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

Sunday, October 03, 2010

추노 / Chuno

Slave Hunters
2010 Korean drama (period piece) about slaves, slave hunters, and those caught in the middle of it all.

Jang Hyuk as Lee Dae gil, Han Jung soo as General Choi, and Kim Ji suk as Wang Son are slave hunters; paid by the government to track down and return runaway slaves to their wealthy owners.

Lee Dae gil came from a wealthy family and fell in love with a 'slave' working for his wealthy father's estate, but then things go terribly wrong, and suddenly Lee Dae gil's cherry lifestyle is at its bitter end.

He loses the girl, too.

I won't pretend to understand history and all it's peculiarities, but I will say that my confusion while watching this excellent nail-biter came in not understanding how 'fate' played a hand back in the Korean day.

Why were not ALL poor people slaves and just some?

Regardless, after Dae gil lost everything, he took up the unlikely career of bounty hunter, and after ten years, he went from being a refined pussy to a coarse bad-ass with spite to spare for the slaves he and his buddies made $ to round up.

General Choi (on the right - below) was a welcome but unnecessary surprise in this testosterone-laden, historical drama filled with half-naked men with plated chests, biceps bulging, and to-die-for looks; all topped off so sweetly with the long, sexy hair that is like 'cherry on top' goodness imo.

Then comes what I mistakenly presumed before watching to be the highlight of the show: Ajusshi Oh Ji ho as Song Tae ha; a soldier with soldier mentality through and through who forsakes his own whims (and life) to carry out his duties of state.

Yes ... my main attraction here has little to do with the storyline, the historical content, or even the popularity this thing generated from the onset (Average 31.7% - Nationwide, 32.0% - Seoul).

It's all about the dudes, their hunkiness, and especially about the heart palpitation factor for me when I choose to watch something from Asia - and Chuno fit that bill to the TIPPY top.

Lee Jong hyuk as Hwang Chul woong

Here's a video clip of him in action:

Him gots a sexy voice, too!

Okay, so Dae gil has this pretty humongous chip on his broad shoulders because of what happened to destroy his cushy lifestyle, his family, and the love he once had for 'the girl', so to say he's ruthless would be putting it mildly, and yet he continued to set free or help the slaves he first rounded up to have returned to their 'rightful' owners.

In the ten years since becoming a Chuno, he's carried a drawn image of his first love and asks everywhere he goes if anyone has seen her.

Early on, he's commissioned to find another, escaped slave who also happens to be a soldier loyal to a dead prince whose only, surviving son (age 3) the escaped slave/soldier plans to defend with his life.

That soldier is, of course, Song Tae ha; who has stumbled upon Dae gil's first love, and the two are running from the bounty hunters.

Oddity is - Dae gil's first love is no longer a slave but a freed woman who escaped a life of (ahem) misery by ditching her arranged groom at the altar.

So, Dae gil is after Tae ha, and the groom's rich family are after the girl.

Her older brother is what ruined everything for her and Dae gil, but that's saying too much for anyone who hasn't watched this one yet.

So, while on the run, Tae ha and the girl become closer while Dae gil's love (or burning hatred) for her increases with each, passing day.

In between all this madness is a lot of fun, intrigue, and hilarity that made Chuno that, much more enjoyable for thirty episodes - none of which seemed to lag, stutter, or even bore me enough to want to leave the screen to go potty or get something to drink until the episode was done and I could do so without fear of missing something exciting.


A dude who kept following our heroine around throughout the first half of this epic piece intrigued me as much as our dashing General Choi did, and when I finally took the time to find out who the hell it was driving me nuts and making me think nasty thoughts, I was left dumbstruck and in utter disbelief.

Danny Ahn as Baek Ho

See, before watching Chuno, I was enjoying a nightly episode of Let's Go Dream Team!, of which our young tyke Danny stars (on occasion).

Let's Go Dream Team! occasional cast members

Of course, the big draw (I think) for this, particular reality show is Choi Minho from SHINee (which I always presumed to be pronounced as shin-EE when it's actually pronounced SHINE-ee - go figure)

Minho from Let's Go Dream Team!

But, wait a minute fan-girlies ... while the dude got some mighty, fine hair goin on there, not to mention the height, and that 'oh, my, gawsh' freakin' cute smile of his ... someone ELSE managed to grab my attention (and my heart) and turn my head away quick enough to make my NECK snap:


But, he's not why I'm blogging right now, and this isn't about Let's Go Dream Team! either, only that Danny Ahn happens to be a semi-regular on that show, and then I was captivated by our mysterious-eyed Baek ho in Chuno, only to find out that Danny portrayed Baek ho!!!!

Sangchu and Danny on Let's Go Dream Team!

Fan girlie's wept to discover he was cacked in Chuno, and the way he went was a memorable moment, I must say - teary sadness event in the show.

Let's just say that Danny-kun will make a mighty, fine MAN some day and leave it at that, shall we?

Baek ho was this loyal 'something' to the man the girl Dae gil chased after was supposed to marry (I think), so after she booked, he was ordered to find her and drag her sorry ass back so the ceremony could commence.

One got the odd but unclear feeling that Baek ho had a 'thang' for our unlikely heroine, and yet, as many a Korean historical piece goes, the vagaries abounded and nothing was implied in this regard - even at his gruesome end, he remained a silent but hauntingly attractive figure in this show, which is odd in that it's also the way DANNY behaves in real life - silent, somewhat brooding, and as if in perpetual quandry about something that is bugging the crap out of him, yet he can't, quite figure it out.

"Do I really wanna be a rock star?" "Is this really what life is all about?" "I really, can't go after the chick of my dreams because it'll cause bad publicity?"

Poor, confused lad.

Right ...

So, for thirty episodes we watch as Dae gil, his handsome and hilarious sidekicks, and the various characters intertwined all converge at some point to either help or hinder Dae gil in his quest to find the girl and either make her pay, or lip-lock for an eternity ... I wasn't, quite sure what to think after awhile until I gave up trying and just sat back & enjoyed the rest of the show.

I learned a lot of terminology watching this show!

Here's a brief example:

INVEIGE (inveigle) me ... methinks ... mendacious ... spurious ... conjugalities ... NAVAL GRINDING!!! ... compeers ... becloud ... vulgar hangdog ... prattling ... clamor me ... importune ... engage in parley ... gravitas

Natch', the only one I got was the naval grinding reference, which is damn hilarious and one I hope not to forget the next time I ...

Still trying to figure out how vulgar and hangdog go together, too, since you're either vulgar or have a hangdog look about you (kind a like Danny!) ... so for the two to go together has me stumped, and 'conjugalities' makes it sound like 'sex things', which DOESN'T make sense.

Lastly, the folks at weren't, too pleased about the ending, and after all was said & done, I didn't know how I felt about it except to say it was probably the wrong thing to do.

I mean, you put us through so, much shit for that long a period of time, only to have us going 'huh?!' at the last, few frames never sits too well with an audience, and damn it, I want to know what happened FOR REAL to Tae ha!!

And now for my funny stuff (which is mostly comprised of bad grammar):

I almost want to believe he means 'meandering', but who knows
Okay - so the adj can turn into an adv in this case

gross, but still a sad moment in the show

bear the brunt, I believe

this is just a mouthful - and the word at the end is annoyingly cliche

they pixelated her cleavage!!!

speaking of a mouthful ...

Chuno was a blast to watch, filled with intrigue, historical references that might be true, and a great love story that ended on a rather flat note ~ but, what the heck!


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