The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Love to Kill / 이 죽일놈의 사랑 / I Jukilnomui Sarang



I began watching this drama on Friday night, and it just ended (Sunday evening), and now more than ever, I'm convinced that Korean dramas are NOT my cup of tea.

Perhaps it's a good thing that real life could never be as complex, sad, or even masochistically tragic as a Korean drama would have us believe.

Sometimes, it makes me wonder who writes this sh*t, and other times, I wonder if their target audience is REALLY into what they write.

As a Catholic, it bugs me any time that the notion of death or suicide is portrayed as something glamorous or romantic.
Sure, there are folk alive who believe in the fool hearty notion of reincarnation, but isn't it still a sucker's bet to take a chance on getting precisely what you want in the so-called 'next life'?

Question: Did all of the Korean script writers suffer from unspeakable heartache at some point in their lives, and thus the viewer is doomed to have to suffer likewise?

Just curious, because it's the feeling I always end up with after suffering through one of these romantic (??) dramas.

A Love to Kill is about two, little boys that grow up in a dysfunctional family (father is a gangster, mother runs away).
Kim Young Jae is Kang Min Goo, Kang Bok Gu's older, wiser, and more gentle brother.
Mingu is fed up with Bok-gu's temper, so he walks away from his younger brother - but at the end of this 16-episode drama, we discover that Mingu didn't walk away or abandon Bok-gu, but that he sacrificed his life to serve the juvenile detention time that Bok-gu should have served for starting a fire that injured Kim Sa Rang as Han Da Jung.

So, Han Da-jung clings to Bok-gu, even though Bok-gu is only with her out of guilt.

Meanwhile, Mingu falls madly in love with Cha Eun Seok (Shin Min Ah).
She's a movie star and her step-mother doesn't want Mingu to cramp her style, so she pays him to disappear, and our milquetoast do-gooder does as he's told (for love's sake).

Cha Eun-suk has no idea what is going on, and she spends the next, five years begging Mingu to pick up the phone.

Ten years after they part ways, Bok-gu's friend tells him that he's found Mingu, and that evening, the two, estranged brothers meet on the rooftop of Mingu's modest apartment, to crack a few cold one's and to talk about old times.
Cha Eun-suk's image appears on a larger-than-life, HD billboard, announcing her engagement to Lee Ki Woo as Kim Joon Sung.



um ... he didn't look anything like this in the drama, and I didn't, even recognize him as the absent-minded artist from Sad Movie, either.

Anyway, Mingu is entranced by Cha's image on that billboard, so he walks off the roof of the building, trying to reach out to touch her ~ right in front of poor, Bok-gu's eyes yet.

What follows is a long, drawn-out series of the same, monotonous dialogue & storyline.
Bok-gu decides to avenge his brother by getting back at the entirely innocent and totally clueless Cha Eun-suk.
He becomes her bodyguard, teases the hell out of her emotionally & physically, and when she becomes entirely wrapped up in him & not Mingu, Bok-gu reveals his true intentions and Cha Eun-suk is devastated (again).

Enough about A Love to Kill, because I don't want to talk about it anymore.

What I would like to expound on is the fact that Rain Bi can ACT!!

My namesake (in a nick-name kind a way) makes me laugh when it comes to singing & dancing.
Personally, I think it's gay.
But, this dude is awesome on screen!
I think it's even more amazing to me that it's the opposite of the norm.
Singers/dancers usually stink at acting, and actors usually stink at singing/dancing.

I heard recently that he was lambasted big-time for suggestive lyrics on his latest CD.

THIS is why I think that Asian pop artists are gay ... or that their profession is a gay choice.
A stupid, ill-conceived choice when you think about the kind of life they are forced to have to live, and how they must suck-up to their infantile, pre-pubescent fan base.

What a freakin' waste of talent, time, and energy IMHO.

Another thing about Korean dramas is that I feel guilty watching them for free online, and yet am I supposed to spend my hard-earned $$ on something with subtitles as atrocious as the one's online?

Case in point:




I tried my hand at subbing, and though their attempt was commendable, Viikii failed miserably to captivate me or it's target audience, and even Mysoju dumped their submissions.

I'd give anything to be able to clean up the bad grammar, type-o's, and what-not on these videos -- and especially the DVDs that range in price from $29.99 to $250.99

Again, the Japanese have the Korean's beat hands-down when it comes to clean, concise subtitling.

WAKE UP, KOREA!!!

You've got something here, and though a majority of your viewers may not think the way that I do about such things as continuity, story-line credibility, or basic grammar rules, I think that if you paid better heed to this warning, you might have a more lucrative future, who knows.

And now, for some stills from A Love to Kill


street-smart, tough-guy, Kang Bok Gu

cleaned-up, bodyguard Bok-gu


his FACE





the sucker prop bugged me for awhile, but then I figured being the straight-laced kind a guy he is, he probably chose these over an actual cigarette



And now, for the lighter side of Rain Bi




Now that I'm not afraid of him anymore, I intend to watch him in another drama, but if it looks ANYTHING like A Love to Kill, I will bow out, thank you very much.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sad Movie / 새드무비 / Saedeu mubi



Directed by Kwon Jong-kwan.
Screenplay by Hwang Seong-gu.
Stars Jung Woo-sung, Im Soo-jung, Cha Tae-hyun, Yeom Jung-ah, Shin Min-ah, Son Tae-young, Lee Ki-woo, Yeo Jin-gu, Kim Seung-cheol.

About a series of overlapping stories involving four couples who all suffer tragic fates.

This didn't make me cry, but it was a good movie.

And, it was about different people living in the same world, that suffer different fates at the same time.

Cha Tae-hyun starred in First Love of Hotel Prince and My Sassy Girl, and I think that he's a good actor, but not your average, hunk-a-licious, Korean actor. He's really short, and he's got fish lips.

This is his MV for the movie.



He's not known for his looks but his comedic style and warm personality, which doesn't surprise me at all.
The more I see of Cha, the more that I like him, and the more attracted to him that I become.
He's married though, so by nature, I can't get too emotionally interested.

Anyway, Cha steals the show, even though he's the star in a round-about kind of way.
His story pales in comparison with the other, two couples or the little boy, but Cha has to come to terms with the fact that his girlfriend of three years has dumped him.

Speaking of the angry, little boy ... he actually did reduce me to minor tears when he stood outside the hospital, in the pouring rain, stomping his feet and crying in anguish as he begged God not to let his mother die.




Again, when the firefighter and his girl went up in the lift, and his buddies took a picture of them kissing, I knew then that something tragic would occur, and THAT made me choke up more than the actual fact of what happened to him later on in the movie.

The most tender moments came at the amusement park, where the deaf and burn-victim girl worked as Raggedy-Ann. She meets a handsome, young artist that behaves absent-minded, leaving his art supplies scattered about the park, and she (in her big-head costume) picks up after him giggling all the while.

Since she remains hidden beneath the heavy, Raggedy-Ann head, the curious artist becomes interested in the affectionate girl, and he wants to know what she really looks like. He has no idea that she is deaf, either, so he assumes that her refusal to answer any of his questions is because she is shy.




She's attracted to him, and for a moment, she decides that he might be worth revealing her true form to him, but it's her seven dwarf partners that set up an elaborate meeting, and where the enamored artist sees Raggedy-Ann without her costume.
She's wearing heavy make-up to hide the burn scar on her face, and he likes what he sees.
She then returns from the ladies room with the make-up washed off, and she asks the startled, young man to draw her image a second time.
He not only sees the scar, but he learns that she is deaf as well, and though he draws her a second time, she knows that he is no longer interested in getting to know her better.

HOWEVER!

He told the dwarf's that he was leaving for Europe, and that he hoped to ask Raggedy-Ann along. AND, as he drew her the second time, he erased the burn scar from her cheek.
Perhaps its the romantic in me, but I like to think that he asked her to accompany him to Europe, and that she said no. He was a good boy, and I don't think that he would let something so trivial stand in the way of his real feelings.

Yes, sometimes I add my own endings to movies & dramas that upset or disappoint me.

For me, Sad Movie was not sad, but quite interesting, and I liked the intertwined stories as well.

Three, more promo posters for the movie.




April Snow / 외출 (Wi-chool)



This is the first time I ever saw Bae Yong-jun in anything aside from his magnificent, online body-shot images.

This was my introductory image of "...the highest-paid actor in Korea".



Naturally, being the horny-ass chick I am, I had to see more ... so I hunted him down online, and to my MAJOR disappointment, this is what I found:




Perhaps I'm the only woman alive that thinks this way, but I don't find Bae Yong-jun attractive AT all.
Slammin' bod aside, I think he looks a bit nerdy, and a tad uppity for my taste.

SLAMMIN' bod, though ...






Nice hair too, when it's long, that is ...




Now, back to the movie

April Snow was not what I expected from someone that demands an exorbitant amount of money per film or drama.
I anticipated much more from By-j AND the movie, but what I got was a slow, almost BORING piece of work instead.

April Snow's storyline was a good one, about a man and a woman that rush to the same hospital after their spouses are in a car accident, and they both discover that the accident involved their spouses in the same car ... which spells affair, which means nearly two hours of enthralling ups & downs between the two, surviving partners.

April Snow didn't do that, though. Instead, it showed a long, drawn-out series of pregnant pauses, snippets of the inside story about the love affair, and then awkward moments between the betrayed husband & wife that are left behind to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.

April Snow HAD the potential, but to me, it didn't go anywhere or do anything out of the ordinary to spark, let alone keep my interest.





I'll give Bae Yong-jun another chance to impress me as I'm still curious to discover what all the hype is about. For now, I'm still left with the same, first-impression ...

WTF???!!

1

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bet To Basic 《打雀英雄傳》 (2006)




Lloyd (Jordan Chan Siu-Chun) is Flying Dragon's cousin (Chin Kar-Lok). Flying Dragon is not a good gambler, but he does it anyway and is now in to some heavy debt with gangsters.

Lloyd returns from America in time to bail out his hapless cousin, and because his late mother left him with a Jade pendant, Lloyd's luck is extremely good.



No matter what the situation, Lloyd always wins at Mahjong,



... so Flying Dragon takes him around to gambling houses in order to win big money to pay off his debt.

Lloyd is cute, innocent, and naive ~ so when he meets Peggy (Rain Li), and falls for her, he gives up the lucky Jade pendant easily.




Of course, Peggy isn't who she really seems, and she gives the pendant to Lloyd's nemesis, Mahjong master Scott (Eric Kot), whom she is engaged to marry.



I watched this ONLY because Jordan Chan stars, and not for the content.

Apparently, there are more Mahjong movies out there, and a majority of the reviews aren't favorable.

I thought that it was a silly movie, but I've also come to the realization that a lot of silly movies hail from Hong Kong!

Silly, straight-forward, outlandish, sappy, brutal, graphic, or intense ... what difference does it make if a guy you're in love with is the star?!



There were funny scenes, ridiculous moments, actual serious parts, and so on, so what's not to like ~ and how can you not expect weirdness from a movie that centers around Mahjong?

I like to play the game on my PC,



... but I suppose that's a lot different from the actual, Chinese version that Jordan was so good at in Bet 2 Basic.

I wouldn't mind learning how to play that game, either, but it'd probably be a lifetime before I figured out exactly what to do, so I probably won't bother.

One, more screen shot, and the movie trailer is below.