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

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Man's Story / The Slingshot

남자이야기 / Namja I Yaki

2009 20-episode KBS drama that was loaded with great actors from the top all the way down to bit-parters.

It's been awhile since I last watched, so I re-watched for this post but didn't have to go clean through all 20 episodes in order to remember what it was about, what went down, and how it ended, or how great this story and the portrayal of each character turned out to be start to finish.

As a matter of fact, since I started up the blog again, this story remained at the back of my mind the whole time. I still think about certain scenes on occasion, too.

It might be Park Yong ha's spirit channeling. Who knows.

While I was still in college, instead of watching the latest shows a week at a time, or as they were uploaded for us foreign viewers, I decided it would be better to delve a bit deeper into the resumes of some of my favorite actors. In this case, I wanted to see more of Lee Philip after watching A Secret Garden.

For likely obvious reasons, this drama was a winner for me because it had ZERO to do with love using the stale Cinderella plot.

Yong ha's Kim Shin was the younger brother of a profitable dumpling factory, Ahn Nae sang as Kim Wook, and he was a slacker for an undisclosed reason after having graduated high school, college, and his stint in the army.

A reporter visits the factory and returns to the studio to broadcast an unfavorable review that leads to the demise of the factory and the death of Kim Shin's brother.

Kim Shin enters the broadcast station with a crossbow and bursts in on the newscast, demanding that the anchor read his grievances on the air.

The PD shuts down the broadcast, though, and poor, upset Kim Shin ends up behind bars.

This is where he meets our quirky, autistic cell mate, Park Ki woong as Ahn Kyung tae.

Kyung tae is a genius, and he can't communicate unless he's plugged in.

While serving his time, Kim Shin gets to know a gang boss and his minions - which becomes an eventual help to him in the outside world after his release.

His girlfriend is another of those rare Korean beauties who deserves the title beauty. She exudes sex in an Aphrodite way without having to try. At the beginning, when she is frumpy while working at the factory and discouraged having to hunt down her slacker lover in game rooms after hours, and later when she ends up at the top of the success ladder, Park Si yeon as Seo Kyung ah was and is naturally sexy, beautiful, and alluring.

Kim Shin keeps trying to get her to leave him at the start of this drama, but he does it in as haphazard a way as he lived. It didn't work, either, because Kyung ah loved him as frustrating and annoying as it had to have been for her.

While Kim Shin is incarcerated, she decides to take him up on his earlier offer to sell herself to the highest bidder, and she ends up at this ritzy ~club~ that caters to the wealthiest men.

Enter Kim Kang woo as Chae Do woo, the arch nemesis in this thriller of sorts.

Do woo grew up in the lap of luxury, but his parents and their weird lifestyles had a profound effect on this kid's psyche.

His mother was bedridden while his father got drunk and brought home women.

One day young Do woo visits his mother in her room, and she is having an episode.

The boy does something that wasn't entirely inexplicable as much as it was inexcusable.

His father called him names that were best directed at himself, but it was a necessary catalyst in order for this story to grow up and blossom into the action-packed thriller that it turned out to be.

He also has a younger sister with a medical condition similar to the one their mother had, but Do woo takes good care of her - well - he does or seems to be doing that until a bit later in the show, when things become apparent in a twisted, creepy sort of way.

He also meets and falls instantly for Kyung ah, though I was never, quite sure if she was still on Kim Shin's side and doing what she was doing as a help or because she had decided to give up on the loafer to catch a bigger, more lucrative fish.

The ending shed light on that topic, but I don't want to post any spoilers.

The ending also led us to believe there would be a sequel, but sadly our handsome and extremely talented Park Yong ha is gone now. Sadder to say, I can think of a few candidates to replace him if a sequel actually does take shape, but it would have been complete and worthwhile had Yong ha stuck around just a little while longer.

Personally, I am more inclined to believe that some of these 'purported' suicides are actually the result of a lethal mix of narcotics and alcohol. Innocently mixed due to stress, lack of sleep, or a bit, too much of one over the other.

A few whiskey's before bed followed by a sleeping pill or three, or the doctor prescribed dosage that is a bit too much at the time.

Do woo's younger sister, Han Yeo woon as Chae Eun soo, has a special hiding place inside the mansion where she goes to listen in on private conversations between her wealthy father and his staff.

She keeps a diary of these conversations, and then she goes out and tries to help whomever it was that her father's company just harmed.

This is how she meets and befriends Kim Shin.

After Kim Shin is released from prison, he and Kyung tae stay at this totally cool bar and work to execute their scheme to get back at the bad guys.

Lee Moon shik as Park Moon ho, the bar owner, is an ex con himself, so he knows even more people who can help Kim Shin with his plans.

In the meantime, though, the outskirts neighborhood where his sister in law and her two, young daughters are forced to have to live is slated for demolition by the same powerhouse that Kim Shin is trying to destroy.

Which means Kim Shin is building an army of supporters while the bad guys are getting away with 'murder' (literally and figuratively).

They kick up enough dust to thwart and discourage Kim Shin and his followers, but it is never enough from a Korean perspective to stop them from continuing with their plans to make wrongs right.

Kim Shin goes from being useless and drifting through life to taking up a worthy cause, helping other people, and learning how to outsmart his enemies.

His biggest enemy is Do woo and Do woo's father, Jang Hang sun as President Chae.

Didn't I tell you that every, freakin' star in this drama is absolutely and completely awesome?

I loved them all, and Jang Hang sun is one of my FAVORITE hal-abeoji's.

Kim Shin's older brother is currently starring in The Golden Rainbow, though I don't know how much more of that agonizing drama I can take, but whatever.

Kang woo's deranged Do woo was brilliantly played, and the simple fact that Park Si yeon's Kyung ah left me guessing right up to the end proves how clever she is at her craft.

Even the dapper, overly casual regardless of the situation Lee Philip's character managed to steal every scene he showed up in.

But then we can't forget the dogged detective on the case of the murdered mayor, either.

Kim Mi kyung as Detective Kim will always be one of my favorite actresses of all time.
She's brilliant, too, and classy, and believable, and the type of person I'd give just about anything to have as a friend because without having ever met her, I can just imagine how much of her real self is portrayed through each of her characters.

I mean, even as the deaf-mute mother in Heirs, her familiar, sarcastic wit still managed to make its way to the startled ears of the rich woman she served as a maid.

She's cool for rising so high in the stardom category without needing a plastic face, tons of make-up/photoshop, and a hooker wardrobe to get noticed.

She is the epitome of what every KPop chick right now will be dying to be in about twenty years.

I absolutely LOVED how she handled Philip Lee's Do Jae myung, too. She had him bending over to pick up things for her, ride shotgun in her beat up car, and making lewd comments out loud and in public to embarrass as well as shock him.

See, teen and young adult chicks will NEVER get the true worth of the male form until they reach Madame Kim's age. She's not stupid in the least, and after going through all the ditzy, wasted time of her youth, she's no-nonsense about things like sex and what really matters in a relationship.

I love her!

Jae myung is the son of the man who assists Do woo's father, and at a young age, he sent his son to live in America.

He returns as a mysterious character, and we don't learn his true reason for being back in Korea for quite some time, but he runs into Kim Shin, the two hit it off, and while staying at the cool bar, they begin working together on this scheme.

Do woo's sister gets involved with them as well, and then Do woo finds out, making him snap (even though he really, already has - for quite some time now - had a screw or three loose).

If I say anymore, it would be likely that I end up dropping a hint or spoiler, and I don't want to do that.

Suffice it to say this was well worth the twenty episodes, there weren't TOO many draggy bits, and as I mentioned earlier, the ending hinted at there being the possibility of a sequel.

If you haven't seen this one yet, I highly recommend that you do.


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