Review – Mad Dog

Review – Mad Dog

Just an all-over great show, with action, drama, a little comedy and romance, and a whole lotta love.  This story illustrates how people make their own families.  The rag tag team of Mad Dog all had different, tattered pasts but when they came together, they found a home.

The plot is this:  A plane crashed killing a ton of people and injuring more and the reports said the pilot was to blame, taking the aircraft down on a suicide mission, leaving his younger brother with a fortune in insurance money.  The younger brother, played to perfection by Woo Do-Hwan, isn’t convinced his older brother was the culprit however.  Unfortunately, no one believes him.  Let alone the leader of a rogue team of investigators who lost his wife and son in the crash and passionately despises him.  How these people come together – to work towards a common cause of uncovering massive corruption, is the basic plot.  And it’s captivating, thrilling and hugely enjoyable.

The Bromance is Strong With These Two.

The entire show was great – from beginning to end – and really let all the characters shine.  Even the bad guys (and there were several) became fully developed, their motivations and personalities distinctive and interesting.  My favorite was the unique, twisted relationship between Joo Hyun-Ki, the heir to the airline company, and Cha Hong-Joo, the heir to the insurance company.   Those two snakes were mesmerizing!  Especially the crazed Joo Hyun-Ki, played by the talented Choi Won-Young.

Love ’em or Hate ’em… these two were made for each other.

Oh, the playful, loving relationships of the Mad Dog team, all dependent on each other, full of laughs and genuine emotion, how I loved them all!  They truly cared about each other and it grounded the drama with heart.  These were people you liked to spend time with – and wanted to see succeed despite all the obstacles in their way.  It made escaping into each episode with them more exciting and rewarding as a viewer.  Other shows should take note of this formula – as it is often sadly lacking in thrillers, the creation of a unique, likable cast.

The Team of Mad Dog… which you want to be adopted by…

Who knew a show about insurance fraud would be so spectacular?

Overall Rating – 9/10.  Using White Collar Crime to Catch Criminals.

Review – Save Me (from people!)

Review – Save Me (from people!)

Is this show a dark commentary on humanity?  YES.  Was it awesome?  Yes… but it’s very, very dark, so light a few candles and pray for the soul of the world before you start viewing.

This is the story about how a family got sucked into a cult.  It’s also a story about growing up, and realizing your parents aren’t the gods of our childhood.  It’s a story about society, and how the struggle for power changes people.   Power over your own life, power over circumstances, power over others.  It’s a commentary on politics, religion, government, and the basic needs of humans – to be useful, to be happy, and to be safe.  And at its heart, it’s a story about friendship.  There’s a lot packed into this drama.

It’s not a pleasant experience, though.  The drama tackled quite a few uncomfortable topics – from police corruption to political corruption, violent school bullying to murder, unbelievable cruelty to cold manipulations of others – both emotionally and physically.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  I’m not sure I want to again for a while, either.  You’ll want to give your brain a rest after this intensity… maybe watch a Disney movie or something.  Cleanse the palette, cleanse the soul.

Overall Rating – 9/10.  Getting To New Heaven Is Hell On Earth.

Thoughts on religion, my personal opinions on the matter, and various musings follow…

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Review – Suspicious Partner / Love in Trouble

Review – Suspicious Partner / Love in Trouble

What happens when you take a pretty good plot for a standard 16 episode drama and try to pull it apart like taffy into a drawn out short format series that goes on for 40 long (yet annoyingly short and empty) episodes?  You ruin a perfectly good show, that’s what happens.  Can we just stop making these 35 minute format shows?  They’re so annoying!  This drama was just a big mess – and I blame the formatting for 90% of the problem.

The cast was stellar and had great chemistry – all of them – though it felt more like “playing” than “acting”… as if they were all enjoying a nice vacation from serious work for a while and just goofing off for an easy paycheck.  So it wasn’t an unpleasant waste of my time – I enjoyed watching them enjoy themselves, I guess.  I am a huge Ji Chang-Wook fan, but this role required very little of him.  He just had to show up, basically, and be adorable… which he can do in his sleep, I imagine.  Sigh.  I was all on board seeing him in a romantic comedy, but this drama did nothing but frustrate me.

With the exception of the villain, played to absolute perfection by Dong Ha (someone just give him an award immediately, cause he brought his acting chops to the table while everyone else came empty handed).

I’m too annoyed to even review the plot.  It’s basically about lawyers and prosecutors and the challenge of trying to determine the guilt and innocence of people when all these external and internal factors are messing with the evidence  (watch Remember, if you want a damned fine drama on this subject).  The two main leads fall in love, so lots of cutesy flirting and kissing.  Everyone is charming and cute, but other than that… there’s not a lot going on with their characters.  As mentioned, the only character who really mesmerized me was the villain – and the cool plot twist at the end could not save this long, rambling story line or this show.  The biggest surprise was that I actually watched the whole show – in chunks, over the past few weeks.  If I had tried to watch it sequentially, I probably would have abandoned it in frustration long ago.

Overall Rating – 4/10.  Ji Chang-Wook’s Star Power Can Not Survive In Black Holes.