Freitag, 26. August 2016

The Lover

더 러버 (The Lover) is a South Korean drama series that aired on Mnet from April 2nd to June 25th 2015 every Thursday.

Story: The drama tells the story of four couples living in the same building in different apartments.
Oh Do-si and Ryu Doo-ri live in Apartment 609. Both in their thirties, Do-si is a voice actor and Doo-ri is a blogger. They simply chose to live together instead of getting married, and have been sharing an apartment for two years after dating for five years.
In Apartment 610 lives a couple with a huge age gap. Jung Young-joon and Choi Ji-nyeo are twelve years apart in age. Ji-nyeo has the personality of a penny-pinching ajumma and basically supports her younger boyfriend in the hope that he will someday realize his dream, while Young-joon is an unemployed musician who carries around a guitar he doesn't know how to play. They've been living together for a year, and are quick to fight and make up.
Ha Seol-eun and Park Hwan-jong live in Apartment 510. They are in their twenties and have just moved in together. Seol-eun wants her boyfriend to believe that she's the perfect embodiment of femininity, and works tirelessly to keep up the illusion.
Lee Joon-jae lives alone in apartment 709. Though he is a loner and prefers to stay on his own he has to find a roommate for financial reasons. Takuya moves in with him and convinces Joon-jae to come out of his apartment from time to time.

Cast: The first couple, Oh Do-si and Ryu Doo-ri, is played by Oh Jung-se and Ryu Hyun-kyung. At this point I openly admit that I can't say much about their acting. What I've seen was supposed to be funny but just seemed too ridiculous and weird. The actors are not to blame for that but honestly - this couple was just the most boring one to me so I just skipped almost all of their parts during the last episodes. Even decent acting wasn't able to save it though they did have some quite funny scenes.
Choi Ji-nyeo and Jung Young-joon were played by Choi Yeo-jin and Jung Joon-young. As I've been a huge fan of JJY's solo albums, I just feel like I had to watch this drama, and it was also my second time watching a drama starring Choi Yeo-jin and she's a quite good actress. The chemistry could have been better from time to time but in general I liked the way they portrayed the characters.
Park Jong-hwan and Ha Eun-seol acted in this drama as Park Hwan-jong and Ha Seol-eun (does anyone else realize that they were pretty creative when it comes to character names?) The idea and the acting of this couple overall was alright. I wouldn't say they were outstanding but they weren't as bad as the first couple either. I started to skip some of their scenes though because their story wasn't that interesting to me so it is possible I missed out some either incredibly good or very bad scenes.
Lastly, Lee Joon-jae and Takuya were played by Lee Jae-joon and Takuya Terada (of Cross Gene). I loved them with all of my heart and found their acting to be pretty good. The way both of these actors portrayed the character was pleasant to watch and seemed okay - despite for one thing once again the writers are to blame for. Joon-jae just accepts what is new too fast. Now, as far as I remember we don't know if he ever came to like another guy before, but most people would question themselves a lot more than he does.

Soundtrack: Did anyone count how many songs were played in this drama? All I can tell you is that there was literally nothing too memorable about all of those songs. Most of them were older I think and just randomly taken but still had to fit the situation. In general this worked out. But I really wondered if the songs were chosen to fit the dialogues - or if the dialogues were written following the songs.

After all? 5/10 is the best rating I can give because I skipped huge part of this drama. I kept watching for Takuya and Joon-jae as well as Ji-nyeo and Young-joon. The other two couples couldn't capture my interest at all. Of course a drama of 12 episodes with a duration of 45 minutes or something isn't a huge waste of time but well.. I just didn't like it and if I'm going to ever watch this again, I'll probably watch some cut versions on Youtube.
If you want to watch this drama, be warned though. It's nothing like other K-Dramas that are loved because of their "innocent nature" or something.

Freitag, 19. August 2016

My Love Eun Dong

사랑하는 은동아 (Beloved Eun-dong) is a South Korean drama series that aired from May 29th to July 18th 2015 on jTBC. The drama consists of 16 episodes.

Story: After "The Beginning" this drama shows how actor Ji Eun-ho/ Park Hyun-soo meets his first love Ji Eun-dong again. However, Eun-dong lost her memory and therefore doesn't remember what happened before an accident. There are only hints that her memory is still hidden somewhere and just waits to come out. There are only some problems: Jo Seo-ryeong liking Ji Eun-ho doesn't make things easier since she tries to keep them from meeting. And Eun-dong's husband isn't happy about Eun-ho looking for her either..

Cast: The main cast in this drama consists of Joo Jin-mo as Ji Eun-ho and Kim Sa-rang as Ji Eun-dong/ Seo Jung-eun. While I liked their acting after all, I have a feeling they did lack some kind of chemistry from time to time. I don't really know how to put this in words so I'll just leave it like this and stay with "they lacked something but delivered a solid performance at the end of the day". My personal respect for Kim Tae-hoon as an actor is growing anyways. As Choi Jae-ho I felt sorry for him at first anyways but his character was one I honestly started to hate later on - something was fishy.
While I think she's really pretty, I just start to think Kim Yoo-ri can't do anything but stick to annoying female side characters just like Jo Seo-ryeong. I started to skip her scenes not because of poor acting but because I wasn't able to deal with her character at all.
Of course there are many more actors but it feels like things only deal with those few characters. Watching the last few episodes I don't even remember any deep dialogues but characters just seemed to disappear.

Soundtrack: The soundtrack was okay. The songs were beautifully used in the certain situation but it's not like I really fell in love with those songs and will listen to it over and over again.

After all this drama received a rather poor rating with 4.5/10 from me because I was SO close to dropping it after Ep. 11. It's a romance drama. There's literally nothing else about it even though there are some funny moments and the story turns out too obvious too soon.
To me it felt like they just showed everything they had within 10 episodes and suddenly noticed they had to fill more episodes so they had to slow things down and come up with some basic things. Sitting through the last episodes was a torture for me but some people might enjoy it. If you like an emotional, sometimes even melodramatical romance drama, this might be perfect for you. If you're looking for more comedy this one might turn out boring. Oh, and if you're a fan of Baek Sung-hyun or Jr. - just watch "The Beginning", you'll be fine with that.

Freitag, 12. August 2016

My Love Eun Dong: The Beginning

사랑하는 은동아: 더 비기닝 (My Love Eun Dong: The Beginning) is a South Korean web drama and the prequel to jTBC's "My Love Eun Dong". The series aired from May 18th to May 26th 2015 through Naver TV Cast.

Story: This short series shows how Ji Eun-dong and Park Hyun-soo, later known as Ji Eun-ho, meet for the first time and become close friends. After Eun-dong's grandmother dies she's adopted and the two of them don't get a chance to meet for ten years. They then start to develop even deeper feelings for each other until they're seperated again.

Cast: The story starts of with the teen characters. At that time Park Jin-young of GOT7 plays Park Hyun-soo. The acting is pretty decent but he's not one of the best actors I've ever seen. Lee Ja-in as Ji Eun-dong is the female main character in this generation. Her acting was good after all. The friendship the two of them showed was a nice thing to watch but I honestly refuse to call it romantic interest or something. It would be kind of a pedo thing if I would regard it as a love interest so I prefer just staying with a good friendship that might be close to the way siblings feel for each other.
The next generation consists of Baek Sung-hyun as Park Hyun-soo/ Ji Eun-ho and Yoon So-hee as Ji Eun-dong. The two of them can pull off some chemistry and I enjoyed watching their scenes a lot though they're not as cute and innocent as the first couple (but the first pairing wouldn't have been legal for whatever's sake..). And I loved to see Baek Sung-hyun dealing with different emotions in this.
The last generations is played by Joo Jin-mo and Kim Sa-rang. Now there wasn't too much of them in this prequel but so far they delivered a solid performance.
Other actors in this short series are Kim Hyung-kyu as Eun-ho's friend and Jang Ki-yong as Lee Seok-tae.

After all I've rated this short series with a 7.5/10 though I'm not really sure why. It was a cute love story I enjoyed a lot. Maybe it's because some scenes were shown over and over again. That wasn't necessary, the whole series had a duration of only a little more than one hour.
Is it worth watching if you plan on watching the actual series? Well, I'm going to check that out and will report back when writing the review for the original TV series.

Freitag, 5. August 2016

Hidden Identity

신분을 숨겨라 (Hidden Identity) is a South Korean drama series consisting of 16 episodes that aired on tvN from June 16th to August 4th 2015.

Story: The story follows Investigation Team Five, a special team that is said to be nonexistent even in police records. Since it is a secret unit that doesn't always obey the law in order to get what they need, they tend to be criticized for their methods. But only Investigation Team Five led by Jang Moo-won can deal with one of the most dangerous criminal organizations led by the Ghost. It is just natural that the members of the team get themselves into huge trouble as well as personal affairs while working.

Cast: Cha Gun-woo played by Kim Bum is a rather complicated character. I really liked the acting all the time, especially when the past became relevant to him again. While I'd say the acting was great (and I might be biased, I won't even deny it), some of his fight scenes were just funny. Someone who has been through military training and manages to deal with.. a group of people at one time can't even deal with one person later on? To me it seems like someone didn't think about this.
Park Sung-woong as team leader Jang Moo-won was a pretty cold character most of the time. The type of team leaser we often get presented, taking responsibility for everything but not getting too involved. The acting was good, including most of the action scenes but sometimes there was something missing about the character itself. I totally blame the writing for this though.
Jang Min-joo is one of the characters I don't really understand. She has a sense of loyalty and sometimes that seems to be the only reason why she accepts things the way they are. However, Yoon So-yi delivered a solid performance in the end. Yes, sometimes she seemed to accepting though she was opposed to the idea of Gun-woo joining the team (you will understand that later, not in the first episodes) but it's not that bad and her acting therefore wasn't too bad either.
Lee Won-jong as Choi Tae-pyung is someone who already has some experience acting in a crime series. His acting was good, his character a little weird but loyal and there's actually nothing I can complain about.
Kim Tae-hoon is in this series as Min Tae-in and while I wasn't sure about his character in the very beginning I came to like him and was hoping for something more. His character is probably the one suffering the most and I just felt sorry for him. His acting was good regarding the fact that he wasn't around all the time.
Lim Hyun-sung as Jin Deok-hoo was simply lovable, I was happy to see him around. The acting wasn't anything special but worked well with the story and the team.
Other actors in this series include Lee Kyung-young as Choi Dae-han, Choi Jung-woo as President Lee (I simply forgot the rest of his name), Kang Sung asYoo Jin-woo and Heo Jae-ho as Jung Sang-joon.

Soundtrack: I personally came to like the OST even though I wasn't impressed at first. The songs go well with the atmosphere of this drama and I especially liked Chul Gu's "신세계 (New World)" and Mad Soul Child's "It's Over". After all it's not one of the best soundtracks I've ever heard but pretty good.

My rating for this series is a 8/10 after all. There are some things I really enjoyed, a lot of things I just accepted and things I didn't like at all. So what is it I criticize the most?
1. The logic. Mostly it's about the fights. Usually the agents are quite good but all of a sudden they lose each and every single fight? Once again, if someone has been through military training the person usually is good at fighting but still loses against some gangsters? And, if you lose against someone while fighting three times, does it make sense to even fight one more time instead of simply using your gun? Because as far as I've seen they do have guns. The fact that it's a serious drama makes the logical flaws worse.
2. The story itself. This drama was said to be about undercover cops. And that's misleading in fact because only one of them has been undercover. The others usually just take roles for a few hours, maybe a few days, but I wouldn't define that as an undercover thing.
Some things were obvious, others were only added to make the story longer than it actually would have been. Was it really necessary to make Jang Min-joo's father a part of the story? The family background didn't help the whole story.

Those are the things that bothered me the most. I also noticed that it started off pretty fast and exciting, lost it's pace somewhere around Ep.9/10 and started to change again in Ep. 15. Episodes 13/14 were the weakest point in my opinion since the suspense is destroyed when one figures out who's involved with the Ghost.
What else can I say? Regarding the whole "undercover" description I've had high expectations and thought it would be somehow similar to Line Walker but it wasn't.
Do I recommend this? If you don't expect much you won't be disappointed and I openly admit that this drama has a rewatch value solely because of the music, the cast and some interesting things within this series itself.