Review – Live

Review – Live

Live is a true gem and definitely worth your time.  Like Misaeng, it’s a character study on individuals within a certain profession.  Misaeng (which is slightly better, in my opinion) covered the insanity of the South Korean corporate business world, and this show deals with police officers.  Following three rookie cops from the three-year cram schools for the Civic Exam, to training, and into their probationary first year, you will experience the full spectrum of what it takes to be a street cop.  And it ain’t pretty.  But trust me, this show is.

This drama will have you enthralled with the lives of its characters.  All of them.  They couldn’t have chosen a better title for this drama.  It will tempt you to do some deep thinking about society, our structured laws, the media, the conundrum of law enforcement, humanity, and crime.  To be fair, there is a slow build up as it takes a while for all the characters to be introduced and come together.  But like Misaeng, if you stick around a while, you won’t want to leave.  Because you’ll be transported into their world, into their struggles and lives and families and ambitions and fears.  I watched the entire show in two days.  I threw it on because it looked vaguely interesting – but by episode five I had a hard time forcing myself to go to sleep so I could watch the rest the next day.

Overall Rating – 9/10.  Code Zero.  Code Zero.  All Units Respond.  Quality K-Drama Alert.  Last Call.

More details, spoilers, characters and more….

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Review – Two Cops

Review – Two Cops

I didn’t realize this was going to be a supernatural comedy until the end of the first episode.  Two Cops is the phone “nickname” that our lady reporter gave our gentleman detective after noticing he seemed to have two personalities.  One, the intense and focused detective with incredible fighting skills and a keen sense of justice – and Two, the goofy, flirtatious conman that mystically takes over our detective’s body sometimes after they were both involved in an accident together.  This may be the best role Cho Jung-Seok has ever played (just kidding, he’s been great in quite a few shows) – as he gets to seriously show off his acting chops by being two believably different personalities inside one body.  Everything about him changes, his tone of voice, his physicality, the look in his eyes.  Its one of the best examples of one actor playing two people that I can think of.  Kim Sun-Ho plays the conman, when he’s in spirit form, and excels as the lovable lawbreaker.  Hyeri is simply adorable as the feisty reporter caught between these “two” men.

Overall, this is a buddy comedy.  A bromance.  A mix-match personality pairing in the style of Lethal Weapon, Men in Black, Bad Boys or even Midnight Run.  There’s a little romance mingled in there, but really… it’s about two dudes.  And it was adorable.  This show was a wild, fun ride that I highly recommend.  True, the first half was a bit more zany and fun than the second half, but it will still overall awesome and I loved it.

Overall Rating – 9/10.  Two Souls and One Hot Body.

More about Two Cops… with spoilers…

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Review – Remember

Review – Remember

Wow.

Seriously.

One of the best shows I have ever watched, ever.  Anywhere.  And it seemed kinda “eh” starting out, but a few episodes in and I was hooked and then… I just ate it up.  The characters!  The plot!  Honestly, the last episode was so emotionally draining (good and bad) that I think it may be a while until I can write up a decent review.  So for now… I just wanted to put this placeholder in, saying:  WATCH IT.

This is a finely crafted work of art.

Plot Basics:  A young man’s father, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, is accused of murder and sentenced to death row.  The young man, who has incredible photographic memory, dedicates his life to clearing his father’s name.  Add to the mix one of the most memorable villains of all time, and you have this amazing show… that just keeps getting better as it goes.

Overall Rating – 10/10.  The Truth Does Not Speak For Itself.

More about the characters and mild spoilers follow

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Review – Falling in Love with Soon Jung

Review – Falling in Love with Soon Jung

I just didn’t get this show.  I watched it.  The whole freakin’ thing.  Cause… I don’t know.  Why did I keep watching it?

Soon Jung is boring… sooo, sooo boring.  Why did all these people fall in love with her in the first place?  It’s not Kim So Yeon’s fault – she can be wonderful in shows but apparently she forgot to read the script before she agreed to make this drama. The haircut did NOTHING for her.  It made her look like an expressionless mannequin… and her face has always looked a little manufactured to me anyways, so that didn’t help.  They should have made a little effort to give this character some depth or dimension, cause she was as flat and dry as cardboard.

Jung Kyung Ho played the asshole businessman who gets a heart transplant from a nice guy, magically transforming him into a decent human being.  He was cute in this.  Not amazing, not even necessarily memorable, but cute.  At least he brought his character to life and had fun with it… and with his hair.  Plus he had an adorable male secretary.

Yoon Hyun Min played the most interesting character – the dude who’d been in love with Soon Jung forever but had always stepped aside.  But after her fiance died, he thought he finally had a chance.  Wrong!  Her fiance’s heart ended up in his business rival’s chest and the next thing you know, he’s playing the entire sad story out again.  Except this time he’s not gonna bow out gracefully.  Nope.  This time he’s gonna go bat shit crazy and see if maybe scaring his crush to death might be a more successful romantic approach.  While normally I would say “What were you thinking?” this method has actually worked in other dramas… so… you never know.  He was a complicated mess of a man, though, and the most fun to watch.

The plot is dull.  Some people are trying to save some vague cosmetic business while other people want to sell it off to make money.  You won’t care.  You’re supposed to care, I think, but they forgot to tell us why.  Cause, uh… people work there?  Whatever.  And then there’s the mystery of how Soon Jung’s fiance died – which is revealed to the viewer about halfway through the show so we have to sit around until everyone figures it out.  The two dudes fighting over Soon Jung aren’t interesting as a dynamic because she only likes one of them and not the other – so there’s no real triangle at all, just this sad unrequited love from this sort of sad, pathetic dude whose lost his marbles.

I really should have dropped this drama.  I’ve been watching it in chunks for weeks, just going back to it when I had a little time here and there.  I don’t know why, honestly.  It was not worth sixteen hours of my time.  The “romance” sucked.

Overall Rating – 5/10.  Why Does Anyone Fall In Love With Soon Jung?

Review – High End Crush

Review – High End Crush

highend

Another deceptive title image.  This in no way reflects the tone or the plot line of this drama.  But whatever, I’ll save my title image ranting for another day.

The Plot, Short Version:  Eccentric wealthy dude falls for stubborn country girl.

High End Crush.  What to say, what to say.  Thankfully the leading man was entertaining enough to carry this short drama to its obvious conclusion with a few laughs along the way and a few enjoyable romantic moments too.  But…

After finishing this series, I think I can officially state that I don’t like “short” dramas.  It’s like having annoying commercial interruptions ALL THE TIME, right when interesting things start happening.  I think if they had strung up all the episodes together and let them play as one long string, without the constant stop/start of intros and exits, it would have been a quality short drama, if not a bit on the hammy side.  If it ever makes it to Netflix, they will do this for us.  They did it with The Guild and it made the entire viewing experience so much more enjoyable.

What else can I say about this drama?  I finished it a few days ago and have been chewing on what to write for a review.  It’s so problematic.  Here’s why… the things I liked about this show were also the things I hated about this show.

Example 1:  I loved the idea of a young woman from deep in the mountains, disconnected from modern society… and yet I didn’t buy it.  At all.  The entire sequence of events in the mountains felt like theater scenery and unnatural to both characters.  She did not seem like a young woman cut off from modern society at all.  It just felt off.

Example 2:  I loved the love/hate relationships inspired by the main male character.  His shrink, his employees, his personal assistant all hated him with a passion… and yet they loved him too because he was interesting and flamboyant and really good at his job.  And yet I couldn’t really figure out what his job WAS or what he did or if it was, indeed, impressive.  It just seemed like a glossed over subject.

Example 3:  The disloyal yet lovable assistant.  This contrasting nature made the character both deviously hysterical and enjoyable.  Sometimes.  And other times I thought, “there’s no way this guy wouldn’t have been fired three years ago,” or worse, it made the assistant come across as a true asshole, which is not endearing whatsoever.   And this is one of my favorite actors, too, so it hurts to say that…

There’s some really cute romantic comedy moments in this show.  And some pretty spectacular lines and witty banter… like this scene in the car…

greatpeople2

allweird

But overall it was just MEH.  I enjoyed all the characters, mostly, and was entertained… but I also felt cheated out of a good drama, which it might have been if given room to stretch its legs.

Overall Rating – 7/10.  Size Matters.

The Other Guy – 4 Favorite Second Lead and Bit Part Actors

The Other Guy – 4 Favorite Second Lead and Bit Part Actors

There are faces that show up repeatedly in dramas:  you know, the ones that don’t inspire teenagers to buy stickers of their faces, the ones that aren’t turned into banners for blogs and desktop wallpapers.  The other guys.

Just like in American cinema, these side actors never go hungry.  Their resumes are long.  Pages and pages and pages of roles played.  They must know everyone by now.  The mailman hates them at Christmas time.  I love them all the time.

My Top 4 Other Guys are an easy pick.

Number 1

Park Chul-Min – Comic Relief.  Just looking at him makes me feel better.

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