Review – Lucifer
Recently re-watched Lucifer, one of my top 20 Korean dramas of all time, and it still holds firm in its position. This isn’t a typical story of a cop tracking down a serial killer. This is a morality play, in which the reasons behind the killings are the plot line. Much like one of my other favorite shows, I Remember You, the murderer isn’t necessarily the bad guy. Or rather, they are not the only bad guys. The people who made them, who drove them to such extremes, are equally culpable. In a fantastic twist, the cop hunting the killing has also committed a terrible crime in his youth – and now his dark past is coming to light as he races against time to save those who may not deserve saving. It’s a story of revenge, a story of guilt, and a story of the personal choices that define us. It’s a drama that asks you to ponder the hard questions, to twist around your normal definitions of right and wrong, to see multiple angles to dubious actions.
And I loved it. I loved it just as much the second time as I did the first time I watched it. It’s beautifully filmed and the story is expertly crafted. It is the second installment in a “Revenge” trilogy by director Park Chan-Hong and writer Kim Ji-Woo. The first was Resurrection, a haunting mystery, and the third was Shark, a gorgeous slow simmer show. All three films are remarkable, unique and highly recommended.
Overall Rating – 10/10. Where the Good Guy is Bad and the Bad Guy is Bad too.
More musings on the morality lessons, the plot, herpes, and spoilers follow:
Review – Goong / Princess Hours
I would have loved this ten years ago. The premise is pretty cute, though a little weak threaded. Modern monarchy in South Korea, arranged marriages between a charming, oddball “commoner” and the aloof, jerky prince, some inner palace strife over who gets the throne, yada yada. It got ridiculously convoluted at the end… but then again, with the foreshadowing in the first episode, it fit right in. I mean… the prince’s portrait showed him standing in front of a burning building. Either that artist had an agenda, or that is some heavy handed foreshadowing thrown in for no reason other than to make viewers go, “Why is he standing in front of a burning building in his official royal portrait? What’s the story there? Did the artist read the drama script?”
Yoon Eun-Hye is adorable and I love her just about everything. I loved her in this – and she was the only reason I kept watching, even when it dragged its feet and I wondered if there would be some, uhm… conflict? Or… romance? Or… interesting plotlines? Eh, so so. It’s a rather deliciously shallow gem from 2006. As for Cinderella stories, they never get old… though I believe you’ll find better options. Shining Inheritance came out a few years later and I thought it was much cuter, personally. Anyways, Goong is a classic and I always felt a little bad for not watching it… so I sat down and let it roll. I am glad I stuck it out, cause… even though a bit of a bore, seeing our prince and princess finally come together was cuter than a basket of puppies.
Overall Rating 6.5/10. The Monarchy… When Living Is What You Do For A Living.
Review – Mask
A delicious melodrama full of betrayal, secrets, and pain! I loved it. Soo-Ae looks beautiful when she cries. Ju Ji-Hoon is marvelous as the mentally unstable heir. And Yeon Jeong-Hun has NEVER LOOKED BETTER. Oh my gosh, no one plays devious quite like this guy… and no one has ever looked so hot when they’re being so evil.
The story is relatively simple. There are two women who have the same face, doppelgangers. One is wealthy and the other lives in poverty and debt. When the wealthy woman drowns, a sinister man sees an opportunity and puts the poor woman in her place. The poor woman goes along with it because Mr. Sinister says he will settle her families debts. Suddenly the poor woman finds herself getting married to a stranger and caught in a web of lies.
I loved it! This is pure melodrama. If you’re feeling rational, don’t watch it. If you’re one of those people who screams at the television “Why doesn’t she just tell him!?” or “Why does she keep trusting him?!” then don’t watch it. These people are going to make the same mistakes several times before seeing the error of their ways. There are lies on top of lies on top of lies. People are out for blood. There is distrust and suspicion everywhere. No one has the common sense to plant an audio recorder somewhere or actually accumulate evidence of any kind. Oh no. These are fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, emotional decision making types. And it’s 20 long episodes of this… so if you’re not in the mood to soak in some moody, irrational stew, then do yourself a favor and steer clear.
If, however, you are in the mood for deception and dark desire and, honestly, ridiculousness… then get comfortable on the couch and clear your calendar. There will be tears! There will gnashing of teeth! There will be anguish and blood and fear and chaos! There will be desperate kisses followed by mistrust and confusion! There will be backflashes to something that happened only ten minutes ago! The house is on fire and no one can see the exits through the smoke… we’re all going down in flames together. And it’s so much fun!
Overall Rating – 9/10. Mr. Sinister Serves Up Some Moody, Broody Blackmail to a Doppelganger.
SPOILERS AND UNANSWERED QUESTIONS