Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fugitive Plan B Review

Drama Rating: ***
Personal Rating: Decent

Ji Woo, played by Rain, is a private investigator who gets tangled up with Jin Yi, played by Lee Na Young, who is strangely getting pursued. As a result, Ji Woo becomes more and more involved in a case involving a huge sum of gold lost during the Korean War and shady characters from all around Asia, including yakuza from Japan, and operatives from Hong Kong to China to Macau. Where did the money disappear and why is Jin Yi a target?

*Spoiler warning*

This drama certainly got off to a running start a la James Bond. The main story arc was quickly introduced and seemed to hold much promise of an intriguing back story filled with various shady characters that Ji Woo would go up against. The introductory episodes had me highly anticipating how Ji Woo would handle the case. But as is often the case, the high expectations I had for this drama slowly crumbled just like the ratings.

The script which seemed so filled with intrigue and mystery got overly complex with far too many foreign characters involved for the average viewer to keep track of. This would have been acceptable if they had kept it complex and intriguing, although I'm sure they would have lost part of the audience along the way anyway. However, some bright person on the screenwriting team must have gotten feedback about the poor reviews and attempted to 'simplify' the story partway through. This led to character inconsistencies, plot loopholes, and most importantly, a missing sense of purpose for including all those foreign characters in the first place. If all those foreign characters in various other countries were included, there should have been sufficient justification in the form of better plot explanations and background stories for why we were taken there. But that clearly wasn't the case as all those foreign characters only received minimal screen-time and made just minimal contributions to the story.  It certainly felt like it was more of a flimsy excuse to film in exotic locations, hoping that would attract more viewers.

As always, Rain lives up to expectations as Ji Woo, a charming, suave private investigator. In fact, come to think of it, Rain would have been a perfect choice to cast for City Hunter instead of Lee Min Ho. However, the same cannot be said for Lee Na Young, who's abysmal characterization of Jin Yi probably rates as one of the worst drama performances I've seen recently (aside from City Hunter's Kim Nana).  She has this 'look' which every so often she will attempt to use and I'm not sure if she thinks she's hot or something, but she just seems to look completely dazed and zoned out.  Her acting is mediocre at best and certainly doesn't help make up for the problem with the whole story.

The rest of the cast was a mixed bag and I won't really go into too much detail since this drama wasn't that great. There were some good acting performances, notably by Sung Dong Il for one, but there were some weaknesses as well. Overall though, I'd say the general acting was pretty average.

Fugitive had some pretty good action music. Although no single piece particularly stood out, the selections were all quite appropriate to the scenes and fittingly gave the story a sense of urgency and drama. If only they had spent as much care in designing the plot as they did the music, this drama would have been a much bigger hit.

Frankly, this drama was a bit of a disappointment as I had high initial expectations for the drama. Clearly, many people felt the same way as I did as reflected in the ratings. Rain was an excellent fit as the lead for this story but the key problem was the weak script and inappropriate use of foreign characters. While it may have been fun to shoot the drama on location, the screenwriters should definitely have tried to make the most of those locales in terms of the storyline and the characters instead of just relying on the scenery. Also, a better balance between plot complexity and the time it takes for the audience to internalize the plot and the characters would have helped. A replacement for Lee Na Young would also have been greatly appreciated.  While the drama was not altogether bad, it was pretty average for something that had the potential to hit a home run.


  1. I am soooo glad you mention that because Rain definetly fit the manga city hunter main character.

  2. Yea, was a bit of a shame he wasn't in City Hunter - I might've liked it a lot more =P