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

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Moorim School

무림학교 / Murimhakgyo

Aka - Martial Arts School / Moorim School: Saga of the Brave
Genre - School, Fantasy
Episodes - 16
Network - KBS2
Broadcast - 2016, Jan to Mar
Cinderella - NO



The Moorim School isn't focused solely on high academic scores. The school teaches its students virtues including honesty, faith, sacrifice, and communication. The teachers and students at the school come from different countries and each has their own story.  ~DramaWiki (w/edits)

Interesting Aside: Series shortened to 16 from 20 episodes due to low TV ratings and conflict over production cost between KBS and JSpictures.


Well, this was definitely different from the norm and not at all what I had anticipated it would turn out to be, so there is that, at least.

It was good and it was bad, and it was okay and it wasn't.

The good had to do with its not being another Cinderella story, and the bad had to do with things like acting ability, a beat-down plot, and the leading man's 180° about a third of the way through.

Hyun woo as Shi woo

This felt forced much of the time, and in several different ways, too.

The leading lady (Ye ji's Soon duk) is cute and I love her hair. She's got a freshness about her and natural charm, which has zero to do with this dark undertone of a tale infused with supernatural powers, a plot to take over the world, and martial arts prowess.

Well, it was supposed to be about martial arts, and Moorim School (Institute, Academy, Institution -- whichever the subber decided it would be that day) is supposed to specialize in training youth in all forms of the contact sport.

The leading man, Shi woo, didn't seem all that interested, and he rarely gave us a glimpse of his abilities.

Lee Hyun woo

Hong bin's Chi ang set out to play the bad ass, and he came across as such from time to time, but then he was being cute and lovable before reverting back to dark and sinister and then cute and lovable again.

Hong bin's Chi ang

At least he wasn't afraid to show off some skills.

And, I get that Shi woo is the passive lead who just wants everyone to get along, but at the start of this drama, he was anything but passive.

He's a pop idol with a hearing problem and bad publicity when he gets caught with a woman and has to back away from the spotlight for a time. He's angry, confused, and vengeful until he bumps into the girl who screwed up his life, and then he's just livid.

There was a bit of a scene-stealer in this one, too.

Alexander as Yub Jung

But, there wasn't a second lead syndrome with me even if Hong bin possessed the better bod, face, hair, eyes, and personality.

This just wasn't that type of a Korean drama that would justify making that kind of a call. Well, let me rephrase that: this started out as being one of them kind of dramas but then the switch-a-roo occurred and the direction went elsewhere, making this a story about social justice instead of who is the better man for the leading lady.

Soon duk is secretly attending Moorim School against her blind father's wishes, and on her way to that school, she bumps into not only Shi woo but Chi ang, who is there because his powerful father wants him there.

The FX wavy thing occurs in the forest, the leaves hang suspended in midair before whipping around, and then voilà! Moorim School appears.

The first third of the story is about the two male leads and their dislike of one another since they're both attracted to Soon duk.

In the second third, we are shown numerous times about Shi woo's early childhood and how he became an orphan while his father is in a coma in Shanghai.

I kept seeing Lee Seo eon

Also a special key, what it actually looks like, and how the bad guys set out to retrieve it in order to obtain world domination.

The last third is about how the youth triumph over their elders in order to achieve world peace.

At first it was about Shi woo's career being trashed, and then it was about Shi woo and Chi ang jockeying for position, and then it was about the elders of Moorim School and their love lives, why they are there, and also about the other students.

Soon duk and her job at the fried chicken restaurant.

A lot going on that somehow DIDN'T tie in at any point thereafter, and yet it was far more interesting to watch than the last two thirds of this drama.

We got that the three key parts were essential to the plot, and we know (by now) that it wouldn't have taken 16 (and thank GOD it didn't take 20) to tell this story, but if you ask me, the reason this one didn't do so well over there might have something to do with the wishy-washy way in which the story unfolded.

Anyway, the subbers kept referring to this 'key' as a Chintamani, but never once did any of the actors refer to it as thus. I heard Chonijae and Chumijuka, but never Chintamani, so I have no idea where the word came from or what it means.

Oh, and Shi woo's group is spelled Mobius but the actors kept saying Maybeus.

Not sure how anyone else felt about there being a lot of foreigners in this one, but it didn't impress me any. In fact, I was a little miffed by it since there are far more Korean actors I'd like to see in a Korean drama than their foreign counterparts who are capable of speaking the language.

And, it's funny, because when they DO employ the occasional 'white' dude for a bit part, it is always an 'American' with an odd-sounding 'Australian' accent, or an African-American with a 'foreign' accent who speaks English being passed off as an American.

The only time you WON'T see this is when they use someone from India or the Pacific Rim. Then they are who they are and no one makes any excuses.

So, if there are 'white' people over there who do speak perfect Korean, why not use them for the bit parts as themselves and save us real Americans the hassle of trying to figure out what is really going on?

The OST wasn't too bad, but like every Korean drama that employs someone in a K-Pop band, they abuse that one song again and again until I get sick of it and hope never to hear it again.

I won't say the ending was a dud, either, now that I know about the production snafu and low ratings. Which just means they had no choice but to wrap things up on the fly. I kind of like it when they explain what happened to everyone, so it wasn't all that awful.

If they hadn't spent too much time on the adversity at the start, the male ego battle in the middle, and the quick demise of the key at the end, this would have been a much better tale to tell.

And, if they hadn't hired a lot of non-Korean extras, it would have been way better.

And, if they had given Shi woo a more powerful personality while also possessing a righteous side, this could have been great.

I tried to rub more of the steam from that mirror

An actual real kiss scene!


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