KDRAMAGUK : Korean Drama Soup

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


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Story of a Man (2009)

Story of a Man
남자이야기 / Slingshot
(Apr – Jun 2009)

who’s in it
Park YongHa (On Air)
Kim KangWoo (Five Senses of Eros - film)
Park SiYeon (My Girl)
Han YeoWoon (Painter of the Wind)

what’s it about
Park YongHa’s older brother commits suicide after a smear campaign against his food processing company, orchestrated by Kim KangWoo, a sociopath manipulating the stock market in an effort to take over his father’s company. After attacking the television station that aired the false report on his brother’s company, Park YongHa gets thrown into the slammer. When he comes out, he’s got only one thing on his mind: revenge. He teams up with an assortment of cons in an effort to attempt the greatest gimmick of all time—justice.

20 episodes


wildcard factor
I’m not exaggerating when I say that Kim KangWoo was insanely creepy as the emotionless nutjob that yanked and pulled at everyone’s strings. He was a shark that blew everyone else out of the surf.

after the first episode
Ah, this one could be very interesting...and action packed! It seemed to have a good setup for a story that could really grow into a feverish, melodramatic but exciting joyride.

gave up
I wanted to like this one, I really did. I really tried. I mean, there were lot of factors in its favor, including two of the most important: quality actors and a promising premise. How did it not succeed? The same reason many other over-achieving shows dazzled by its own cleverness and glamour fizzle—it got too cheeky for its own good.

This Oceans-11-esque drama wanted to be suspenseful and thrilling…and it was—occasionally. But overall, it felt a little like heavy concealer covering patchy-skin. The thing is, I almost liked it a lot. Unfortunately, it didn’t deliver the unpredictable and immersive type of adventure I thought would follow after the first few episodes. Instead, I was given a fairly predictable delivery of events with a coloring book that was just shaded in, but not rich in color.

The first quarter of the drama was very edgy and interesting, and that’s a fact. But after the prison sequences, the rest of the show became less Oceans 11/Prison Break and more Leverage (TNT popcorn fluff starring Timothy Hutton that is sometimes amusing but mostly unrealistic silliness). There was an abundance of flash and dash camera work, including James Bond-ish musical score to cue us when the exciting parts were happening, and last but not least, it was filled with many cocky yet cheaply constructed ‘cons’ that felt more like back alley magic tricks than cleverly crafted masterplans.

I tuned in for Story intermittently as it aired and did ultimately finish it. I thought the ending had an interesting twist, but again nothing truly original and certainly not enough to save the drama from mediocrity. Park SiYeon never really brought any heart to her character and Park YongHa was likewise too little in a drama that needed too much. I wanted more anti in my anti-hero and never really saw the darkness in his portrayal of a man who lost everything—not with any reality anyway. Where’s the edge? Park YongHa just didn’t bring it, which I do regret saying because I have a soft spot for the guy as an actor (loved him in On Air).

Kim KangWoo, on the other hand, was truly a discovery of psychopathic proportions but unfortunately, the man was also peerless. Without an evenly matched nemesis to play against, or a truly captivating drama for him to shine, it was a waste of his talents.

In the end, I’ll concede it wasn’t horrible...and I’ll further concede that most viewers will like it. I’m a finicky little nitpicker.

1 comment:

  1. This was an excellent drama without a dull moment. As with all Korean dramas I have watched, the acting and writing is first rate, and you keep wondering what twists and turns the story will take. Plus there is a great villain you just love to hate - a true sociopath. The love story is a bit lacking, but that is not the point of this drama, it is about revenge, and people getting what they deserve. Highly recommended at every level.


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