KDRAMAGUK : Korean Drama Soup

a landing site for quick, completely biased, and totally snarky korean drama reviews


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Strongest Chil Woo (2008)

Strongest Chil Woo
(Jun – Aug 2008)

who’s in it
Eric (Que Sera Sera, Super Rookie, member of Shinhwa)
Goo HyeSun (Boys Over Flowers)
Yoo AhIn (He Who Can’t Get Married, Antique Bakery - film)

what’s it about
Hahahah. Haha. Ha. 

Sorry, I got a bit of the chuckles, my eyes caught the poster for this drama again and tickled my giggle reflex. Moving on. This is a historical one – of the comedic variety (sometimes unintentionally). Ok, here we go: so Eric is some mid-level stooge in the Chosun times, a guy who’s had his family murdered back when he was a kid because they were the progressive type that established a sort of hippie commune type of settlement that the government found dissident and too radical for their liking. The entire village was exterminated. Now in an effort to appease his raging soul, something Eric’s daytime job as a government douchebag does not allow, he puts on a bandit mask and goes all Robin Hood, or maybe I should say he goes all Iljimae. Oh yeah, he loves Goo HyeSun, a scarlet letter woman who is harboring a dark secret from her past, one that is being monitored by the dangerous[ly delicious] Yoo AhIn.

20 episodes


wildcard factor
Yoo AhIn – the only bright spot in this cartoonish romp

after the first episode
Laughter. Shaking of the head. Groans.
Oh…the…inappropriate…use…of…music and slow motion!
And everything else, too.

Oh, Eric, Eric, Eric. And I was so impressed by you after Que Sera Sera. Where has thou gone?

Look, girlie, he would probably reply, I was about to enter into mandatory military service in a few months time, don’t you think I had more important things on my mind than gallivanting around in a shabby black cape and pretending to love Goo HyeSun?

I would then say: Jolly good point, Eric-o. My apologies.

gave up

snoozer moments
I almost gave up. I was this close *index finger and thumb together*.

I wish, might have provided some real emotion

what didn’t work
Most everything, you name it: acting, directing, story, special effects, fight scene choreography, art direction, costuming…

what did
Yoo AhIn as the mysterious assassin – like I said, the only bright spot in a dark, dark cave hidden in a dark, dark jungle in a dark, dark land.

what made me want to gouge my eyes out
Eric and Goo HyeSun’s anachronism (but the opposite way, they looked too modern); they just didn’t fit

what kept me going
Yoo AhIn’s insistence on pretending he was in a serious drama and trying his damnest to make his character interesting and developed...


Other factors:
predictability Yes
engrish n/a
originality n/a
eye-candy n/a
hair and fashion UUUGH

is it worth trying to find?

total enjoyment factor 
It deserves a zero really but I gave it some pointage because Yoo AhIn got on my radar because of this drama

total disdain factor
Yes, there was quite a bit of snickering and chortling as I watched

why this review is completely biased
Sometimes bad is just bad.
But yes, there is bias in that I don’t normally like these sorts of dramas (in my defense, mostly because they turn out like this).

And...am I crazy or does Yoo AhIn resemble a certain awesome hip-pop idoler G to the D? Hmmm...maybe I am completely biased when it comes to this fella!

could a non-kdrama fan like this

The lame, over-the-top storyline afforded the opportunity to create an anime-ish character like Yoo AhIn’s ultra-cool, emotionally damaged assassin, which was fangirl fun to watch, but it was a pity that the rest of drama didn’t have the same charisma and cool…they should have embraced the extravagant awesomeness that stories about good and badass assassins exacting revenge usually bring to the table instead of trying to ignore the obvious silly in their plot and continue with the delusion of seriousness.

Not only did this drama have fits of awful writing, but let’s not live on that island in the Nile, aka denial, and pretend the acting was any good. I don’t care how much you love Eric or Goo HyeSun or Lee Eon (may he rest in peace), you simply cannot argue with me when I say there were some pretty excruciating performances going on from all parties. Eric isn’t a bad actor, he’s proven that in previous roles, but I simply refuse to believe that he just didn’t care about this role and that’s why he sucked. He doesn’t strike me as that unprofessional. I think he tried to make the best of it but this was a clear case of being miscast. He just didn’t work as ChilWoo. And Goo HyeSun…oh, don’t get me started on that weepy and doe-eyed, quivering lip actress! I will say one thing in defense of the Chil Woo actors—sometimes it is extremely difficult to tell (as a viewer) where the bad writing ends and the bad acting begins...the words on the page could simply have been nonsalvageable.

If I could recast this drama…I would go all the way into fantasyland. I would keep Yoo AhIn, cus he’s awesome…although he’s a better actor than this drama deserved. For ChilWoo, I would indulge my fancy and cast (beg and plead) Jang GeunSeuk. Imagine a Yoo AhIn v Jang GeunSeuk angsty ninja-fighting sword-slashing fest!? All those smouldering gazes and long, fluttering midnight black locks flipping around as they par and parry? Feint much? Get it? Feint...hehe, and faint? Sorry. Guess my humor is as woefully transparent as this drama. But as the casting director, when Jang GeunSeuk declines the role (which he will since he played it in Hong Gil Dong), I would send a lovecall out to Lee HyunJin, who I think could be interesting in the role with his ability to be goofy but serious. For Goo HyeSun’s replacement, I’d pick Han YeoWoon because despite her youthful and earnest face, I think she could bring a maturity and worldliness that was desperately needed in the part, which definitely called for the depiction of [realistic] inner strength considering what the character had endured. More steel, less lip-quivering!

I wanted this one to take itself less seriously but at the same time take its characters more seriously. It’s not as contradictory a statement as it sounds. The actors needed to be good and really believe in the people they were portraying in order for me as the viewer to be completely immersed in such a caricatured world, no matter how artificial. And there was never a point I ever believed or enjoyed any of it (except you, my dear Yoo AhIn).

No comments:

Post a Comment

A Jerk-Free Zone: this is a site for friendly debate, please be respectful and courteous to others. Comments that violate that spirit will be removed. This will be strictly enforced. Thank you.

Recent Posts

A Year End Review
Biased & Worst of 2013

Badasses & Bromances

First Impressions
Let’s Eat (2014)
식샤를 합시다
(Nov 2013 – Mar 2014)

JTBC, Monday -Tuesday
Aired May- July 2013

Marry Me Yoo AhIn!
Dramas and drama-ish show I talk about after the jump: WINMaster’s Sun and Good Doctor.

The Girl Who Cried Wolf
Dramas I talk about after the jump: Master’s Sun (eps 11-12). If you haven’t watched Master’s Sun yet, don’t read on. Major ass spoilers ahead...because major ass things went down!

Funny Mathematics
Master’s Sun (eps 9 & 10) is the only drama I chat about after the jump. But I am pretty sure I am going to start Good Doctor this week.

Heartless City (2013)
무정도시 / Cruel City
(May – July 2013)

Crossing Imaginary Lines
Dramas I will spoil after the jump: Master’s Sun (Eps 7-8). I am still watching Who Are You, but I have little to say on it, other than Kim JaeWook continues to be a handsome spectral figure. Oh, and I had to officially drop Goddess of Fire.

More fangirling over JiSub and HyoJin after the jump, and Master’s Sun (Episode 5 and 6) will be the only drama I yap about and spoil. It was the only one I managed to watch this week.

I Can Hear Your Voice (2013)
너의 목소리가 들려
(Jun – Jul 2013)

Bright Bright Taeyang
Dramas I will talk about and spoil after the  jump: Master’s Sun (until Ep 4). And some more thoughts on The Blade and the Petal (up to Ep6), and Who Are You (up to Ep6). And also, the craziest thing I saw this weekend: Kim WooBin fighting killer female robots.