Review – When A Man Loves
Deep satisfied sigh. What a cool melodrama! Talk about an unusual plotline that hooked. I was completely swept up into this romantic entanglement. Not quite a love triangle, not quite NOT a love triangle. There was more nuance and character development in this drama than most shows. You’ll be hating someone in one episode and completely understanding them and sympathizing with them in the next. Shades of gray, my friends. It’s a show about how your life experiences define you, even when you’ve changed your life.
Plotline Short Version: A gangster falls for the daughter of the man he’s terrorizing and a series of events leads him to change his ways and give up his life of crime to reemerge several years later as a successful businessman. When he runs into the daughter again – he sweeps her into his new life, with promises of financial security and his heart. However, our young lady is wary of her new suitor. He’s over a decade older than her, excessively smitten, and… ya know… a bit scary. While she’s attempting to let this man into her life, she meets another man – her age – whom she shares natural chemistry with. Unfortunately, his life is equally tied to the reformed gangsters. It’s a struggle of will, of families, of obligations and of fear as these three circle around each other. And it’s really great tv.
Overall Rating – 9/10. One Person’s Love Is Not Enough To Carry Two Hearts.
LOTS OF SPOILERS, life musings, dating advice, and rambling follow…
Review – Young Pal
What was this show, exactly? A bit of a Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, a bit of a medical mystery, a bit of a mystery thriller and a bit of a mess. The concept was interesting: a struggling young doctor takes side gigs patching up the mob to help pay off the debts he’s accrued keeping his dying sister alive. So, an honorable guy doing dishonorable things – everyone’s favorite gray scale hero. We have the cops tracking him down and his constant struggle to stay out of reach of the law, which was fun while it lasted (the first couple of episodes were very exciting). On the other end of this, we have Sleeping Beauty, a corporate heiress who was severely injured in an automobile accident/suicide attempt and has been kept in a medically induced coma for years by her family. First by her father, who kept her asleep so he wouldn’t have to deal with her, basically. And then by her brother, who kept her asleep so he could take over the corporation.
Gangster doctor wakes up Sleeping Beauty… and we have some sibling showdowns, some elaborate backstabbing, and some corporate evil maneuvers as secrets are revealed, sickly sisters are tossed about for ransom, and attractive people with very little chemistry fall in love.
It was a decent show. It felt a bit disorganized, as if the writers couldn’t agree on certain points. Characters would disappear for long chunks of time then reappear randomly. I felt there were quite a few tangents in the plotline. And the whole thing could have been chopped down to 12 episodes easily. The last four or five episodes in particular were boring and convoluted.
Personally, I kept thinking of The K2 while watching it – and how that show is superior. They have a strangely similar vibe… with the fairy tale angle and the nasty family politics and the anti-hero thrown in the middle of it all. They both also managed to make some fairly simplistic sets seem convincingly “futuristic” and high-tech. But The K2 was thrilling, whereas this show just managed to be “okay.” I recommend Super Wook instead (Review of The K2).
Overall Rating – 6.5/10. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.
Review – Man to Man / ManXMan
A good summer drama with a lot of exciting action sequences, exotic locations, and hammy comedy. It wasn’t perfect – and kinda tried to pack too many layers on its club sandwich, if you ask me, but I still had fun trying to eat it. It’s not quite one genre or another, which I think was the only failing of this show – as I kept wanting it to lean left, into more exciting action/suspense, or just stay firmly right in the romantic comedy zone. The constant shuffling between the two made me feel a little jet lagged.
Plotline: A secret agent (played to perfection by Park Hae-Jin) goes undercover as a bodyguard to a goofy, middle aged actor (another ideal casting decision to choose Park Sung-Woong) – who, by the way, was hysterical – and gets romantically entangled with his over the top possessive female manager (Kim Min-Jung). Missions to recover stolen artifacts, corrupt politicians, the extremely sexy Yeon Jeong-Hun, showbusiness shenanigans and more will entertain you for hours.
Sure, there are better shows. But this one was fun trip with a huge cast of stars, tons of cameos, and… well… a little something of everything, really. Unfortunately, that also meant it wasn’t a lot of one thing, which was ultimately its downfall.
Overall Rating – 7/10 – Undercover Romantic Tactics Will Be Used.