish, cruel and overall just not motivated enough to sing with any passion. Kim Soo Hyun’s character, Song Sam Dong, was able to naturally change her as a person and build confidence for her.

This is one of those Korean dramas that you just don’t want to miss.

Sign Review

Sign is a different style of drama. It’s a story about a group of forensic doctors that want to reveal the truth about one’s death. Every episode is intense with a murder mystery that makes the viewer want to keep watching. Instead of analyzing the whole series, I would like discuss about the final episode.

In the final episode of Sign, Yoon Ji Hoon dies. After the autopsy, it was revealed that it was a murder. A camera was found in Yoon Ji Hoon’s apartment and it recorded everything. He tricked Kang Seo Hyun, telling her that he has another copy of the CCTV video #9 which is hard evidence that she murdered pop star Suh Yoon Young. He told her that if she does not turn herself in to the police he would send the tape to the television station and show the whole world what a stupid daughter the presidential candidate has. She tells him to show her the tape and as he looks for the tape, she puts poison in his tea. He drinks the tea and loses all his strength. She kills him the same way as she killed pop star Suh Yoon Young.

When the video was closely examined, the investigators learned that Yoon Ji Hoon saw Seo Hyun add poison to his tea using the mirror but he still drank the tea!

Old pictures of Go Da Gyung were left inside this camera and Yoon Ji Hoon smiles as he watches them right before his death. This is the part I don’t understand. Why would anyone use his own life to catch a murderer? Even if he had a strong will to catch the murderer, if he truly loved Go Da Gyung, he should have stayed alive and be with her.

Athena: Goddess of War Review

There’s several reasons why I think Athena was a failed drama.

  • Jung Woo Sung had no charisma or muscles to show off during the whole series in comparison to Lee Byung Hun in IRIS.
  • Kim So Yun appeared in episode 17 of Athena and I don’t know why. Her family is killed by North Korean government and she swore that she would have her revenge. After that there were no sign of Kim So Yun. Was it a cameo in order to get higher ratings for this series? Will she be back in IRIS 2?
  • Did Yoon Hye In really have no choice to become a cold-blooded killer? She was a victim of riot in L.A.. Her parents died and she was saved by Son Hyuk. She thought of him as her older brother and was strongly influenced by him. But this is not enough for me to believe that she had to become a killer.
  • Soo Ae is not a right fit for Yoon Hye In. She has such an innocent-looking face, it was hard to believe that she killed anyone.
  • Han Jae Hee saw her father get killed by Song Hyuk’s gang. She should behave more professional like a real agent would. In episode 19, she went by herself with one handgun against a group of terrorists. This was very foolish of her and she died because of that.

Athena is a drama with a lot of action scenes but it failed to make me believe the story.

‘Mary Stayed Out All Night’ Ends With Little To Show

Mary Stayed Out All Night was an absolute waste of its young and talented leads comprising of Jang Geon Seok, Kim Jae Wook, and Moon Geun Young.  Being an adaptation, there probably was a bare minimum the producers had to follow, but from a one hundred plus episodes manhwa they could’ve and should’ve been able to reap better scenarios and sewn them into a cohesive mural of beauty instead of a dishevel quilt of patches.

There wasn’t anything fresh about the titular character Mary (played by MGY), but more unfortunate was she wasn’t root-worthy. She came off bland, not having fatal cons, but neither having strong nor endearing pros which made it difficult to buy that both the male leads fell in love with her so quickly and completely. The massive mob of unflattering curls overpowering MGY’s small face and frame didn’t help her character’s case either.  Even though she had a killer wardrobe of eclectic bohemian pieces, it wasn’t necessarily, for the most part, combined and matched well nor fitted in the right size on her. In fact, her wardrobe and hair were very distracting throughout the whole duration of the drama. 

Moving on, JGS’s character Mu-gul was simply a messy character to witness and endure. He had the unfortunate mixture of mopiness, insecurity, attachment isssues, rashness, and bringing it all to its disagreeable rim a lack of sufficient noogans between the ears to connect a row of vision impaired friendly numbered dots even with a How-To-Connect-the-Dots-for-Dummies besides him for reference. In terms of the character’s style, it has nothing on JGS’s real life style. In fact, Mu-gul’s style was rather tame compared to the usual ensembles JGS shows up in public in, but it does make one wonder if the stylist did his/her research or instead slacked off and just decided to pile on all the style stereotypes and prejudices of what he/she believes a young alternative bohemian rocker looks like and dresses in on Mu-gul.

Last in this trio is KJW’s Jung-in, styled from head to toe reminiscent of Jude Law’s futuristic artificial intelligent robot character in Steven Spielberg’s A.I.: Artificial Intelligence(2001). His hair was too slick and high, his face too shiny and structured, his suits too stiff and manufactured that one can almost smell the starch in the collar and hear the last snip from the tailor’s scissors before the garments were draped over his lean almost mannequin-like frame.  The character’s traits were the usual stuff of second male leads- overflowing family wealth, unreasonably good looks, daddy issues, self-sacrificing (for the female lead) inclination, touch of vulnerability, and perfected I’m-rejected–but-I-sincerely-wish-them-the best-even-though-I-still-love-her martyr expression.  Again, nothing fresh about his character, but at least in KJW’s ownership, the character emoted naturally.

Mary’s storyline was a joke. It had an unlikely and confusing premise to begin with, but winnable in more capable scripting hands. (Case done oh so very right: soul switching fantastical romantic comedy Secret Garden.)  Like déjà vu, the same sequence of events and emotions kept playing over and over again so that even if one missed two or three episodes, unavoidably or purposely, one really wouldn’t miss much of the storyline at all- only difference is change of clothes and setting. The sequence of Mary agreeing to marry then breaking it off with the rich alpha Jung-in because she’s really in love with the poor boho Mu-gyul, was repeated several times even to the last predictable episode. The only unpredictable, creative even, though this is not meant to be a compliment, was what kind of manufactured wacky obstacles and hijinks would nonsensically turn up to instigate and try to move the not very romantic, not very comedic story that, if logical is slightly forgivable, but in the case of Mary is nowhere to be sensed.  The characters’ reactions and decisions were so frustrating to watch… that it’s better to just not.

I’m Sorry, I Love You Review

I'm Sorry, I Love You

I recently had the chance to watch the 2004 KBS drama, I’m Sorry, I Love You. If you haven’t watched this drama, I kindly ask that you stop reading this review as it contains spoilers.

This drama is about a Cha Moo Hyuk (So Ji Sub) and Song Eun Chae (Im Soo Jung). Cha Moo Hyuk was adopted by an Australian family and after he was abused, he ran away and lived on the streets. Song Eun Chae is the coordinator of a popular Korean singer, Yune (Jung Kyung Ho), and who she loved since they were children.

Eun Chae is in Australia for Yune’s commercial shoot and is robbed of all her belongings. She meets Moo Hyuk who finds her things and returns them to her.

After a terrible accident, Moo Hyuk was shot and because of the risk of killing him, doctors could not surgically remove a bullet from his head. He has only a few months to live. He returns to Korea in search for his mother who he believes abandoned him and his twin sister. He seeks revenge when he finds out his mother is a very wealthy woman and has a son that she loves so much. Moo Hyuk becomes Yune’s manager and starts to get to know Eun Chae day by day.

I’m Sorry, I Love You is a drama with a sad ending. In the final episode, Eun Chae finally confesses her love for Moo Hyuk. She tells him “I love you” seven times before she started crying and burst into tears. This is when Im Soo Jung’s acting shined for me.

In the final scene, Eun Chae visits all the places where she spent time with Moo Hyuk and lies down by the grave of Moo Hyuk. The news reports finding a dead body of a Korean girl in Australia.

“He was very lonely even when he was alive. I could not just let him be. In this lifetime, from this moment forward, I want to live for myself. I will receive the punishment.”

– Song Eun Chae

I have mixed feelings about this drama. The disappointing part is the late realization of the characters. It was only during the final episode where Moo Hyuk learns that his mother did not abandom him and that he always loved her. Eun Chae and Moo Hyuk tells each other that they love each other right before Moo Hyuk dies. Had they confessed their love earlier, they could have had more pleasant memories.

This drama was very fun to watch and it was great to see a face I have not seen before. Im Soo Jung is beautiful and I hope she returns to a Korean drama someday. It was sad seeing her character die beside her love’s grave but at the same time, I was touched and I ask myself, can you love someone that much?

I Am Legend’s Legacy

I Am Legend was not a melodrama but the overarching effect was one of sadness. There was no death, illness, long separation, and other cruxes of traditional Korean melodrama, but it was sad from another source- identification.  There was a strong element of dreams deferred, gnawing regret, and hopes dashed. Many can identify with the fear of having their lives turn out as such. I Am Legend anchors these universal emotions in the microsphere of its flawed heroines and heroes.

Legend revolves around the lives of the four members of the Comeback Madonna Band who also happen to be pegged in Korean society as ‘ajummas’. A woman would be called an ajumma if she looks or is past her late twenties and/or is a mother.  The four ajummas are lead vocal and guitarist ­Jeon Seol Hee played by Kim Jung Eun, bass Hwa Ja played by Jong Ji Min, 2nd guitarist Ah Reom played by Juni, and drummer Jang Shin Yeong plays Su In.

The drama introduces the individual lives of the members, which includes their hobby of almost weekly private jam sessions together as a means of relieving the stress from the daily grind in their lives. There were suggestions that the storyline would go the way of struggling ajummas conquering stereotypes, ridicules, and other societal and legal hurdles to become a successful female rock band. Instead, that became the backdrop to a manifesto on the temptations and pitfalls of fame.  With a lick of fame, motherly responsibilities are thrown in the blender, with ambition of marrying well, pride and dignity can practically be sacrificed, and with fear of failure, priorities sidelined.

The characters were initially two dimensional and the effort to give them character arcs fell short, not due to effort and good intention but to the time constraint of the drama. It was hard to swallow how everyone can abruptly become such prodigal moral sons and daughters  in the short span of an episode or two.

In regards to the music, which naturally was the drama’s OST, it was a running commentary on the story and characters’ emotional development. Furthermore, as all the members really have some musical background and inclination, it wasn’t too difficult to transform their collaboration from a fictional band to a real one with scheduled live performances.  In the drama, the performance scenes of the band were training ground of sorts as they were filled with real invited audiences attending ‘real’ concerts.  The drama’s extensive OST was packaged and sold like a real debut of the Comeback Madonna Band. With many nods from fans and enough interest, although the drama is over, the Comeback Madonna Band is still alive and well rocking at venues near Seoul.

Although I Am Legend didn’t turn out to be any notable legend, it did shine a flashlight on many unglamorous aspects of Korean females entering the autumn of their lives hedged in their circumstances between traditional expectations and modern aspirations. For that alone, it is worth a watch.